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The Valley of Canyons

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The Canyons of Valle in Non are worth a visit. Between their rocky walls, in the heart of an uncontaminated nature, the visitors can discover castles, hermitages and sanctuaries, witnesses of an ancient culture.

The Valle di Non is characterized by undulating and terraced rises, divided by deep rifts, the river Noce and its tributaries, which flow through these ravines. During the Quaternary the valley was covered with glaciers, that dug the gorges and 15,000 years ago finally retreated, leaving a series of brooks in the calcareous rocks, smoothed by the movement of the glacier and often covered with debris. All these rifts came together in one area, nowadays is occupied by S. Giustina Reservoir (4 sq km, 172 million cubic metre of water). We can imagine how the valley could appear before the canyon was covered with water, observing the S. Giustina Lake when its water level lowers and its "tentacular bed" emerges: these gorges, like tree roots, branch off to the north with steep slopes, sometimes covered with orchards.

The Anaunia amphitheatre, corresponding to a tectonic depression, is furrowed with ravines, gorges and gullies that create a contrast with the sweet waving slopes of the valley. We mention: the Rocchetta ravine, in the very south of this valley; S. Emerenziana gully around Tuenno; the Rio S. Romedio gorge; the gullies of Rio Novella; the Doss Busen ravine by Sanzeno; the Mostizzolo canyon and that by Fondo; the Castelfondo ravine; the Diavola gully near Ruffré.

The Fondo canyon, a deep rift that divides the important this important town in High Val di Non into two parts, since 2001 it can be crossed thanks to footbridges and stairs: do not miss its whirling brooks, waterfalls and huge potholes, fossils, stalactites and stalagmites... A difference in height of 145 m., 348 steps: an hour and a half of emotions! The light effects in the gorges and in the greenery in the last tract are fantastic. The water depth is variable, and the Rio Sass in some tracts is even 45-50 m. deep. The distance between the two walls of the ravine varies between 25 cm. and 30 m., with colonies of red and green algae that suddenly dye the rock.

From the top of S. Giustina dam (152,50 m.) you get a wonderful and breathtaking view on the lake, the widest hydroelectric basin in Trentino, built in the period 1943 - 1950. The construction of the dam swallowed up the road network, such as the ancient "Ponte Alto" (13. century), old witness to the armistices between the bishop prince of Trento and the powerful Counts of Tyrol. We also mention the "Ponte della Mula" ("Mule's Bridge"), so called because of a tale: the baron of Castel Cles, followed by his enemies, suddenly reached the edge of the ravine, where the brook S. Romedio flows into the river Noce, and was rescued by his mule, which jumped on the opposite edge saving him life. As a debt of gratitude, the nobleman got the "Ponte della Mula" built - that became an important route for a long time, sparing the wayfarers and merchants effort and dangers.

The right and left sides of the river Noce
are connected by the Mostizzolo bridge rising above a deep ravine. This nineteenth-century bridge dominates the numerous bridges of the valley. We recommend also a hike through the ravines of Valle di Non. One can walk for hours and visit ancient sanctuaries, hermitages and castles. Their history refer to legends and old traditions. We just mention the "Burrone della Diavola", so called by the inhabitants of Ruffrè, who were terrified all night by the screams of the witches coming from the rift. Do not miss Hermitage S. Biagio; you can reach it on foot in half an hour from the centre of Romallo walking along the "Sentiero degli Ori". This sanctuary rises on the deep canyon dug by the River Novella, few metres wide and more than 100 m. deep, that bolstered many legends; according to some sources it originated from a Roman watch-tower or could have been the first seat of the old Revò church. Nowadays, the complex is a private property consisting of the church, a side chapel and a home. 

Battles and sieges gave Castelfondo Castle a hushed and fairy-tale atmosphere. This fortress, surrounded with walls, is situated on the rocky plain furrowed with the brooks Robiola and Novella. In the past it had a moat and a bascule bridge, what explains its double origin both as a place of residence and a strategic bulwark, that was home of a branch of the rich Thun Family.
Some ravines in Valle di Non belong to the "Environmental Heritage". Have a look at the ruins of the Cagnò Castle ("Castelaz", 12. century), located in a strategic position to control the communication routes of the valley. The bridge by the castle has the same name. Finally, do not forget S. Martino Sanctuary, at Castello, near Vervò: a church with bell tower, a cemetery and the Way of the Cross stand on a rocky promontory.