Mel: Zumelle Castle, Blue Grotto and Nordic Walking
Mel is one of the most original towns of the Val Belluna valley, rich in history and culture, located halfway between Belluno and Feltre. A beautiful hamlet perched on a hill, Mel hides some interesting tourist attractions: a walk fit park with Nordic walking trails, museums and historical dwellings, a well-preserved Medieval stronghold, the Zumelle Castle, and a lot of music, art and food events.
Mel, which received the recognition of "Borghi più belli d'Italia" (the most beautiful villages of Italy) and the Orange Flag of the Italian Touring Club, is surrounded by forests and meadows crossed by trekking and mountain biking trails that lead to mountain refuges and holiday farms. Located between Mel and Lentiai, the first Stride Walk - fit Park of the province of Belluno offers trails of different levels, suitable also for Nordic walking.
Strolling around the area you can admire some natural beauties: the wonderful blooming of the narcissi in Zelant in spring, the frozen gorges carved out of the rocks by water, or the Pissador Falls. If you like, you can try skeet shooting in the same range where a great Olympic champion trained, Deborah Gelisio.
The village hides an ancient and precious heart. Mel boasts in fact an interesting artistic and cultural heritage: the Barbuio-Gaio historical dwelling, the XVI century City Hall, the church Chiesa dell'Addolorata, the Palazzo delle Contesse (Countesses Palace), hosting every year important exhibitions, and Casa Fulcis. If you love prehistory, you can visit the Paleoveneta necropolis, located near the road taking to Belluno. The finds are kept in the Museo Civico Archeologico (Civic Museum of Archaeology).
Not far from the town center lies the Giazzèra, an old tank used until the beginning of the XX century for ice storing. Near Mel rises the lonely Zumelle Castle, built during the Roman Period to guard the Roman Road Via Claudia Augusta. The castle, surrounded by an ancient legend, is nowadays a restaurant/B&B serving Medieval dishes and is open for events and guided tours. Lights give the castle a charming look by night. Nearby rises the Church of San Donato.
Between Zumelle Castle and the village of Villa di Villa there is a secret corner near Belluno, the Blue Grotto. The mysterious cave with a thousand shades and a turquoise blue can be reached with an easy walk of about thirty minutes going up the Rui stream from the Castle of Zumelle.
The several societies active in Mel enrich the town life with events: Nordic walking and running competitions; Maggio Teatrale, a theater festival taking place in May and featuring different companies; Rassegna Corale Internazionale, a choirs festival taking place in July; Settembre Zumellese, event with music, dances and Carnival floats taking place in September; Mele a Mel, local products market taking place in October.