Valbelluna: sport and culture, good food and events
Just because a place is not as famous as others, it doesn't mean it's not worth a visit! Maybe only few people know it, but in the Valbelluna you can admire the Dolomites and practice various sports: from skiing to Nordic walking and trekking, from canyoning and sport fishing to mountain biking and grass skiing. You can also visit many exhibitions and attend international events. Just like all the other more famous tourist resorts in the Dolomites. And why not trying the local products too?Just stop in the Bellunese before you head to other destinations, it will enhance your holiday experience! For those who love skiing, the Alpe del Nevegal offers ski slopes, on which you can ski even in late evenings, a ski slope for snowboarding, and a cross-country trail of approximately 10 km.
Near Trichiana, along the Brent de l'Art ice canyon, you can practice Alpine skiing or take a hike with snowshoes or crampons on your feet.
When snow has melted, you can practice canyoning, kayaking and sport fishing on the mountain streams. Sport fishing is allowed not only in the numerous mountain streams, but also in the lakes and in the Piave River, where sport fishing tournaments often take place.
In summer the Alpe del Nevegal offers many trails for hiking, trekking and mountain biking, and on the left side of the Piave River, the Sinistra Piave, horse riding and Nordic walking can be practiced. In the municipalities of Mel and Lentiai six different trekking trails of three difficulty levels have been singled out. Other trails can be found in the plane near Castion, some of them going up to the Nevegal Mountain.
On the right side of the Piave River, the Destra Piave, worth of mention are the Zanardo nature trail in Sedico, the trekking trails that go up the mountains Peron and Pala Alta, and the hiking trails in the Belluno Dolomites National Park. If you prefer mountaineering you can try the High Routes n. 1 and 3, and the climbing walls of Soverzene, Soccher and Val Bruna. In the areas of Noal in Sedico and of Quantin in Ponte nelle Alpi you can also perform grass skiing.
If you love history and culture, you can't miss the Castle of Zumelle and the necropolis, both in Mel, the Chartreuse in Vedana and the biotope in Sospirolo, or the numerous ville venete that can be found on the territory. Other places worth visiting are the churches of Bribano and Lentiai, both declared national monuments, the Rafter Museum and the Museum of the Stone and Stonecutter in Castellavazzo, or the paths leading you through the memory of the Vajont tragedy. Belluno itself is a true open air museum: proof that the city was under the Venetian rule can be found everywhere.
The area is rich in exhibitions and events, some of them of international level, attracting many fans and tourists: the woodcarving extemporaneous exposition in Belluno; the Christmas Street Market; the Trichiana Literary Prize; national archery competitions; mountain running trophies; the Prealpi bike run marathon; national rally competitions; international exhibits like the ones on Andrea Brustolon or Tiziano Vecellio; and many important fairs organized in Longarone. And these are only some of the activities and events the Bellunese has to offer!
And what about food? Here you can try simple and delicious dishes prepared with local and genuine products. One of the most famous one is polenta, a side dish made from maize flour that accompanies meat-based main dishes, such as pastin, very common in this area, game and cheese dishes.
The cheeses usually used are Piave, Nevegal and Schiz, a green cheese cooked with some butter, to which sometimes cream is added. Other delicious main dishes are wild herbs dishes, with nettle and mushrooms; barley soup; and pumpkin gnocchi.
And don't forget the peasant cooking. Here you can try the panada, which is made with stale bread, olive oil, salt and sage; the bread cakes; and the kodinzon, dried apple chips. After your meal you can drink a liqueur, like grappa, a very strong, clear spirit distilled from grapes and sometimes flavoured with various herbs and fruits; and barancino, a liqueur made with grappa and essential oils of mugo pine and juniper.
With a local cuisine of such great variety it's not surprising that many food trails have been created, like the Cheese Route and the Alte Vie del Gusto (high routes on a culinary theme), so that the products and the cuisine of the municipality of Belluno can be widely appreciated.
One territory, its features, its municipalities
The Bellunese area is a wide basin. Its northern side is delimited by mountains: the Serva, the Monti del Sole, the Vette Feltrine, and the Schiara. The Schiara includes the Gusela del Vescovà ("the bishop's needle"), the symbol of this area, standing out for its peculiar shape: it's a 40 meter high pinnacle looking like a needle.
The southern side of the Bellunese is delimited by the Alpago Basin, the Monte Grappa, and the Belluno Prealps, including the Nevegal. The valley stetches for about 50 km along the Piave River and covers the southern area of the province of Belluno.
The province includes the following municipalities: Castellavazzo, Longarone, Soverzene, Ponte nelle Alpi, Belluno, Sospirolo and Sedico on the northern side of the Piave River; Limana, Trichiana, Mel and Lentiai on the southern side. Mel has received the orange flag from the Italian Touring Club, and some of the municipalities are part of the Belluno Dolomites National Park, founded in 1990.
This is a harsh territory, where man has only partly been able to modify nature, but has nonetheless built small towns that hide pleasant surprises: ancient villas, museums, churches, archaeological sites, rural houses, wood buildings, events and traditions. In this area many famous people were born: the writer Dino Buzzati, who loved to stroll in Valmorel near Limana, the wood carver Andrea Brustolon, the painters Sebastiano Ricci and Ippolito Caffi, and many others.