Sunday, August 14, 2011

Monte Cesen: Casere Budui to Rifugio Mariech

Monte Cesen towers 1750 meters above the Piave River valley and the prosecco vineyards stretching from Valdobbiadene toward Vittorio Veneto.  I rode a couple of climbs up the mountain last fall, but wanted to try a combination of the two.

From Vittorio Veneto (130m) I cruised up the rolling Strada del Prosecco to Combai (420m).  Lots of riders out on this lovely Sunday morning (also day before Ferragosto holiday).  Shortly after Combai I took a turn-off marked Osteria Madean.  The road starts out at 8% gradient, cloaked in thick chestnut tree forest.  After 3 km it steepens noticeably, varying from 9-12%.  The pavement is pretty torn up, so descending would be particularly difficult.  Around 1000 meters the shade starts thinning out and soon disappears- the exposed slopes were hot.   At 1200 meters the road levels out till Casere Budui.  Nice views of the grazing cows on the grassy slopes above, and lovely music from their bells.  Instead of turning around to descend, I continued on a long traverse to Pianezze at 1076 meters.  Lots of great views of the plains below, though it was hazy.  

At Pianezze I began the ascent to Rifugio Mariech.  This is a great road, never too steep, with good pavement, and even a row of trees along the southern exposure to keep it cool.  Great views of the grassy slopes of Monte Cesen from this climb- it's really pretty this time of year.  I reached the rifugio at 1510 meters, amid flocks of vacationers mulling around.   Soon I headed down the fantastic descent to Valdobbiadene (252m).  Below Pianezze the road is engulfed in dense forest, steeply winding down the switchbacks.  Fun!

From Valdobbiadene you climb a series of hills through the prosecco vineyards to Combai, and then a gradual rolling descent to Vittorio Veneto.  This was a great ride- maybe next time I'll try it the other way round.

Video of the Monte Cesen Bovine Bell Choir

The grassy slopes between Casere Budui and Pianezze

Meadows above Pianezze, with cloudy Monte Grappa in background

Looking down at the  traverse road heading toward Pianezze

The road climbing to Rifugio Mariech (upper right);
Valdobbiadene and Piave River in the haze on left

Climb to Casere Budui, left, and Rifugio Mariech, right 

Steepest point on Casere Budui climb and Rifugio Mariech climb

Counterclockwise loop


  1. There's enough Cow Bell there to make even Christopher Walken happy. :)

  2. LOL I'd forgotten about that "More cowbell" thing!