I arrived at the starting point south of Bressanone on SS-12, at a turnoff marked Val di Funes (540m). I warmed up for a couple of km on a side road but it wasn't enough: the climb starts with 2 or 3 km of 9-12%, so it would have been better to have a few more miles in my legs. The road climbs through the gorge of Rio Funes, then eases a bit as the gorge opens into grassy meadows below spruce-forested slopes. I was surprised at the amount of traffic- lots of people commuting to work, and delivery vans/trucks headed upslope. Then later in the morning the vacationers began arriving.
Soon you arrive at San Pietro (1100m) and continue through the little town with many tourists. The porphry-block paved street for Passo delle Erbe turns to the left and begins climbing. It's very narrow, steep and bumpy. As it climbs out of town the pavement changes to asphalt but continues as steeply and narrowly as ever. This finally lessens briefly, but resumes again and again in the next couple km.
Around 1600m suddenly the climb transitions to false flats and soon even a slight descent. This ends in a beautiful pasture-covered amphitheater surrounded by dolomite peaks. From here some more moderately difficult climbing to the pass at 2004m. The road is a bit too busy this time of year considering the narrowness- 2 vehicles cannot pass one another without finding a wide spot, so lots of backing up, waiting, etc. No big deal, but I'd recommend not driving up here in vacation season.
I have to agree with the other two reviewers: this is a gorgeous climb through some fantastic wild scenery. And even this time of year there were moments when it was deserted; you could get a feel for how it might be in June or September. There are also numerous ascent routes, allowing many loops and variations. I'll definitely be back, and will try the climb up from San Martino in Badia next time.
|One of many apple orchards covering Trentino Alto Adige|
|San Pietro church campanile|
|Wider view of San Pietro and Val di Funes|
|Pretty meadows above San Pietro|
|Monte Tullo (2654m)|
|Close up Monte Tullo|
|Sass de Putia (2875m)|
|Close up Sass de Putia|
|Plose grassy dome (2465m) above upper Val di Funes|
|Higher view down Val di Funes|
|Le Odle (3025m) above Santa Maddalena in Val di Funes|
|Looking back at Monte Tullo from above San Pietro|
|Pretty wooden-steepled chapel at Pradello|
|Castel Summersberg at Gudon, high above Rio Funes|
|Wildflowers along Rio Funes|
|Some of the steepness climbing out of San Pietro|