Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Santa Augusta Hike

I've seen this church high in the hills above Vittorio Veneto from several different viewpoints and always wondered what it was like.  So today I piled the pups into the car and drove to Serravalle, at the north end of Vittorio Veneto.  The trailhead is about the fanciest I've ever seen, with statues and double staircases.  Soon you reach a very regular stack of short switchbacks paved with round cobbles.  After awhile you pass through a gatehouse, climb some steep stairs, and head up  some longer switchbacks, variously cobbled, dirt, or loose rock.  Not bad but the pups very intelligently jumped up on the low stone retaining wall and walked along the top of it.  Luckily it was just wide enough for them to walk side by side.   At the end of each switchback is a little octagonal chapel, each named for a different saint.  They date from 1642, and each has a painting of the saint above the alter, but they're hard to see because the chapels are locked and the grating is small.  I think they must be attended and open to visitors on special days.  The last chapel, Sant'Elena, is on a large terrazzo built by the Alpini: great views to the south and east here.  

The last stretch is a treelined staircase that brings you to Santuario Santa Augusta (350 meters).  This was built around 1450.  To your left is a captivating  loggia with arches and a marble well.  I walked around the grounds a bit and found some additional trails, and the bikeable road from Santa Giustina.  I might mountain bike it some day.

Headed back down; the tired girls had a nice snooze on their ride home.   

The fancy trailhead at Serravalle
Gatehouse at the end of the short switchback stack

Cappella San Giovanni

Cappella San Lorenzo

The signmaker may have sampled some
of the local hallucinogenic funghi

Love this sign marking start of Alta Via dei Silenzi
(trail to Sorgente del Piave above Sappada):
nicely painted fossils, funghi, edelweiss, a viper 

The view south with Fiume Meschio 

Looking east toward Sfadigà, Cadolten

Close up southward, with Sant'Andrea and cedar trees

Santa Augusta tower and facade
The loggia and well

Close up of marble well

The loggia's arches 

West toward Longhere along Strada del Prosecco

The climb up through Menegon to Pian dei Grassi, Col Visentin

Cappella Sant'Elena at base of final staircase

The pups enjoying the more stable walking surface of the retaining wall

Passato remoto and imperfetto;
Maestra would be so proud!

West of the trailhead: Serravalle's campanile
visible between palazzi on the piazza 

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