Friday, June 5, 2015

Monte Festa MTB

Monte Festa is a fortress built around 1900.  It sits atop a 1000-meter high peak with 360-degree view of northeast Italy, even into Austria and Slovenia.  I've ridden up the road on adjacent Monte San Simeone several times, but have always been wary of Festa.  It always seemed a little too wild and rugged.

As it turns out it isn't bad at all.  I followed a paved branch off of the San Simeone road up to end of pavement around 400 meters.  From here it's about 7 km of gravel and rock, averaging 8.6% gradient.  There are switchbacks and some drainage, stone buttressing, even a few short tunnels, so it's not a rough-hewn fire road.  At 632 meters is an excellent overlook platform with great views of Lago Cavazzo and the area.  Onward to 900 meters there's an area with some ruined concrete buildings I'm guessing were a non-fortified support area during peacetime.  Now up steeply on narrower rocky trail to the fortress at around 1000 meters.  It's worth the ride up just for the views.  I explored a bit and headed down.  I made it down without wrecking, though my fillings got a thorough looseness checkout.  Looks like they're all still there.  Great climb which I'd love to ride again.

From 632 meters Lago Cavazzo

Monte Faeit to the west

To northwest Tolmezzo and the Dolomite above Ampezzo

This area is known for its butterflies, attracted by wildflowers

View northeast up Fiume Fella

Monte Amariana in background

Monte San Simeone to east

Artillery mount: the Italians destroyed all of their guns before the
Austrians captured the fort so they couldn't be used against them

The north gun battery

View from west gun battery, looking at the route I rode

Another fortress to the west.  Must explore.

Lago Cavazzo from 1000 meters

Fortress entrance

Interior of the fortress 

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