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We were once again looking for a special hike. While researching on the Internet, we then became aware of the “Strada delle 52 Gallerie” (Road of the 52 tunnels). The distance from Lake Garda is about 1 hour, so the trip can be done in one day.

What is the Strada delle 52 Gallerie?

The “Strada delle 52 Gallerie” (Road of the Tunnels) is also called “Strada della I. Armata” (“Road of the I Army”) and is located on the border of the provinces of Vicenza and Trento. It is a former military road from the First World War.

The road goes from Bocchetta Campiglia at 1216 m altitude to Porte del Pasubio at 1928 m altitude. This involves walking through 52 former military tunnels, some of which are particularly spectacular. This includes, above all, tunnel number 20: this one spirals through the rock, from the entrance to the exit there are four turns to be made. The longest tunnel measures 318 m in length.

Entrance to Strada delle 52 Gallerie at the parking lot

Work began in March 1917 and was completed in December 1917. The main reason for the construction of this spectacular military road was the constant shelling and avalanche danger of the road between Ponte Verde – Colle Xomo – Bocchetta di Campiglia and Porta Pasubio. This new military road should at least partially replace the above road.

Arrival to Posina

Not knowing exactly what to expect, we took a more relaxed approach to the whole thing and opted for 2 nights in Posina. Before leaving, we had our breakfast once again at Meckis. Afterwards we decided to hike up to Monte Brione, to “warm up” so to speak.

The journey to Posina leads past Rovereto. After that, the road becomes steeper and narrower, and the drive to Posina is an experience in itself. The one or other thrill was definitely there.

Our navi guided us through Baisi and Passo Borcola until we finally arrived in Posina. Baisi has remained in our special memory, along the road were countless and unique straw dolls.

Straw figure (man) on the way to Posina in Baisi

Arriving in Posina, we were greeted by the hotel owner in a friendly manner. The hotel was simple, but absolutely adequate. We had also booked a table for the evening, supposedly there should be the best gnocchi in the region. In fact, these were not bad, but nothing special either….

The hike Strada delle 52 Gallery

The next morning we went by car to the parking lot at the entrance of the trail. Since we did the hike in August, we started quite early to avoid the biggest rush. Fortunately, we were on Wednesdays, on weekends in the summer it is supposed to be very crowded…

The parking lot is located in Strada degli Scarubbi. The parking fee is 6,- Euro for the whole day, card payment is possible.

View of the vizentine alps

The hike itself is about 15 km long, with 800 meters of altitude each way to overcome for the ascent and descent. We recommend in any case to use the ascent through the tunnels and not the descent. The path itself is not too difficult and can be mastered even by less experienced hikers. Whereby 800 meters of ascent are also to be mastered first….When we arrived at the top of the pass, we were already well exhausted.

The ground is mostly coarse gravel, occasionally rocky. The hike through the tunnels is spectacular and we advise you to bring a headlamp. It is partly pitch black and you can see NOTHING without light. The flashlight on the cell phone can also be used if necessary, but it is not very convenient. Also, it can be slippery in the tunnel, so it is recommended to have both hands free. Well, we had of course forgotten the headlamps and had to resort to the sparkle from the cell phone. Outside the tunnels there are some narrower parts of the path, these are secured with ropes. However, this is not a via ferrata.

The view between the tunnels is spectacular. All the time you have a magnificent view of the Vizentine Alps.

Once you have crossed the 52nd tunnel, you arrive at the Rifugio Achille Papa. There you have the opportunity to eat and drink something. Since it was quite crowded there, we first arrested a bar and felt sorry for ourselves. Afterwards we went directly to the descent. This leads back along Strada degli Scarubbi to the parking lot. On the way you will come across the Malga Campiglia, where Italian specialties from the region are sold. In addition, you have the opportunity to eat and drink something there. This was just fine with us, as it was too crowded for us at the Rifugio at the top of the pass. After about 6 hours we were back at the parking lot and it went back to the hotel.

Is the hike Strada delle 52 Gallerie worth it?

In our opinion, the trip to the Vicentine Alps is definitely worth it. You can escape the hustle and bustle of Lake Garda for a day. If you do the hike during the week and not necessarily in mid-August, it is relaxing and not so busy. Mountain biking is prohibited on the road of the 52 tunnels, by the way, there were probably some serious and fatal accidents, which led to the closure of the route for mountain bikers.

Here again the key data:

  • Distance from Lake Garda (Riva del Garda) approx. 60 km, driving time 1,5 hours
  • Parking directly at the entrance (Parcheggio della Strada delle 52 Gallerie), day ticket costs 6,- Euro (as of August 2022)
  • Route length approx. 15 km
  • Ascent and descent each approx. 800 HM
  • Maximum altitude: 1,928 m
  • Refreshment stops: Rifugio Generale Achille Papa and Malga Campiglia (on the descent).

What equipment is recommended for the hike?

  • Good walking shoes
  • Hiking pants with detachable leg
  • Functional shirt, possibly a spare shirt
  • Hiking backpack with about 20 liters volume to pack the essentials. Since we like mountain biking, we sometimes use our bike backpacks.
  • Sufficient to drink
  • Something to eat, at least a few power bars
  • Rain jacket
  • We have also been using trekking poles for some time, especially in steep passages they are very helpful
  • Headlamp

Pictures Strada delle 52 Gallery

Here are some more great pictures from our exciting hike Strada delle 52 Gallerie

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