Tag Archives: easy hike

In Marostica for the cherry trees: by foot and by car

Springtime in Marostica. The birds, the bees, and cherry trees! If Easter had just waited until a couple of weeks later this year, then surely we would’ve caught the ciliegi in full bloom. [Note: Easter 2017 will occur on April 16, so yay!] Here are 2 ways to experience the flowering season north of Vicenza.

Known as the Colline di San Benedetto, this itinerary is located less than a mile from the lower castle in Marostica’s center town. It has the option of becoming a loop trail and is suitable for all ages and furry friends too. The path covers a brief, slightly steep incline at the beginning but levels out afterwards. We did the whole thing in order to give it a complete evaulation and I can say that the best part is up until waypoint 2 (click to enlarge), so if you make it that far then you’ve covered the most beautiful views.

Itinerary #36 - Colline di San Benedetto

Colline di San Benedetto


Details: satellite view on my Google maps
Length: approximately 4 miles
Duration: 2 hours
Difference in elevation: 160 meters / 525 feet
Start and end: via Ponte Quarello
Parking: yes, along via Ponte Quarello or at the park on Via Matteazzi
Pros: not particularly difficult, suitable for families
Cons: the last segment of the path (see waypoint 4) runs along the main highway for 450 meters before heading inland. There are no sidewalks.


Itinerary n.36 (1) Itinerary n.36 (2) Itinerary n.36 (3)
Trailhead sign on via Ponte Quarello. The path winds through trees and what was once the site for a small church (San Benedetto). It opens up to a view of Marostica’s upper castle.

Itinerary n.36 (4)
Abandoned farmhouse along the way.

Itinerary n.36 (5) Itinerary n.36 (6)
We came across so few people on this walk that it felt like we had it all to ourselves.

Itinerary n.36 (7)
A wild cherry tree in bloom. This is the best part and I believe the highest point in elevation.

Itinerary n.36 (8) Itinerary n.36 (9)
The dogs made a friend at one of the farmhouses. Mister B didn’t get all aggressive!

Itinerary n.36 (10) Itinerary n.36 (11)
Left turn-off toward Valle San Floriano (waypoint 2), left again on via Sedea (waypoint 3). Path leaves main highway and heads back.


And for those who prefer to sit behind the wheel, the Strada delle Ciliege between Marostica and Villa di Molvena is just under 4 miles long.

Strada delle Ciliege
View map: https://goo.gl/maps/K5fdfBbE3jF2

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Austrian forts of Tonale Pass

Looking down on Tonale Pass

Too many months have passed since our last hike in the italian alps, so last Monday (my birthday!) we took to the mountains further north to Passo del Tonale between Lombardy and Trentino. At 6,178 feet above sea level this area is a magnet for skiers and snowboarders in winter, but visit Tonale Pass in summer and it takes on a different look with grassy expanses, alpine wildflowers, and, upon waking from hibernation, the presence of whistling marmots.

This easy walk begins at Hotel La Mirandola and takes visitors to the Austrian forts used in WW1. A full description and itinerary can be found at the link below. It is mainly flat terrain with a few gentle hills until the last stretch up a steep, rocky path to Forte Saccarana.

Austrian forts trail
Clear signs mark the way to the forts.

Alpine flora Tonale Pass
Hundreds of tiny alpine flowers add bits of color to the grassy plains.

Tonale Pass austrian forts trail Maddie on the Austrian forts trail
We met very few people along the way which made it possible for the dogs to run willy-nilly on the loose. The Westie, as always, took every single opportunity to walk into every source of water, muddy or not.

Forte Saccarana Forte Saccarana: view of La Presanella
Unfortunately the fort was not open on the day we visited, but it has a pretty impressive view across the valley from its spot at 7000 feet above sea level.

Forte Saccarana picnic

Blocked trail after Forte Saccarana Backtrack from Forte Saccarana
The hike was cut short by downed trees on the way to the 2nd fort (Mero), so we turned around and backtracked the way we came. For some reason the doxie would not budge an inch down the steep part of the trail, but the westie…she’s like, I can do this all by myself!

Ospizio San Bartolomeo
At Ospizio San Bartolomeo/Mirandola Hotel, starting point of the trail.
To The Austrian Forts Of Tonale, main page www.adamelloski.com/en/walks/

Hallerbos: walking the bluebell forest

Hallerbos in Belgium

Timing is everything for this ‘blue forest’ located less than 12 miles south of Brussels. Visitors wishing to experience Hallerbos at its best need to keep a keen eye on the weather, because when the temps have sufficiently warmed up enough, Hallerbos turns a gorgeous violet-blue as Hyacinthoides non-scripta come into bloom. The peak period lasts for 2 weeks and usually begins around mid-April while the forest trees are still bare, allowing the necessary sunlight to reach in. As the trees gradually unfurl new leaves, the bluebell season comes to an end in the growing shadows.

Hallerbos - bluebell forest

This place was a trip highlight for us. Easy walk, dog-friendly, and free! It can get especially busy on weekends so it’s advised to visit during the weekdays (more available parking). There are designated picnic areas and random benches located along the trails. Wonderful place to relax and unwind, but I wish we had been able to get there at first light (and maybe spot a deer or other woodland creature). For information: Hallerbos

Hallerbos with the

Hallerbos hosts a network of walking paths, biking paths and horse trails. Dogs must be kept on a leash, but the dynamic duo loved running along the trails.

Hallerbos, Belgium