Tag Archives: living cathedral

The living cathedral in spring

Cattedrale Vegetale in March

Old man winter might argue that less than a week remains until he officially takes his leave, but with temps in the mid-60’s I’d say he has already left the building. In the past we’ve visited the cattedrale vegetale during fall season, winter, and now we can also add spring. This past Sunday was one of those beautiful get-up-and-go days, so we packed a picnic lunch and headed toward the mountains for Maddie’s 7th birthday.

Maddie's 7th birthday

As the very top image shows, the cathedral has a long way to go until the young trees fill in the framework. I have to say that my favorite time of year to visit is when the entire area is covered in white, but even here with the last patches of snow, this work of natural art is not any less wonderful. I wouldn’t suggest summer as it can get uncomfortably hot even at this altitude, and the lack of a nearby restaurant or restroom could be a disadvantage to some.

Getting there

Cattedrale Vegetale signpost Parking area for cattedrale and rifugi

The cathedral is located just above località Plassa in Val Serina (Bergamo). Traveling east on SP27 from neighboring Oltre il Colle, take the left road upon reaching Zambla Alta. Here’s a link to google streetview and you can’t miss the signs (left image above). Following via Plassa for around 2 miles will eventually lead to a large summer residence. Drive up the right (the left leads to a large parking area) where it ends at the trailhead (right image above). Parking is allowed along one side of the road and as of this date is still for free.

Walk up to cathedral

If you’ve managed to snag a parking spot close to the trailhead, the cathedral is all yours in less than a ½-mile and a matter of 10-15 minutes by foot. BUT…and of course there’s always a but…be prepared for the 12% grade. These photos top and bottom should give a fair idea of what I’m describing as I stood in the same spot but shot at different angles. While it is paved asphalt all the way, the grade could prove to be a little too tough for weak knees.

Walk down from cathedral

The Living Cathedral at Malga Costa in Trentino

Cattedrale vegetale - Malga Costa

If this looks a little bit familiar you might remember our visits to La Cattedrale Vegetale on Monte Arera (Bergamasc Alps) last September and December. This one in Trentino province is much bigger, and an additional 45 works of natural art is spread out among two separate areas of the park. Admission fee is 5€; kids up to 10 years get in free. If we could’ve spared another couple of hours we would’ve also walked the exhibition route that begins a few kilometers just before Malga Costa (no extra cost).

More images on Flickr: Living art at Malga Costa in Trentino

Hiking to the cattedrale vegetale in winter

The abominable snowdoxie

If only Mister B could speak! I know that he would’ve had some choice words for the two of us this past Saturday. Getting to the beginning of the path was easy enough since the roads were plowed, but further on up the snow was left as is. This inevitably became a magnet for skiers wanting a thrill down the winding road, but it was both funny and insane at the same time since they also had their dogs running along beside them (and the dogs were keeping pace!). The few that we did see were very aware of meeting hikers going up but after the first encounter, we kept our two on a leash and stayed close to the side of the path.

Saturday hike in the snow Rudolph the reindeer tree Rudolph the reindeer?

When we reached the cathedral it was a huge surprise to see it surrounded in an untrodden sea of white, but with no easy path to follow, we had to carefully wade our way, knee-deep, through pristine snow. Mr. B got a leg cramp from the cold and in the end we had to carry both of them out and much of the way back down. It snowed again this morning but looks like we’ll have a break for the rest of the week!

Head deep in snow