How can you explore beautiful high alpine valleys that many hikers never see…climb ridges and peaks that in most of the world, only experienced mountain climbers can attempt…and hike along narrow ledges far above the clouds…all safely and with no fear of falling? Via Ferrata! A system of fixed cables and climbing aids that was originally invented by the Italian army in WWI to move troops through the mountains safely. Via Ferrata routes are all over the Italian Alps, the most exhilarating and dramatic are found here in the Dolomites, the most beautiful mountains in the world. Via Ferrata allows hikers who are moderately fit but have no mountaineering experience, to safely experience unbelievable mountain trails, ridges and peaks! This is the stuff you see on television but thought you’d never be able to do! Best of all, after a wonderful day of hiking in the mountains and seeing landscapes that defy the imagination, you don’t have to spend the evening in a cramped tent, rolled up in a sleeping bag. Instead each afternoon we’ll return to our quaint Italian mountain town to relax in our 4-Star hotel, enjoying world-class Italian food, wine, and hospitality. And the next day we get to do it again on a new mountain. Truly the best of both worlds! And, to make sure we get the true mountain experience, we’ll spend one night at a beautiful mountain rifugio…roughing it…(not really…hot showers, awesome food, great wine, a million stars, and a comfy bed!)
This is truly an off-the-beaten-path Lost in Italy adventure!
Although we don’t currently have a trip scheduled for open registration, we are continuing to accommodate private groups. If you have a group of 6 or more and are interested in experiencing Via Ferrata in the Italian Dolomites, contact us at 1-888-522-LOST (5678) to learn more about our private trips.
Tour Dates & Pricing
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Benvenuti in Italia!
You should plan to arrive in the picturesque mountain town of Canazei deep in the Dolomite mountains of Northern Italy by midday. You'll have a chance to relax and meet the others at the "get-acquainted" party and dinner which starts in the late afternoon. (When you book your tour, your guides can advise you on how to transfer from your arrival airport to our 4-Star hotel in Canazei.)
Canazei is a bustling mountain village that is a center for climbers, hikers, skiers, and adventure seekers from all over the world. It lies beneath the imposing walls of the Sella massif and within sight of the inspiring Gran Vernel summit and the “Queen of the Dolomites”… Marmolada. Conifer covered slopes envelope the town and some of the most famous and photographed peaks surround it. You’ll have plenty of time in the evenings to stroll around and check out the many cozy bars, ristorante and shops.
This evening we’ll get a chance to meet everyone else in our adventurous group at our "get-acquainted dinner". Plate after plate of incredible food will magically appear in front of you, all you have to do is make it disappear! Northern Italian cuisine reflects the best of classical Austrian as well as Italian dishes. Robust and flavorful, a wide variety of pastas, meats and cheeses are present in a staggering variety of dishes. Along with the food, the wines this region are a well-kept secret…you’ll soon agree their local reputation as some of Italy’s best vintages are well deserved. Experiment and enjoy!
After dinner this evening we’ll meet our Alpine guide. The guides we use on our Via Ferrata trips are not just ordinary trail guides. These are professional alpine mountaineering guides, very experienced and at the top of their game. Although most of them are from the area, they regularly work with clients to climb world-class peaks on all the continents. You’re in good hands, to say the least. Our alpine guide and our group leaders will work together tonight to get everyone fitted with the proper sizes of via ferrata gear.
This morning after a full breakfast we’ll board our private coach for a short ride through the stunning mountain scenery. Soon we’ll be hiking across alpine meadows surrounded by the sheer walls and peaks of the Dolomites. Today we’ll learn how to use the Via Ferrata gear, a very simple arrangement consisting of a small waist harness with two 3-foot climbing ropes attached. A carabiner at the end of each rope allows you to clip yourself to the cable that is mounted alongside the trail. So if you made a misstep that caused you to slide or fall, after only a few feet the gear would stop you. By mid-morning you’ll be practicing on some easy (but beautiful) routes, and gaining confidence in the gear and your abilities. By noon you’ll be very comfortable with the system and ready to tackle more exciting routes! We’ll have a mountain packed lunch at a scenic location (guaranteed to have better views than a burger joint) and then hike back to the bus for the short trip back to Canazei. If the schedule permits we may have the option to do a bit of rock climbing on a nearby crag under the close supervision and instruction of the mountain guide. This is a great chance to learn a new skill in a world-class location!
This evening is free to relax and explore the town, perhaps to find a particular piece of last-minute sports gear in one of the many shops, or you might want to settle in and relax with a glass of pre-dinner vino in one of the quaint bars. While in Canazei all of our evening meals are included in your package and will be at our comfortable and beautiful hotel. This leaves you free to relax after a full day in the mountains and not have to think about going out to find a place to eat each evening. Plus, the restaurant at our hotel has one of the best kitchens in town!
Roda da Vael
After breakfast this morning our coach will transfer along the twisty mountain roads to the beginning of our days adventure…a chairlift! After riding in style up to the base of the mountain, we’ll have a scenic hike along the slopes that ring the limestone cliffs to the beginning of the Roda da Vael route. Although not technically difficult, this route follows the exposed ridge of a huge jagged mountain to the summit at 9200 feet. The openness is breathtaking and offers 360 degree views of all the surrounding mountain groups! Since we’re protected by the safety cable we can enjoy the exhilarating experience without fear.
We’ll enjoy our packed lunch at some sheltered nook on the mountain, no doubt overlooking a gorgeous alpine valley thousands of feet below us. A descent down to the homeward trail will herald the end of our day in the mountains.
The guides will host a pre-dinner wine tasting tonight, featuring many of the Northern Italian vintages the area is famous for. Afterwards you may want to indulge yourself in one of the hotels many spa offerings. Thermal baths, massages, and bio-saunas are all great ways to soothe the tired muscles after a day tramping among the peaks.
Todays Via Ferrata is named in honor of Bepi “Zac” Pellegrino, famed mountaineer and ferrata builder. We approach the climbing route with a hike through the “no mans land” of a former WWI battlefield. This area was the site of a massive battle between Austrian troops manning trenches and dugouts on the mountain and the attacking Italian army troops attempting to break into the Val di Fassa. The trail passes monuments of barbed wire and war relics before starting up the side of the ridge. Most of this fascinating route traces the military fortifications along the spine of the ridge. Trenches, lookout posts, dugout rooms and tunnels are still in evidence, many of them restored. Piles of shelters and barbed wire destroyed by artillery still litter the area. A small flashlight might come in handy today to help explore the amazing amount of tunnels and underground rooms the Austrians built along their defensive line.
A picnic lunch at over 9000 feet of altitude overlooking the historic battlefield will be one of your more memorable meals.
Later in the day, before we return to Canazei we’ll visit a fascinating WWI museum filled with artifacts and displays of how the “War to End All Wars” was fought in this area.
This evening the guides will host another pre-dinner wine tasting, this time featuring wines from the other regions of Italy,
Col dei Bos
This ferrata was built as recent as 2007 by the Italian Army’s Alpine Brigade for training purposes. It’s got everything…superb safety protection, excellent hiking and climbing, and great views! Our day starts with a beautiful morning hike through the forest that brings us to the base of one of the most astoundingly sheer mountains in Italy…Tofane. Our ferrata route works its way up a huge pillar of stone that rises from the forest to the base of Tofane’s famous diamond face. As you alternately hike and climb, you’ll be treated to views that only mountaineers and eagles get to enjoy. At a grassy shoulder we’ll have our pack lunch on a beautiful sunlit slope amid occasional WWI artifacts still scattered about.
After a relaxing lunch we’ll have an easy hike along a rocky saddle, once again savoring views of the endless mountains in all directions. Along this section we’ll cross the remains of several war fortifications and trenches, all entwined with the now-rusted barbed wire. Fragments of artillery shells and weapons are still easy to find. A strange sad silence permeates this deserted area where so many men once fought and died.
Soon we’ll come to a large section of the battlefield that’s been painstakingly restored. Sandbag shelters and bunk rooms dug into the rock line the top of the next ridge. Eventually we’ll arrive at Rifugio Lagazuoi, an oasis of comfort in this harsh landscape run by the Pompanin family for three generations. Perched at 9000 feet on the edge of a stunning rockface overlooking the valley over 2000 feet below, the rifugio will be our home for the evening. An incredible observation deck provides a stunning view of the surrounding peaks, and is the perfect place for a post-ferrata glass of Austrian beer or Italian wine!
An easier alternate ascent to the rifugio is possible through the famous Lagazuoi Tunnels, a series of huge tunnels carved through the mountains from the base all the way to the rifugio! Used to move troops during the war, they now provide a unique route to reach the summit. An even easier route by a nearby cable car can provide those who choose not to climb today with a way to join the group at the rifugio.
We’ll spend the night at this small family-run rifugio, enjoy hot showers, a wonderful meal and a warm bed. This night will be a unique experience you won’t forget!
Sunrise over the Dolomites…viewed from a perch like Rifugio Lagazuoi, is an experience not to be missed. After a hearty mountain breakfast we’ll follow Kaiserjeger, an easy boulder-strewn via ferrata route down the opposite face of Little Lagazuoi. Views of the forested valley below us provide a postcard-pretty scene to accompany us as we hike and descend. More WWI trenches are encountered as we make our way over the rugged scenery. Eventually we’ll reach our private coach, which will whisk us back to our snug accommodations in Canazei. The rest of the day is free to wander and explore the area, buy any last-minute gifts or just relax after your week of mountaineering.
Tonight we’ll have our farewell dinner and toast all of our accomplishments for the week. Stories will be told, adventures re-lived, fun events laughed about and email addresses exchanged. Farewell parties sometimes last well into the night, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself sipping a late-night aperitif as you relax and remember all the incredible adventures you had in the mountains when you got Lost in Italy!
Your Lost in Italy Via Ferrata adventure comes to an end today after breakfast. If you are planning on exploring more of Italy on your own, the nearby city of Bolzano can provide easy access to bus and air connections.
- 6 Nights, Double Occupancy Accommodations at Listed Hotels or similar (All Hotels with Private Bathrooms)
- Meals as Specified, 6 Breakfasts, 6 Dinners, 3 wine tastings
- All Via Ferrata Gear, Including Harness, Carabiner System, Helmet, Gloves, and Climbing Shoes
- Via Ferrata Orientation and Instruction Climb
- Roda da Vael Route (or similar)
- Bepi Zac Route (or similar)
- Col dei Bos Route (or similar)
- Kaiserjeger Route (or similar)
- Entrance to a WWI Museum
- Guide’s Welcome Night Wine Tasting
- Guide's Wine Tasting in Canazei
- Guide’s “Tutti Italia” Wine Tasting
- Transportation once the tour has begun. In the mountains we generally use small coaches or large vans. Our Via Ferrata groups are usually between 6-12 people so we make sure we have adequate room for both people and gear.
- All train, ferry, hydrofoil, coach and taxi transfers as specified in itinerary.
- Sightseeing and entrance fees as specified in itinerary
- Completely escorted by a Lost in Italy Tour Leader with local guides at specified sites throughout the itinerary
- Lost in Italy trail-friendly wine glass
- A lifetime of unforgettable memories!
What´s not Included
- Airfare package
- Departure taxes
- Arrival and departure transfers, tour begins at the hotel in Canazei in the afternoon of Day 1, and the tour ends at the hotel in Canazei on the morning of Day 7.
- Drinks not specified in itinerary and drinks during meals with the exception of juice and coffee at breakfast.
- Gratuities for meals, porterage, local guides, coach drivers, etc.