From Innsbruck to Brixen and through the Dolomites to San Martino di Castrozza
Stage 14 - Passo Pordoi to Malga Ciapela

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Easy 5 hour hike around the northwestern side of the Marmolada. Well marked trails to Lago Fedaia; the Viel de Pan (way of the bread) is very popular, start early to avoid the crowds. Long downhill to Malga Ciapela, marked trail follows the road, unmarked follows the skislopes through meadows and forest (much prettier).

The path 'Viel del Pan', which means 'way of the bread', once was the only connection between The Val di Fassa and the italian province Venetia.

In the 17th century, the Venetians imported most of their grain from the south of Italy and rigidly controlled all commerce. Locals wishing to illegally engage in their own trade used this route to smuggle supplies.
The Marmolada, the 'Queen of the Dolomites', is the highest and only glaciated mountain in the Dolomites. Once the dividing line between Austria and Italy, major battles were fought here in World War I. The Austrains excavated 10+ km of tunnels under the glacier, troops fighting not only against the Italians but also the elements.
All along the fairly level path, beautiful views of 'Queen Marmolada' and its glaciers abound. Eventually, Lake Fedaia becomes visible, and soon the trail descends all the way down. The marked path points along the road on the left side, but crossing the dam and following the old road on the opposite side is much more scenic. Just after Refugio Passo Fedaia, the marked trail points down the heavily trafficked main road. Luckily we had just met up with a couple german guys and a german guidebook suggesting one follows the skirun to the right. This turned out to be a pleasant walk on a faintly trodden path through meadows and lightly forested areas, but completely unmarked!

We emerged right above the Hotel Tyrolia, with its incredibly friendly and helpful staff. Malga Ciapela is also the base lift station for a gondola ride to the top of the Marmolada. This should be a pleasant experience on a clear day!

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