First World War one day itineraries through Italy. Suggestion no. 8. Monte Grappa #2: Cima Mandria and Malga Archeset

Monte Grappa #2

With this second suggestion of itineraries on Monte Grappa we invite you to discover the valley and the summit just beside the Meatte road, on the eastern flank of the range. This itinerary is very simple and lasts about 4-5 hours (without counting the lunch-break, but taking time to visit the fortifications along the path), a perfect Sunday excursion, even if during the week-ends there’s always a lot of people, which means you’ll miss probably some unexpected yet welcomed meeting on the descending path, as we’ll reveal in short. It can be undertaken in each season, it is particularly fascinating during the winter time, in a sunny yet frozen morning. However, due to the southern position of the path, you should venture on the snow only if you know its rules and respect them. Please check therefore the weather and temperatures forecasts in case.

Google maps starting point: Valle San Liberale, Rifugio Bellavista (Via San Liberale, 5, Paderno del Grappa Treviso, Italy).

Take the path n. 153 and climb up to the Meatte Mountain, till you reach the connection with path n.152 on the crest. And this time turn right.
Pay attention for some meters of this first section, because it may be icy; then you can walk freely along a narrow but untroubled, almost flat path which runs high, along a skyline of meadows and rocks. On the left you can see ruins of trenches, galleries and war relicts. On the right side you can enjoy the view on San Liberale Valley and then on the whole Pianura. If you’re lucky, in a sunny and clear day, you can recognize the Venice lagoon and, from “La Vedetta” short farther ahead, even the peaks on the borderline between Slovenia and Italy. If you have time or you simply want to rest few minutes, we suggest to take a sit on one of the rough boards-benches and look all this panorama, trying to perceive in this way, how strategic was the front line on the Monte Grappa, the last bastion to stop an easy and unstoppable run down on the Italian plain.
At some point, you find a sign on the right, indicating a newly reactivate, but still unnumbered path descending to San Liberale. We discourage to take it: it’s very steep  and gets sometimes lost in the wood. Keep on walking instead along the path n.152, till you finally reach Malga la Vedetta, recognizable, as you reach the asphalt, with its old building on your right. From the asphalt, turn first slightly on the left and climb the summit in front of you, Cima della Mandria (1482m), following the indication for Malga Archeset and then, at the first bend, abandoning the vehicular road and walking across the meadow, to reach the small church on the top. From here, if you’re able to stand the usually strongly blowing cold north wind,you can breathe an almost 360° view. With the southern plateau on your back, you can enjoy a glance at the Monte Grappa, then at the Feltrine Alps (the range of mountains from Feltre to Belluno) north, and at the Prealps of Treviso, with the Piave river below. You can also recognize from here the spine of the Italian defensive axis, running from Monte Meatte, to Cima della Mandria and Monte Pallon, till, descending on your right, Monte Tomba and Monfenera.
You may be hungry at this point, so this time you can easily find a warm meal in the near Malga Archeset. Just look north, in front of you, and then follow again the road for few minutes. It is a rustic place, but the Mulled Wine and the home-made cakes are simply perfects to restore from the cold outside.

The descent is very comfortable. Walk back to Malga Vedetta. A unnumbered path starts just in front of the building. Even with the snow you’ll find for sure the tracks of someone else. You can take it after having a look at the rests of a cableway nearby, which were use to supply the front line during the Great War. The descending path presents no difficulties, maybe some beautiful meeting. The meadows besides Malga Vedetta are in fact a place of recover and pasture for wild animals. Especially at the end of the autumn and in the spring you can often see herd of roe deer, so don’t talk aloud or make too many noises. The path will lead you through the wood, turning then in a large pebbly road of woodcutters till Valle San Liberale.

(Discover also the previously suggested itinerary on the Monte Grappa here).