The hidden gems of the mountain

Three on the road itineraries to discover the Italian headlands' wonders (not just the natural ones)

Home Life Lifestyle travel The hidden gems of the mountain

The mountain is a precious resource, not only from an environmental point of view but also for the regional economic and social system. For this reason, it is important to promote environmentally sustainable tourism, with the aim of supporting the territory of the mountain areas and making the local wonders known, especially the less-known ones. Whether you want to spend a weekend surrounded by nature or just take a day to walk through the woods, here are three itineraries in Sicily, the Dolomites area, and Valle d'Aosta to disconnect from the daily hustle and bustle.

Sicily, the Madonie park and its villages

To discover the Madonie park - a mountain ridge located in the northern part of Sicily - the travel itinerary includes departure from Cefalù, in the direction of Castelbuono, a small village where you can visit the Ventimiglia Castle from 1317. We continue towards Geraci Siculo, a medieval village of only one thousand inhabitants, where you can admire the ancient remains of the Geraci Castle. From here, you reach Petralia Sobprana, the highest town in the Madonie park at 1147 meters and named among the most beautiful stone villages in Italy, with its characteristic narrow streets, churches and noble palaces. The route continues at 1500 meters against the backdrop of the Madonie mountains and the top of Etna to arrive at Piano Battaglia, which is located in the heart of the park, where it is possible to stop for lunch. The itinerary continues to Isnello, a village at 1600 meters above sea level whose name - from the Syriac term hassin, "cold river" - probably derives from the characteristics of the watercourse that crosses the territory, wedging itself into a narrow canyon. Following the visit to the historic village, the itinerary ends with the return to Cefalù.

Exploring the Dolomites

These are road trips to explore the most beautiful valleys of the Dolomites, against the backdrop of breathtaking landscapes. The itinerary starts from Cortina, to continue towards Val Badia, with visits to Lake Misurina and Lake Landro. From here, you reach a panoramic point where you can admire the snow-capped Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Crossing the Fanes-Sennes-Braies natural park you arrive at Lake Braies at 1496 metres, the most famous in the area where it is possible to carry out various sporting activities such as snowshoe trips. The journey continues with a visit to the city of Brunico, the historical and cultural capital,, founded by Prince Bishop Bruno von Kirchberg in the 12th century. Following the road that runs through the valleys, we continue passing by La Villa, one of the villages of Alta Badia, by Corvara, and by Colfosco, to stop to admire the landscape from the panoramic point of Passo Gardena. The itinerary then crosses the Sella Pass and the Pordoi Pass, to arrive in Arabba, the most important center of the Fodom Valley and one of the most characteristic villages that extends at the foot of the imposing Sella massif. Then crossing the Colle Santa Lucia, you arrive at the panoramic point of the Giau Pass with a spectacular view before returning to Cortina.

From Milan to Aosta through the castles

In just two hours, from Milan it is possible to arrive in the Aosta Valley, to follow an itinerary to discover the wonderful castles of the area. The first stop is the Castel Savoia: a 1904 castle with five turrets in a medieval and neo-Renaissance style, designed by the architect Emilio Stramucci and famous above all for having been the beloved summer residence of Queen Margherita of Savoy. From here the splendid view extends across the entire valley up to the Lyskamm glacier.. The itinerary proceeds on state road 26, which runs next to the suggestive Roman Road of Gallie - an ancient road created by cutting the rock of the mountain - to arrive in Bard, a medieval village among the most beautiful in Italy, where you can visit the Fort of the same name, an early nineteenth-century barrier fortress, which hosts temporary exhibitions and educational workshops. Afterwards, the route proceeds with a visit to the Castle of Issogne – previously a luxurious Renaissance residence – and the 12th century Castle of Verrès. The route continues to Gamba Castle - built between 1901 and 1905 by Baron Carlo Maurizio Gamba, and which subsequently became the seat of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art - and to Cly Castle, one of the oldest fortresses in the valley from very scenic profile. The last stop on the journey is the 12th century Fenis Castle, a stately residence with an imposing defensive system, known above all for the fresco depicting Saint George killing the dragon. Finally, the itinerary ends with arrival in Aosta..

The so-called on the road itineraries are opportunities to get to know the territories, explore the mountains that characterize them, and discover their natural riches. With a special emphasis on environmental respect, the car journey becomes the right occasion to travel, uncover, and experience them.

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