There were probably a hundred people on the 3km stretch of road between the Riviera Berica and Casa di Maul this morning on the way to church. Such a beautiful morning, crystal clear, and delightful temperature. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, as we are at the peak of spring in the Veneto. So after driving through the veritable obstacle course of humanity on the way home, after lunch we decided to go for a hike in the hills!
Our standard route is a 5km loop, straight up and then back down, which takes anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half depending on our motivation, or relaxation level. Today was less leisurely, but we still stopped to admire the view in several places. The Berici hills boast an over 150km network of trails, some maintained, some not. Our particular loop consists of a well marked section of the Altavia dei Berici, as well as what one might refer to as a “goat trail” which we use to descend back to our village. No goats today, just a startled forest mouse.
On a clear day the views are spectacular. Looking out over the Fimon valley towards the north, the Dolomites stand out against the horizon, still snow capped at this time of year. The longer 4 plus hour route requires a map. We find that using openstreetmap.org on the CityMaps 2go app on iPhone provides the best reference for the lesser known trails, especially where we enounter a riudimentary fence or other attempt to block people who want to use the trail for purposes other than hiking.
It’s a section of Italy you won’t find in any tour guide, but Italians know how to commune with nature. While throngs of foreign tourists are flocking to gondola rides in Venice, the locals are escaping to the hills. For those who are truly passionate about it, gathering herbs, hunting for mushrooms, or performing trail maintenance, unorganized outdoor recreation is a very popular pastime. For us casual hikers, we certainly appreciate their efforts.