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The Serai of Sottoguda

The Serrai di Sottoguda: A wonder of Nature

Serrai di Sottoguda: the name given to the suggestive gorge that extends from the village of the same name for around 2.5 km as far as the bowl of Malga Ciapéla, at the foot of the Queen of the Dolomites, Marmolada. Considered one of the greatest natural wonders in Italy, it is seen by countless visitors each year.

100 metre high rocky walls tower over the route, so narrow times that they almost touch. The road intersects the Pettorina stream 13 times, accounting for the many bridges that are met along the way.

At one time herded the herds of cows and sheep through the Serrai on their way to the high mountain pasture and long cart lines, loaded with timber or hay, which were led downstream from the forests and the harvest areas. There were few wayfarers. The gorge could be travelled only for a limited period throughout the year: in fact, in autumn, before the snow arrived, each bridge way was dismantled and reassembled again only in spring.

This major undertaking was required to allow the full stream Pettorina to run off as, with the melting of the snow, it would have been able to wash away tree trunks and become a danger for the towns along the valley below. Even today, by observing the rock closely, we can see the old holes that held the support beams of the bridge ways.

The route of the old road is also different to the current path. The “Sass Taiè”, for example, a large mass placed at one of the most narrow points of the gorge, was passed on the right (going upwards), not to the left as is the case today. The landscape on the opposite side was created during the First World War to allow access to the vehicles and animals that transported the baggage to the front. It is precisely at the “Sass Taiè”, on the slope of the original route, and therefore today hidden from passers-by, that an old Sacred Heart is carved to protect anyone who passed through the gorge. Another testament to the time of the Great War are the two galleries carved into the rock, and at the time used as powder magazines, which are found close to the entrance when going uphill from Sottoguda.

Meanwhile, a few steps further along we come across the stunning Grotto of Our Lady and mid-way along we find the small church of Sant’Antonio that was dedicated, in 1934, to the casualties of the first World War in the Marmolada area.

The Serrai are of considerable interest also during the winter period, when the numerous waterfalls freeze to cover the rocky walls with a thick layer of blue ice and make the gorge one of the most prized ice-climbing havens in Europe

Hotel Roy Hotel Roy

Hotel Roy
Loc. Malga Ciapela - Marmolada
32020 Rocca Pietore (BL) Italia
Tel. +39 0437 522977
Fax +39 0437 867298
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Hotel Roy - Malga Ciapela - Marmolada - 32020 Rocca Pietore (BL) Tel. +39 0437 522977 - Fax +39 0437 867298 - PI: 00941290256