The Pierino dalla Zuanna aided path is a itinerary hiking along a path used in the First World War on the sidelines of the clashes between the Italian and Austrian armies on Mount Pubel in Val Brenta (province of Vicenza). The path is from a technical and climbing point of view elementary and the metal fixtures are mainly used to increase the safety of the progression that takes place on a slide, forest floor and in some exposed points. Ideal as an aided path to familiarize yourself with via ferrata equipment and exposure in an environment without significant environmental difficulties.
The starting point of the Pierino della Zuanna path is located along the road that connects Valstagna (Vicenza) with Foza (Vicenza). To reach Valstagna take the state road 47 which from Bassano sul Grappa leads to Valsugana then to Trento. Once in Valstagna with the state road, pay attention to the sign indicating the Grotte di Oliero on the left. We turn to the left we follow the road that leads on the bridge. We cross it to keep the right uphill. After a few meters the road separates: we keep left entering the town towards Piazza San Marco. Again we keep to the left and follow the signs for Foza. The road now becomes steeper and leaves the country. We come to a crossroads where we keep the right for Asiago and Foza. We drive for about 1 km to a hairpin bend (2 hairpin bends) where we park at the roadside near a Cala del Sasso sign.
Directions for Google Maps available here.
Parked the car, we walk on one dirt road westwards along the Val Frenzela. After a few minutes we follow the path 779 to the right with clear indications that we are about to undertake the Pierino della Zuanna path (PDZ) which will lead in about 2 hours to Monte Pubel overlooking the Val Brenta. The path climbs up a clear track and we reach in succession the Pian dea Mea (350 m), the Balcon de Rialto (479 m), the Col dei Mufloni (618 m) and therefore at a crossroads called "Bivio Strada Militare"(660 m): on the right you reach Foza on the old road. Instead, we will keep the left by hiking the most interesting part of the climb (about 1 hour abundant from the parking lot).
Keep left at the crossroads we continue on the track and shortly we reach a second crossroad: on the left the easy unequipped variant continues while on the right begins the aided variant which is still of an easy level and we recommend it. We will use the left path as return.
We walk uphill in the woods until we reach one military gallery with plate. We will follow to the right the artificial ledge. We walk along the ledge and go up the path to the very beginning of the path equipped with distinctive red sign.
We travel a aided ledge and we go up a steep stretch of path where the cable will be useful in case of wet ground. The path continues up to the Base of the Canal (975 m) where the last aided part of the route develops: easy rocks again trail that goes up to meet one singular metal ladder. We go up again for about 100 meters alternating equipped sections and sections of trail until you reach the panoramic point of the General's bench with the view that sweeps across the valley.
After the well-deserved rest with a view, you go up the track towards the rocky ridge which leads to the summit of Monte Pudel where the great Cross of San Francesco overlooking the valley (ca 2h 30 'from the parking lot).
We retrace the last part of the path traveled uphill to the bench. At that point we will not go down the equipped section but to the other track which descends to the right and which avoids the equipped sections although it is sometimes steep. We reach a ledge under looming limestone cliffs and we go down into the woods reaching the so-called Talking about the Witches. We continue in constant descent until we reach the crossroads met on the way with short and easy equipped sections. From this point you reach the car park backwards for the outward path (4h 30 'total of the excursion - about 2h from the end of the climb).
There are many traces of the clashes that took place in this area during the world conflict and the excursion itself takes on a very interesting character. The area is not very touristy and the path, which has been very well equipped recently, is worth a visit. The aided sections will sometimes be superfluous but the situation is different in the event of rains and wet flors.
We do not recommend it in the summer months given the low altitude. It lends itself very well to be traveled even in the cold months, paying attention to the conditions of the bottom of the ground. Being more of an excursion with aided sections than a via ferrata, the time indicated in relation varies considerably according to the pace and training of those who travel the route.
From Valstagna we will have two options: continue north or south.
If we continue north we reach Feltre east from which it is possible to continue in the direction of both the province of Belluno that towards Fiera di Primiero then San Martino di Castrozza. Towards Belluno, we could walk the low altitude via ferrata routes near the Piave: the Via Ferrata of Memory at Vajont, the Ferrata della Val Gallina and the Ferrata to the Falchi Wall. In the summer months we recommend, if physically prepared, to the Giro dello Schiara with the Ferrata Zacchi, Berti and Marmol or even the via ferratas Sperti and guardian.
If from Feltre instead we went up to San Martino di Castrozza, many opportunities open up in the summer months. There are in fact many Via Ferrata in the Pale di San Martino. Among these we point out the Via Ferrata Bolver Lugli, the Via Ferrata of Porton and Veil, the Ferrata Buzzati and the Ferrata of the Yellow Flames at the Reali shelter.
If instead from Valstagna we descended to the valley towards Bassano del Grappa, we can travel the Via Ferrata Sass Brusai or the Ferrata Guzzella with Grappa or the Via Ferrata Santa Felicita (ideal in winter).