The National Park of the Belluno Dolomites extends from the Cismon valley until the Piave valley, and was founded in 1990 to safeguard this territory of enormous natural value, which has already achieved note throughout the centuries for the beauty of its exclusive flora (Vette di Feltre, Monte Serva) and its rarity. Consequently the decision was made to protect its 32000 hectare of ‘stupendous natural panorama’ from winter sport development (hotels, ski-lifts, etc).
The area is now a national heritage site of inestimate worth where, rightly, nature rules. What strikes one the most is the large variety of the environment, owing to its ‘inaccessible’ location on the borders of the south-eastern Alps, which in prehistoric times saw the formation of glaciers (the last disappearing over 10000 years ago).
The park encompasses areas of medium and high-range mountains, among which loom the peaks of the Schiarà, the Sass de Mura, the Pavone and the Pizzòn. In addition to its natural attractions, the area is endowed with a rich and diverse culture: the small villages within the zone facing the Piave valley (Feltrino and Bellunese) differ accordingly from those of the Val di Zoldo, which present vastly different characteristics.
Differences also exist between the Tre Cime di Lavaredo and the Bellunese Dolomites, known as the ‘pale mountains’ owing to the colour of the rockface. Invigorating plateaux and vertiginous rockfaces: these are the haunts of golden eagles, creatures almost legendary because of their grace, their noble and majestic soaring through the skies and the rarity of their species. The highest and most difficult to reach zones are of course the parts which enthrone the most sought-after natural surroundings, though the valley floor and other areas accessible to the non-expert climber still provide a stupendous environment, rich in streams and plants. Summer is the best time to enjoy their beauty, with their floors richly carpeted with flowers.
Absolutely not to miss are Val Canzoni, the potholes of Brenton in Val del Mis, Busa delle Vette, the Schiara group, Piani Eterni, Certosa di Vedana and the former mine of Valle Imperina.
What to see in the Bellunesi Dolomites National Park
The main sights to see are: the alpine pastures of Vette Grandi and Monsampiano, Piazza del Diavolo (Devil’s Square), Stua Lake and Val Canzòi, the lake and Val del Mis with the Cadini del Brenton, Bus de le Nèole, Val di Piero and Val Vescovà, Foresta di Caiàda, Val del Grìsol and, among the most characteristic peaks, the obelisk, visible also from Belluno, of the Gusèla del Vescovà.
Visitor centres active for the season at Bellunesi Dolomites National Park
Dolomiti Bellunesi Nature Museum
Piazza Piloni, 25
32100 Belluno (BL)
Piero Rossi Cultural Centre
32100 Belluno (BL)
The Stone in the Pond” Visitor Centre
Piazza I Novembre
32034 Pedavena (BL)
Information point Pian d’Avena
loc. of Pian d’Avena
32034 Pedavena (BL)
Croce d’Aune Information Point
32030 Sovramonte (BL)
Environmental Education Centre La Santina
Loc. La Santina – Val Canzoi
32030 Cesiomaggiore (BL
Al Frassen House
Locality Al Frassen – Val Canzoi
32030 Cesiomaggiore (BL)
Ethnographic Museum of the Province of Belluno and of the Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park
Via Serravella, 1
32030 Cesiomaggiore (BL)
Campanula morettiana Botanical Garden
Locality Val Brenton
32037 Sospirolo (BL)
Refreshment Area, Camper and Information Point Pian Falcina
Loc. Valle del Mis
32037 Sospirolo (BL)
How to get to Bellunesi Dolomites National Park
Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park is in Veneto, in the southern part of the province of Belluno, less than 100 km from Venice. The main cities to enter the Park are Belluno and Feltre.
- Belluno can be reached from Mestre and Venice, first by highway A27 (exit Pian di Vedòia) and then with a short stretch, first on SS road 51 until Ponte nelle Alpi, and then on SS road 50. If you come from Padua, it is advisable to go ahead along the A4 Milan-Venice highway up to the toll booth of Mestre, and from here take the A27 highway to reach Belluno.
- Feltre can be reached from Vicenza by taking the A31 highway of Val d’Astico (exit Dueville), then SS road 47 of Val Sugana almost until Primolano, and finally a stretch on SS road 50 bis, then 50. From the north, the main roads leading to Feltre are: SS road 47 (Val Sugana superhighway) up to Primolano, if you come from Trento, or SS road 50 if you come from Passo Rolle; if you come from Cortina d’Ampezzo and from the Austrian border, you can reach Belluno via SS road 51 of Alemagna.
- If you come from Friuli Venezia Giulia (Gorizia, Trieste, or from the Slovene border), it is advisable to take the A4 highway and then, before Mestre, the A27 highway in the direction of Belluno; if you come from Udine and Pordenone you can follow SS road 13 up to Vittorio Veneto, and then SS road 51 to Ponte nelle Alpi; from here, a short stretch of SS road 50 until you reach Belluno.
The Park area is crossed by two main roads: SP road no. 2 of Valle del Mis and SS road Agordina no. 203 along the lower Val Cordévole. They run in parallel, separated by the group of Monti del Sole, and connect the middle Val Belluna with the Agordino area. Except for SS road Agordina no. 203, going along the Cordevole valley, and the roads of Val Canzoi and Valle del Mis, there are no other roads to enter the Park. Vehicles are strictly forbidden on forest roads and trails.
Feltre and Belluno are served by Padua-Montebelluna-Feltre-Belluno-Calalzo railway line, provided also with bike transport service (Padua-Feltre: 83 km in about 1 hour and a half; Feltre-Belluno: 31 km in 30 minutes).
Direct trains from Venice to Belluno travel along the Venice-Treviso-Conegliano-Ponte nelle Alpi-Belluno railway line (160 km in about 2 hours).
In the entire area of Belluno, even in the 15 Municipalities of the Park there is Dolomitibus for the extra-urban and for the urban services to Feltre and Belluno. To reach Belluno by bus it is also possible to use the Flixbus extra-urban services.
Itineraries at Bellunesi Dolomites National Park
There are hundreds of hiking paths, forest roads, mule tracks and via ferratas available to those who come to visit the Park. There is something for every taste and level of training: from the paths within everyone’s reach to the routes for expert climbers. Many are, in fact, ring circuits dedicated not so much to expert hikers as to visitors who are curious to discover the animal and plant life of the territory at close hand. One of the most popular, just 4 km in length, is the path of the Val Falcina which crosses with the course of the Mis river. Precise signage, along the various trails within the Park, offers information about its geology, botany and fauna that makes every walk an educational opportunity. Of course, there are paths dedicated to cycling fans, passing through countryside and rock walls, such as the San Martino Valley trail. There are also trails for those who choose to move on horseback, starting from Prati di Salet, a short flat itinerary that starts from the village of San Gottardo and takes you to the horse breeding center of the State Forestry Corps.
Sports area in Bellunesi Dolomites National Park
Lands at various altitudes, the many streams and simply incomparable views: these are just some of the characteristics of the Park that attract paragliding enthusiasts. It is no coincidence that the Dolomiti Fly project was started here. It aims to coordinate all the entities offering flight experiences (from hang-gliding to paragliding) in order to formulate tailor-made offers for visitors, including accommodation and catering. Although we are in a mountain park, swimming is one of the most popular sports in the Belluno Dolomites: the swimming pools of these parts (in Pedavena and Santa Giustina)are used for the retreats of prestigious swimming teams and other water sports, such as water polo and triathlon. When the park begins to turn white, the snow also brings experiences for winter sports enthusiasts. There are several ski resorts (where you can also go skating, snowboarding, ski mountaineering and more) in the Park and in its immediate vicinity.
Experiences at Bellunesi Dolomites National Park
In collaboration with the Italian Association of People with Down’s Syndrome, the Park offers guided excursions and environmental interpretation workshops in areas accessible to people with disabilities: the activities are developed specifically for disabled people (according to the different disabilities) and for people with Down’s syndrome, but they are available to everyone so that they can get closer to the everyday experiences of people with disabilities. In the 15 municipalities of the Park there are also many museums dedicated to the local history, art and culture. These are very different to each other in terms of size, organization and value when it comes to the collections on display. They have the merit of showcasing the peculiar and, in many cases little-known aspects of the many faces of the Park. In the Belluno Dolomites you will also find the botanical gardens, an environmental education centre, and a nature museum. Open to both tourists and residents, these are all places with a vocation for hosting cultural debate and the exchanging of ideas. Open to both tourists and residents, these are all places with a vocation for hosting cultural debate and the exchanging of ideas. The Ethnographic Museum of the Park is in Belluno; it hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions linked to human life in the mountains, with installations that also use multimedia supports, while Val Canzoi is home to the “La Santina” Environmental Education Centre.
Attractions at Bellunesi Dolomites National Park
There are several things to see in the Park: alpine villages and historical centres, churches and fortifications from the Middle Ages guarantee several visiting opportunities, also for lovers of history and architecture. The typical constructions you can find in the Park also include the “Casere a gradoni”, isolated barns with stepped fronts (called “scalinèle” by the locals), a rare building type of ancient origins, now of great historical and environmental value. The charming Casera a Orza in Sovramonte is located in a grassy clearing on a slight slope, inside the “wooded area” at an altitude of 1100 metres. Finally the Charterhouse of Vedana in the municipality of Sospirolo: in a dominant position overlooking the “masiere” of the same name is a complex on which works commenced in the late 15th century. The location, with absolutely stunning landscapes, reflects the need for solitude required by the Carthusian Order, which commissioned its construction. The architectural structure reflects the particularities of social aggregation and the environments that characterize the Carthusian monasteries, built to allow the monks who lived here in total isolation to comply with the strict rules.
Fine food and wine at Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park
The main local economic activity is linked to breeding in the wild and semi-wild of cattlebut also of sheep and goats. This is why most of the Park’s flavours are expressed in the form of cheeses, meats and cold cuts. In order to preserve some of its traditional environments and crafts, the Park Authority has invested considerable sums in the renovation of 5 shepherd’s huts or malghe, relaunching the production of the local mountain pasture cheese. There arealso numerous local producers of mountain honey, rare cultivations (such as the well-known Lamon bean), forgotten varieties of apples, and the walnuts and chestnuts of Feltre, which are renowned for their sweetness and floury consistency, which remains compact when cooked.
Hospitality at Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park
Small houses immersed in green surroundings: this is, above all, the form of hospitality offered in the Park. Getting up in the morning surrounded by the calmness of the mountains, with the thousands of different colours that only wild nature can offer in every season. But to cater for the most diverse array of expectations, the area also offers stays in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and hostels. Within the Park there are also 6 Italian Alpine Club refuges at the disposal of hikers. Several unattended bivouacs, run by the CAI or local hiking associations, complete the offering. The Visitor Centres and Park Offices provide detailed information on the opening times of the bivouacs and how to access and use them.
Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park Services
The Park has three Visitor Centres, designed both for tourists and residents, and located in three different areas of the Park: in Pedavena in the Feltre area, in Belluno, and in the mining site of Valle Imperina in the Agordino area. To best meet the different needs of each traveller, each of the Centres is specialized on a different aspect of its heritage. The visitor center of Pedavena is specialized in the interior journey, looking at the ethical motivations of nature conservation; the Valle Imperina Centre focuses on the miners, the chair makers and the legendary wild man; finally, the Belluno Centre provides a more general overview of the Park.