We are at the foot of the Summit of Italy which, with its almost three thousand meters of altitude, marks the eastern border between Austria and Italy and dominates the Ahrntal. It is surrounded by about eighty other peaks always around the three thousand meters that make up the Ahrntal Valley one of the most famous and fascinating destinations in the Val Pusteria, in South Tyrol. Coveted for its landscape charm, a true kingdom of nature that is still very protected. Among its woods, paths, uncontaminated corners that make it a paradise for hikers, there are paths for mountain biking but also those that lend themselves to quiet walks in the valley or those that climb up the stretches in the high mountains. We are in the heart of the Zillertal Alps and in Vedrette di Ries-Aurina Natural Park. The extraordinary nature is the real protagonist of this valley.
Streams, lakes, waterfalls: the main element of the Ahrntal Valley is water
Starting from the town of Brunico, which represents the center of the Val Pusteria, a long cycle path, about 50 kilometers, winds through small villages and country roads, following the Aurino river to Caminata di Tures and then to Campo Tures, the main center of the valley. From CampoTures a continuous ups and downs lead to Lutago, Predoi and Casere. From here on, nature is truly sovereign, and the landscapes, the walks, the environments in which one finds oneself immersed are a rare spectacle. In the background the snow-capped peaks even in summer, walking on dirt roads often accompanied by the sound of the water of the stream.
Which, if you choose to go up to Riva di Tures, sometimes becomes almost a roar due to the considerable heights of the fall and the impetuous mass of water of the Riva torrent (downstream it enters the Aurino) that flows in the middle of the Woods. The Riva waterfalls they are a very popular destination in the summer and the right place to find some coolness. Because water is the main element of the Ahrntal Valley. Impetuous mountain streams, alpine lakes with crystal clear waters, sparkling waterfalls characterize and liven up a large part of its landscape.
The ancient copper mines of Predoi
The Aurina valley takes its name from its torrent, Aurino, which in turn is named after the copper mines that once characterized this valley. The visit at Predoi mines it represents a real journey into the heart of the mountain. As early as the 500th century, copper was mined here and mining continued for 1893 years, until XNUMX.
Today, thanks to a small train, it is possible to explore a tunnel up to a kilometer deep, then continuing on foot along an underground path. At 1100 meters inside the mountain there is also a Climatic Center designed especially for those with breathing difficulties. Two hours of rest "enveloped" by the particular microclimate of the ancient mines are in fact very favorable for those suffering from these pathologies. The Climatic Center of Predoi is unique in South Tyrol and in Italy.
The medieval Castle of Tures, one of the largest in South Tyrol
From the mines of Predoi to Tures Castle, among the most beautiful and largest medieval manors in the whole Tyrolean area. It was built around 1100 on a rock spike belonging to the hamlet of Acereto. It is one of the best known monuments in the whole of the Ahrntal Valley, one of the most important castles in South Tyrol.
From the Middle Ages to the future, in the Ahrntal Valley, in Casere di Predoi, it is also located the only hydrogen house in the world. Just a curiosity this house, at 1600 meters above sea level, which bases its energy on a stream that flows nearby. Natural, hydroelectric, renewable energy. And then the craft beer of Alto Adige and the Grigio cheese, typical of these parts and which in some small dairies is still produced exclusively by hand. They are local products that are placed side by side with another ancient knowledge of this valley linked to the medicine of medicinal herbs. A knowledge that is still very much alive. Green meadows, dense forests, rugged mountains, white glaciers: this is the Ahrntal valley, with its legends, endless walks and fabulous views.
Source of the photograph: IDM Südtirol-Alto Adige / Hansi Heckmair