Via Ferrata Giovanni Barbara
This is a very interesting and easy roundtrip, well equipped with cables wherever necessary. Acting as an excellent entry from Cortina to the splendid Valle di Fanes, the ferrata can be carried out in a gentle half day outing.
The walk takes you across an enchanting countryside as the forest green contrasts strikingly with the steep Taè south face and the grey Col Bechei limestone. This walk and ferrata is above all a trip along the gushing river Rio di Fanes and its splendid waterfalls. The section beneath the first fall is unique and not to be missed under any circumstances.
From Cortina take the SS 51 northwards, past Albergo Fiames, to the turn off left for Valle di Fanes. Drive alongside the river Boite and cross this about 3 km after the hotel. Reach the Pian de Loa carpark, where the road ends.
From the car park continue on foot along path no. 10 ? 401. The first section follows an old military road which has recently been tarmacked.
From Pian de Loa follow path no 10 - 401 through the forest and into Valle di Fanes. Ignore signs for Ponte Alto leading off left and continue up the gently sloping path, along the left-hand bank of Rio Fanes. After approx. one hour the path suddenly opens out onto the deep gorge, carved away by Rio de Fanes. After the obligatory stop to admire the view, zig-zag down to the stony riverbed. Walk upstream along the left bank, past step pools and sections equipped with cables and ladders. These lead to a narrowing that gives way to the spectacular section beneath the first waterfall. This is the highpoint of the walk and the din renders the water’s power and beauty all the more real.
After this exciting traverse beneath the waterfall the ferrata continues to the top of the gorge on the opposite side and some benches. Having rested here either return along the dirt track through Valle di Fanes to Pian de Loa, or descend once more to the riverbed, thereby completing the roundtrip of the ferrata. Take the obvious equipped path about 250 m below the benches that leads to the right-hand bank. Cross a small bridge and walk back up the path used to get into the gorge and return along this to the car park.
1) From the benches: continue along the dirt track through Valle di Fanes, past the iron Ponte Alto bridge that crosses the gorge and the gushing waters 80 m below, and return to Pian de Loa.
2) After having completed the roundtrip return to Pian de Loa and the car park along the path used earlier on in the day.
Normal via ferrata kit.
The short equipped sections are not particularly difficult. The entire outing can be carried out in half a day.
Via Ferratas of the Italian Dolomites: Vol 1 by John Smith and Graham Fletcher. Cicerone Press 2002