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Cima Portule

Cima portule (foto: Roberto Costa Ebech)

Cima portule (foto: Roberto Costa Ebech)

He has been for a winter on the top of that mountain, where are still the remains of his shed, the excavations of the shelters, the basements of concrete with the iron bars for the cables. For many years in the late autumn I went up there to hunt ptarmigans.

But the day before yesterday I climbed up there again to bring a thought to my bookseller friend. The wind was blowing from the defiles carrying flakes of fog, and a pair of eagles were circling in hunt; the woods, down, faded away as far as the eye can see, the top from where Robert Musil watched my land emerge from the summer haze. The barracks where the Austrian soldiers had spent a winter had collapsed, the roof beams and the boards were becoming humus and among them pillows of bluebells and saxifrages.”

From “Amore di confine” (Border love), “Il vino della vita” (The wine of the life)

 

 

The context

The “malga” is named after the Mario Rigoni Stern’s most beloved mountain, Cima Portule. In this short story the author writes about the bookseller of a Trentine’s village who welcomed in his shop the young corporal of the Alpini, hunting for books. He bought here in the “mini” editions of the time, “The Divine Comedy,” the “Orlando Furioso” and “Il Bel Paese” (The beautiful country) by the geologist Antonio Stoppani, which he would bring in his backpack to Russia. Thirty years later, the already well-known writer saw arriving home an old book on the Plateau of Asiago, which had been sent precisely by the old bookseller, become a reader of his works without knowing that he was just the young soldier who frequented his bookstore.

 

The route

Leave the car at Malga Larici di Sotto (1,625 m), reachable going up the road of the Val Renzola, taken by leaving the main road of the Val d’Assa about a kilometre after the Osteria del Ghertele (see the itinerary to Malga al Dosso). The itinerary follows the Austrian military road “Erzherzog Eugen Strasse,” built in spring 1916 by the men of the Austrian 3rd Army Corps, for about three kilometres, with beautiful views over Val Renzola and Val d’Assa. The road is even practicable by bike, up to Bocchetta Portule.

To reach the peak instead, when the road turns decisively soutwards (altitude 1,788 m) take on foot the trail 826 to the left that steeply climbs to Porta Renzola (1,949 m), which offers a wonderful view over the Valsugana. From here, on the right, climb the ridge (beware of exposed stretches) up to reach the altitude 2,295 of Mount Kempel, and from here quickly heading south the peak (2,308 m) after less than three hours of walking. The view is impressive, and all around you can see the Plateau of Asiago, the Lagorai, the Dolomites; you can even still see interesting traces of the conflict, in particular the remains of three Austrian cableways.

Then the path continues along the ridge to the Cornetti of Bocchetta Portule (2,148 m), touches the Colombaretta (2,046 m), descends to a fountain and then to Bocchetta di Portule (1,937 m), where a tunnel housed a mighty Austrian position and a water tank. From here you can easily go through the mule road back to Malga Larici, after about six hours of walking.

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