Having already climbed Gavia and Tonale before lunch, I was looking forward to the predictable descent that would eventually guide me towards Trento. Only 190 metres above sea level, the lively and prosperous city lies in the wide glacial Adige valley, and at the foothills of the Dolomites. From there, once I found the right road, it would be an ‘easy’ 22 kilometres to our two-night accommodation at Levico Terme.
Following the east-west aligned valley of the River Noce, along the very navigable SS42, the next 45 kilometres passed by quickly. Located in the heart of the beautiful Val di Non, and some 40 kilometres from Trento, is the village of Cles, which straddles Lake Santa Giustina, the largest artificial lake in the region. Dominating the landscape over its eight kilometres of length, its construction began during World War II and was almost 10 years in the making. Apart from its beauty and its popularity amongst canoeing-enthusiasts, it is used to collect water from the River Noce catchment area to make electricity.
Now travelling due south on the SS43 I began spotting signs to Brenner Pass, which even since Roman times, has been one of the most important north-south connections in Europe. Beginning its journey in Innsbruck and travelling along the E45 motorway to Verona, its relatively low altitude across the Austrian and Italian border (less than 1,400 metres), ensures that it is open all year round.
The Brenner motorway, or for want of a better name, Autostrade, might be a godsend for cars but it’s no place for bicycles. With less than 40 kilometres to travel, one could realistically assume that in little more than two hours I’d be sipping on a local red wine with Roz while perusing the evening menu. For a number of reasons, bicycle-prohibited roads and tunnels being the most obvious, I was lucky to be dining that evening at all.
|The Giro d' Italia visited Levico Terme earlier this year.|
Needless to say, they wouldn't have had to compete with traffic.