Valle di Non

Spring in Val di Non
Spring in Val di Non – Photo www.visitvaldinon.com

In its wonderful position on the Bolzano-Merano axis, between the Mendola and Palade Passes, the Valle di Non offers the ideal scenery for a holiday, for interesting alpine excursions and walks through its woods and a chance to relax and recharge your batteries.

Every year about 300 million kilos of apples are picked in Trentino and most of the production comes from Valle di Non, the garden of the sweet smelling Golden Delicious and the Renette Canada, perhaps the best known and liked of this mythical fruit.

The people of this valley owe their fortune to apples and a thriving agriculture, although the tourist activity, run on family lines in 38 communes lying between 400 and 1200 meters a.s.l., has contributed considerably to improving the appearance of many villages.

The Val di Non varries from heavily treed, steep topography in the upper valley to the agriculturally rich apple orchards that characterize the lower valley. The valley itself has been inhabited by people since the fifth century B.C. and possesses a rich and varried cultural past.

Val di Non
Val di Non – Photo valdinontrentino.com

The Val di Non is now the most populated valley in Trentino province. Its 38,000 inhabitants live in 38 communities spread sparsely throughout the valley. The elevation ranges from 400 to 1,200 meters above sea level. Most of Trentino’s 300 million kilo apple production comes from the Val di Non. Varieties include the Golden Delicious and famous Renette Canada.

In addition to apples, the region also produces the “gropel” grape, famed for centuries in the making of local mountain wine. Other products include a variety of cheeses, including the “Grana Trentino.”

The Val di Non is a sub-alpine valley located in the extreme northern part of the Trentino province of Northern Italy. It is accessible by road from Bolzano to the Northeast, from Merano to the Northwest or from Trento to the Southeast. From Merano, the upper part of the valley is accessed via the Passo Palade, which can be picked-up from the town of Lana near Merano.

One proceeds up and over the Passo Palade and enters the highest section of the valley near the small village of Senale. Proceeding into the valley, the small villages of San Felice and Tret are encountered prior to arriving at the town of Fondo. At Fondo, the road forks. To the right, the road takes you down into the lower valley, passing the towns of Cloz and Brez and finally arriving at the town of Revo near Lago di San Guistina.

From Revo one can pass over the lake by bridge and on to the town of Cles, which connects to the main road back to Trento. If one stays left at Fondo, they will proceed down the upper valley past Cavareno and Romeno, finally arriving at Lago di San Guistina. Once you have reached the shores of the lake, you can bear left and take the main road to Trento, the capital of Trentino province.

From Bolzano, one drives over the winding Passo Mendola, arriving at either Fondo or Cavareno, depending on whether you bear to the right or left when you reach the small village of Belvedare. At Fondo, one may proceed to the left back down the upper valley past Cavareno, Romeno and, bearing left at Lago di San Guistina, on to Trento.

Old House in Val di Non
Old House in Val di Non – Photo © claudio raffaelli

What To Do

Because of its diverse topography, the Val di Non offers an endless variety of recreational opportunities. For those of you who love nature, these is a very well maintained network of hiking trails, each individually numbered. From these trails, one can traverse most of the upper valley by foot and enjoy all that the forested area has to offer: lakes, small streams, beautiful trees, majestic mountains and an abundance of sub-alpine wildlife.

There is good fishing available for those who are interested and don’t mind walking into the various small lakes and streams. Generally, a provincial non-resident fishing license is required. Day tags are also required on some of the streams. It is best to check with local sports shops in the larger cities for local regulations.

For those who seek information about their roots, the many churches and cemeteries can provide a wealth of information.

Valer Castle, situated along a Roman road, dates back to 1211 AD. Foto: AT, © Peer
Valer Castle, situated along a Roman road, dates back to 1211 AD. Foto: AT, © Peer

The valley’s many castles, which may be found from Castel Fondo to Cles, offer a rare look into the past culture and history of the Val di Non.

Don’t forget eating as an event. The food in the Val di Non is simply marvelous and unique to the region.

During the first two weeks of October, the valley’s best chefs offer a unique eating experience allowing guests to sample the region’s very best cooking in each of the valley’s participating restaurants.

While visiting the Val di Non, enjoy the people and their hospitality. Above all, enjoy your heritage.