Brenta Dolomites – Via delle Bocchette classic ferrata

Brenta Dolomites - Via delle Bocchette
Via Delle Bocchette – Iron Path in the Brenta Dolomites – Photo

Brenta Dolomites – Via Delle Bocchette: If you are a bit familiar with the mountain trails, and the “vie ferrate”, you should not miss the Via Delle Bocchette, an iron path that takes you in the heart of the Brenta Dolomites, with small effort compared to the scenery and drops in the mountainside you are on.

Do not underestimate the risks, go prepared, or hire a mountain guide, as the “via” is very exposed.

Together with the Via Delle Bocchette Alte the Via Delle Bocchette Centrali is rightly considered one of the most beautiful iron paths in the Brenta Dolomites. Crossing wild, exposed, but always well-equipped ledges, on clear days the view east extends from Lago di Molveno all the way to Civetta and the Marmolada, and west to Campanile Alto and the majestic Campanile Basso.

Brenta Dolomites - Via delle Bocchette
Brenta Dolomites – Via delle Bocchette – AdobeStock_329883349

Although an iron path in its own right, it is also the natural second-day progression of the Via Delle Bocchette Alte. After a night spent in one of the refuges, ideally Rifugio Alimonta, it guarantees an outing long to be remembered.

Brenta Dolomites – Via delle Bocchette: Getting there

From Madonna di Campiglio drive to Rifugio Vallesinella (1513m).


From Rifugio Vallesinella (1513m) take path no. 317 to Rifugio Casinei (1825m) and then continue on path no. 318 Sentiero dei Brentei in two hours to Rifugio dei Brentei (2182m). From here in one hour to Rifugio Alimonta (2580m).


From Rifugio Alimonta (2580m) begin easily up path no. 323 passed the Sfulmini glacier (care required on hard-packed snow in the morning) to the windy Bocca di Armi and the start of the Via Ferrata (30 mins). Reach the ledge after a few ladders and continue past cables onto the east face of Torre di Brenta. Exposed but finally sheltered from the wind, this is the true start of the long ledge traverse of the Bocchette Centrali.

Brenta Dolomites – Via delle Bocchette – AdobeStock_330324518

It soon leads to the most difficult section of the iron path, the exciting horseshoe-shaped ledge of the sentiero Figari. The sheer drop is staggering and the ledge is only 50cm wide at this point, but cables lead safely to beneath the Sfulmini, the impressive view onto Campanile Alto and the fantastic Campanile Basso.

The path now leads downwards along the east face, around Campanile Alto (excellent rest point with a view) to zigzag past wet boulders and across a small snow patch. Continue past this deep into the majestic world of the Brenta Dolomites to almost touching the mythical Campanile Basso, first climbed by the Austrians Ampferer and Berger in 1899.

The silence is interrupted only by shouts from climbers high above and the wind which now blows across the col. Climb up the short but sometimes slippery slope to this saddle, to then descend right onto the west face of the Cima Brenta Alta. Polished steps and ladders lead down to another ledge: follow this easily and enjoy the splendid view onto Cima Tosa and Crozzon di Brenta to reach the final ladders and the glacier below.

Brenta Dolomites – Via Delle Bocchette: Descent

Once on the glacier beneath the Bocca di Brenta return easily along Sentiero Dei Brentei (no. 318) to Rifugio Dei Brentei (2182m, 1 hour) and then on to Rifugio Vallesinella and the car park in a further 1.30 hours. Alternatively, climb up to Bocca di Brenta and descend to Rifugio Tommaso Pedrotti (2491m). This acts as a formidable base for another ferrate in the Brenta region, or as a well-deserved rest for those who chose to take the long path up from Molveno.

Bibliography and maps

Via Ferratas of the Italian Dolomites: Vol 1 by John Smith and Graham Fletcher Cicerone Press 2002

Other destinations in the Brenta Dolomites

Where to go and what to do after your adventure with the “via Ferrata”

Elemental adventures in Lake Garda and the Brenta Dolomites
The drive from Molveno in the Brenta Dolomites to Riva del Garda on the north shore of Lake Garda takes only an hour, but the change in scenery and vegetation on the way is dramatic. The 50km journey begins amidst conifer forests and stark limestone peaks, passing through alpine pastures and vineyards before finishing beside the waters of Lake Garda, where the balmy Mediterranean microclimate encourages the growth of olive, lemon and palm trees.

Where to stay in Madonna di Campiglio