Valle di Primiero: the region and the localities
The Valle di Primiero – also known as Valle del Cismon after the name of the stream that crosses it, or simply Primiero – is located in the eastern part of Trentino, at the foot of the Pale di San Martino. This is one of the most famous parts of the Dolomites, with splendid peaks over 3,000-meter high.
One of the most iconic views of the Pale di San Martino is that of the Cimon della Pala (3,184 m). With its famous pointed silhouette that has
earned it the nickname "Matterhorn of the Dolomites", it can be seen clearly from the Travignolo Valley, or better still, from Baita Segantini in the
Passo Rolle area.
However, it is not only the majestic peaks of the Altopiano delle Pale that are to be admired from the Primiero: the Vette Feltrine to the south, and the Lagorai Chain to the west make this corner of Trentino a real treasure for mountain lovers.
Tourism in the Valle di Primiero began in the second half of the nineteenth century. This was when the first British travellers and climbers visited the area, only to be won over by the beauty of these places and by the marvellous colours that tinge the mountain tops at each sunset. Since then, climbers, hikers and lovers of nature and mountain scenery eagerly choose to spend their holidays in Primiero.
Appearing along the course of the Cismon stream are the hamlets of San Martino di Castrozza, Siror, Fiera de Primiero, Transacqua, Mezzano, Imèr and Monte Croce. Tonadico, another important settlement in Primiero, rises more to the East, along the banks of the Canali stream at the beginning of the homonymous valley. Further East, over the Passo Cereda, the municipality of Sagron-Mis is located close to the border with Veneto. The western edge of the Primiero is designated by the course of the Vanoi Stream and its valley, where the municipality of Canal San Bovo, with the hamlets of Prade and Caoria, can be found.
San Martino di Castrozza is a renowned tourist resort visited throughout the year, with a number of comfortable hotels and guesthouses. Here,
modern ski lifts allow easy access to the mountain peaks that encircle the village.
Tonadico fascinates tourists with its picturesque views that can be enjoyed by strolling along its "canisèle", the old town's alleyways, which wind between flourishing and lavishly frescoed facades.
Fiera di Primiero has a relatively recent history. It was founded in the fifteenth century as the area’s mining town and commercial centre. Then, after the closure of the mines it developed through tourism.
Transacqua is the largest town in the valley. The ideal place for those who love tranquillity, it commands an astounding view of the surrounding mountains.
Mezzano is a small town, ranked among the most beautiful villages in Italy, and characterised by picturesque and rural architecture.
The Valle del Vanoi, with Canal San Bovo as its main hamlet, is characterized by woods, streams, lakes and meadows, among which small villages are scattered. Here, you can spend relaxing holidays in its alpine scenery.
The entire Primiero Valley, including the Val Canali, the Valle del Vanoi, the Val Venegia, the Val Sorda and the Val Noana, form part of the Paneveggio-Pale di San Martino Nature Park, established by the Autonomous Province of Trento in 1967. This is a virtuous example of environmental sustainability, with 98% of the energy used coming from renewable sources, which is a record even for Trentino.
The various tourist attractions in the valley are located only a few kilometres apart from each other, and can be reached with the lowest environmental impact - such as by mountain-bike or public transport, including the efficient ski bus service that connects Primiero's villages with the Passo Rolle resort. At an altitude of 1,970 meters, and only 9 kilometres from San Martino di Castrozza, this mountain pass is not only a well-known skier’s paradise, but is home to an incomparable view of Cimon della Pala and Cima della Vezzana. Passo Rolle is also a great base for both winter and summer excursions in the Dolomites.
Therefore, the Valle di Primiero is an ideal destination all year round for mountain lovers and outdoor sports enthusiasts!
During the summer period the excursions on offer in the valley are designed to meet all needs. The network of trails, stretching out for hundreds of kilometres, offers many support points among its alpine huts and bivouacs. These make it possible to follow both excursions suited to families, and also the more difficult climbs reserved for mountaineers.
During the winter season the star of the Primiero mountains is, naturally, the snow. This is when hundreds of kilometres of alpine ski slopes, quiet tracks for Nordic skiing among completely whitened woods and pathways for snowshoe walks, guarantee days of unforgettable holiday. In the ski resort of Passo Rolle and San Martino di Castrozza there are about sixty kilometres of downhill runs. There are three snow parks here, and cross-country skiing lovers can also enjoy themselves in the nearby town of Prà delle Nasse, or even in Passo Cereda, situated between Tonadico and Sagron-Mis. This is where a seven kilometre ring trails through the snowy forests, and where the easier and less crowded slopes await those who are approaching this discipline for the first time.
With its numerous mountain huts, where you can breathe in the welcoming rural atmosphere, spending your holidays in Primiero also means rediscovering the traditions and flavours of the mountains, or tasting its traditional local delicacies. These include "lucanica cariota", made from sausage meat, the "carne fumada" or smoked meat of Siror, the Castrozza speck, and the delicious cheeses available here, such as "Nostrano di Primiero", "Tosela" or "botìro di Primiero". This is an alpine butter made following an ancient tradition by separating the milk from the cream. Its production having resumed in 2007, the "botìro di Primiero" is now a slow-food presidium.