Via Claudia Augusta: Part 7 Trento to the Lago di Caldonazzo

Published on:  | Last updated: 29 April 2017

Verona or Venezia?

The Via Claudia divides here with one continuing beside the river towards Rovereto and on from there to Verona. If you've already decided to head for Verona then you can simply skip to part 13 of this series, The Via Claudia: Trento to Verona and Ostiglia.

The Lago di Caldonazzo and Lago di Levico. Picture by Matteo Ianeselli. Source: Wikimedia Commons

At a glance

Distance

24 kilometres

Difficulty/​Terrain

Moderately challenging. There's a 2.3-kilometre climb with an altitude gain of just under 200 metres. You can avoid this by taking the train or the Via Claudia shuttle.

Traffic

Mainly quiet roads, but note that the official route has a climb out of Trento on a narrow and fairly busy road. I have suggested an altern­ative route that uses cycleways to avoid this bit, but if in doubt take the train or shuttle.

Surface

Mainly surfaced roads and cycleways. There is a short unsur­faced section which you can avoid.

Signs

This section is only partially signed.

Vineyards near Trento

Vineyards in the hills above Trento

Overview

This section of the route climbs from to San Cristoforo al Lago on the Lago di Caldonazzo in the hills above the city. At San Cristoforo you pick up the Ciclabile della Valsugana, a top-quality cycleway that follows the Brenta river through the deep gorge of the Canale del Brenta. The only problem is that it starts at the Lago di Caldonazzo in the hills above Trento, and the climb to get there can be a little tricky. The Valsugana cycleway is one of the highlights of the Via Claudia so don't be put off.

Shuttle or train

On this section there is defin­itely a case for consid­ering treating yourself to a ride on the shuttle or the train.

There's a Via Claudia shuttle that runs twice a day from Trento station to Pergine Valsugana. In 2016 the departure times were 10:00 and 17:30 and the cost (bike and rider) was 12€.You can book places by sending a text message. For more inform­ation download the  Via Claudia Trento-Pergine shuttle pdf flyer. That link should still work when the 2017 flyer is available, but if not go to viaclaudia.org: shuttles.

There is also a train service with trains running at least once an hour (at five minutes past the hour)  Trento-Valsugana train timetable. In July and August there's a special bike carriage with 32 bike spaces, but for the rest of the year there are 6 bike spaces. You can reserve places by calling +39 0461 821 000 before 16:00 on the day before you plan to travel.

Map and altitude profile

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Cycling options

I've ridden this route a couple of times. The first time was in 2011 and I can still remember the climb out of Trento on a narrow, busy road. The drivers were absolutely fine, but it was still a bit stressful. So I was pleased to see that the route out of Trento had changed. The only problem is that, as I discovered, it still involves the same bit of road. And to make matters worse, having made the horrible little climb on the narrow road, you then go back down the other side of the hill. The route I describe here is an altern­ative that uses cycleways to take you out of the centre of Trento and joins the official route at Centochiavi. I've included maps and gps track for both options in the downloads. You could also turn off the route at Lavis in the previous section and head direct for Centochiavi, but it would be a pity to miss Trento.

Route description

The route starts on the riverside and follows the river to the Ponte San Giorgio where you turn right onto the Via Giovanni Pedrotti and then at the round­about you turn left onto the via Ezio Maccani. The cycleway is on the right-hand side of the road. It's surfaced with red asphalt so you can't really miss it. This cycleway (shown on Open Street Map maps with a number 2) continues to a big round­about where it turns right and then beside the main road (but protected from it by a barrier) to another round­about on the Via Brennero where you join the route 1. You follow this along the Via Pranzelores until you get to a small park and the cycleway turns right. Stay on the cycleway on the Via Gilli until it comes to an end, and then turn left at the next junction onto the Via Centochiavi. You are now back on the official route.

The route goes from here to Centochiavi and another park (the Parco di Melta) and opposite it the Bar Melta. The route turns right here. the turning (the Via Melta) is directly next to the bar. There's an initial very short sketchy, unsur­faced bit, that's marked as a private road. If you prefer to avoid this you can take the turning before the Via Melta (the Via Carneri). From here it's all fairly straight­forward although the lane climbs pretty steeply for the next couple of kilometres. The worst of the climb is behind you as the lane comes out onto another road where you turn right and head for Martignano and then Cognola.

Signs on the Via Claudia in the Trentino

Signs on the Via Claudia in the Trentino

Cognolo to Civezzano and San Cristoforo al Lago 

From Cognola the route heads for Civezzano. On the way it passes through the fortified complex (Forte Civezzano/​Tagliata Stradale Superiore di Civezzano/​Obere Strassenspere Civezzano). The complex is part of a system of forti­fic­a­tions built by the Austro-Hungarian empire in the nineteenth century to control its border with Italy.

A little further on from Civezzano itself you come out onto the SP83, and a little further on again there's a round­about. Just after the round­about on the left-hand side of the road there are Via Claudia signs pointing to a track. Ignore them (and ignore your guidebook if it is saying go that way). The climb on the track is a complete pain. Just stay on the road as it heads for Madrano.

The Via Claudia in the Biotopo Lago Pudro

The Via Claudia in the Biotopo Lago Pudro

At Madrano you leave the SP83 and take a country lane (the Via Valdigola) which heads through a nature reserve —the Biotopo Lago Pudro turns into an unsur­faced track. I enjoyed it (and I'll admit I've done a lot of whingeing about this section of the route so far), but if the words 'unsur­faced track' make you start to sweat then you can take the Via Tessara out of Madrano towards Vigalzano. From Vigalzano simply continue on into Pergine Valsugana and then to San Cristoforo al Lago and the start of the Valsugana cycleway.

Which way now?

Yep. Even more choices. The next three articles describe three different options:

  • Part 8: follows the Valsugana cycleway for 48 kilometres before turning off to head for Feltre
  • Part 9: follows the cycleway all the way to Bassano del Grappa
  • Part 10 follows the cycleway for 25 kilometres to Borgo Valsugana where it turns off and climbs to Pieve Tesino (although there is the option of a shuttle

If you know which option you want, you can use the links to skip ahead. If not please continue through the series. There's some repetition between the articles so if you start to get a feeling that you've read something before it's because you probably have. Sorry.

Map of options from the Lago di Caldonazzo

  Map:  VCA-Valsugana-option-show map in overlay    |    VCA-Valsugana-option-show map in new window 

More information

Places to stay

Hotels

Find and book places to stay with Booking.com

Booking.com pages for places on this section of the route:

 About these links

If you use these links to book accom­mod­ation Booking.com will pay me a small part of their commission. This helps support the costs of producing this site.

I use Booking.com to find and book places to stay when there are no campsites in the area. The large majority of hotels and many hostels are now on ‘Booking’. I like it because it means that I can get almost-instant confirm­ation. The rating system is also a reliable guide to the quality of the accommodation.

I’ve never had a problem finding places to keep my bike —even if it’s a cupboard or store room. I always use the ‘special requests’ field on the booking form to tell the hotel that I’m travelling with a bike, which gives them the oppor­tunity to let me know if there’s a problem.

Many properties offer free cancel­lation but it’s a good idea to check the condi­tions as these vary from property to property.

Hostels

So far as I know, there are no hostels on the route - although there is one in Trento. 

  Map:  FT-maps-VCA-hostels show map in overlay    |    FT-maps-VCA-hostels show map in new window 

Campsites

There are lots of campsites around the Lago di Caldonazzo and the nearby Lago di Levico.

  Map:  FT-maps-VCA-campsites-show campsites map in overlay    |    FT-maps-VCA-campsites show campsites map in new window 

Transport and services

Trains

The train line from Trento continues through the Brenta river gorge to Bassano del Grappa and beyond.

Bike shops

Resources

Resources

Tourist information websites:

  • visitvalsugana.it (it/​de/​en/​nl) is the tourist inform­ation website for the immediate area
  • visittrentino.it/ (it/​de/​en/​nl/​cz/​pl/​ru). Official tourist inform­ation site for the Trentino
  • tr3ntino.it/ (it/​en/​de) is a very good independent site which also has a useful cycling section

Cycling information

Lago di Caldonazzo

The Lago di Caldonazzo

Articles in this series

Get in touch

Please get in touch if you find any errors in the information, or if there’s anything, good or bad, that you’d want other cyclists to know.


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