Published on: 16 March 2014 | Last updated: 7 February 2018
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.
At a glance
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.
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.
Mainly surfaced roads and cycleways. There is a short unsurfaced section which you can avoid.
This section is only partially signed.
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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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.
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.
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.
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
Places to stay
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.
So far as I know, there are no hostels on the route - although there is one in Trento.
There are lots of campsites around the Lago di Caldonazzo and the nearby Lago di Levico.
Transport and services
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
- pdf map/leaflet (from the downloads section of the visitvalsugana.it website (visitvalsugana.it: downloads- maps
- for more information about cycling in the wider area there's dolomitilagoraibike.it
- tr3ntino.it: mountain biking and cycling (it/en/de) is a very good independent site which also has a useful cycling section
Articles in this series
- The Via Claudia in Germany and Austria: Overview
- Via Claudia Part 1: Donauwörth to Landsberg Am Lech
- Via Claudia Part 2: Landsberg am Lech to Füssen
- Via Claudia Part 3: Füssen to Imst
- Via Claudia Part 4: Along the valley of the Inn
- The Via Claudia in Italy: Overview
- Via Claudia Part 5: The Vinschgau
- Via Claudia Part 6: Algund to Trento
- Via Claudia Part 7: Trento to the Lago di Caldonazzo
- Via Claudia 8: San Cristoforo al Lago to Feltre via the Valsugana
- Via Claudia Part 9: the Valsugana cycleway to Bassano del Grappa
- Via Claudia Part 10: San Cristoforo al Lago to Feltre via the Passo Croce d’Aune
- Via Claudia Part 11: Feltre to Treviso
- Via Claudia Part 12: Treviso to Altino (and Venezia)
- Via Claudia Part 13: Trento to Verona and Ostiglia