Nature Park Monte Corno/Trudner Horn (South Tyrol): Where Dolomite and Porphyric Rocks Meet.

Nature Park Monte Corno/Trudner Horn in More Detail

Visible and Hidden Time

Having been founded in 1980 and expanded two decades later, Nature Park Monte Corno - Trudner Horn now covers a surface area of 6,851 hectares that are part of the towns of Anterivo/Altrei, Montagna/Montan, Egna/Neumarkt, Salorno/Salurn and Trodena/Truden. The park is located to the south of the provincial capital of Bolzano/Bozen, on the orographically left side of the Adige/Etsch river. It is delimited by the end of the Val di Fiemme/Fleimstal in the north, the Cembra valley in the southeast (both already in Trentino) and by the Adige/Etsch valley from Egna/Neumarkt – until the boundary with Salorno/Salurn – in the west. The species diversity of both fauna and flora in the park is quite remarkable, especially when compared with other South Tyrolean Nature Parks – by virtue of the fact that the park’s sub-Mediterranean climatic zone is far milder than the harsher conditions that prevail in the northeast of the province and in the Dolomites region.

Fauna and Flora

The distribution of animal and plant species depends on factors such as altitude, climate, water, soil, solar radiation and air humidity. The plant communities in Nature Park Monte Corno - Trudner Horn offer a vast diversity, which ranges from sub-alpine spruce woods to sub-Mediterranean coppice woods, the latter needing much higher temperatures. The calcareous soils exhibit steppe-like grasses, coppice, Scots’ pine woods and mixed forests. The high porphyry plains with their abundance of water are covered with lavish coniferous woods interspersed with damp meadows and moors.

In Nature Park Monte Corno - Trudner Horn, coppice with Hop hornbeam (Ostrya carpinifolia), Downy oak (Quercus pubescens) and Manna ash (Fraxinus ornus) reaches its northern climatic limits. Though at first sight this coppice may seem a rather monotonous landscape, it nonetheless hosts a great diversity of species all year round. In late winter the yellow blossoms of Cornel trees (Cornus mas), which bear red fruit in summer, appear on the bare branches. At the end of April, the white umbels of Mahaleb cherry (Prunus mahaleb) can also be seen.

As for the fauna, one of the most exquisite creatures of the sub-Mediterranean zone is the Green Lizard (Lacerta viridis). On hot days the strident chirping of the cicada can also be heard, while the Praying Mantis (Mantis religiosa) lurks in the bushes.

Scots’ pine (Pinus sylvestris), which need abundant light, predominate in barren places. As pioneer plants, they are better adapted to such areas than the more demanding species of trees. Under their light canopy, Heather (Erica carnea), Dwarf sedge (Carex humilis), Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and Common Bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) can also be seen. These pine woods are the perfect habitat for various species of birds and small animals. In the rocky areas, Wood mouse (Apodemus flavicollis) and Badger (Meles meles) find ideal conditions to build their dens. In the dry woods with Scots’ pine a special type of the European red wood ant is found. Also typical for these areas is the pine Processionary Moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa), with its conspicuous white nests crowning the treetops of Scots’ pine.

The northern and western slopes of Prato del Re/Königswiese and Cislon host magnificent woods of Beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Fir (Picea abies). In relatively humid valleys and basins, Beech grows far into the sub-Mediterranean climatic band and co-exists with Yew (Taxus baccata), Small-leaved linden (Tilia platyphyllos), Hop hornbeam and Maple (Acer sp.). Cloven-hoofed game favour these forests; there are also numerous species of birds – amongst them Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea), Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) and Eurasian Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo) – that either build their nests in these mixed forests or nest in tree holes.

At an altitude of around 1,000 m, spruce and fir forests – interspersed with larch, Mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia) and Alpine Clematis (Clematis alpina) – supplant the beech forests. The park also features grasslands with isolated larch specimens on the large porphyry plateau between Trodena/Truden and Anterivo/Altrei. These grasslands are often covered with flowers such as Snowbell (Soldanella sp.), Crocus (Crocus sp.), Orange- (Lilium bulbiferum) and Martagon Lily (Lilium martagon). The living conditions for animals in these forests are about the same as in the Scots’ pine forests; observed here are mammals and birds that like building their dens and breeding places in the cracked bark or in the holes of old trees, or again in piles of stones and twigs. As for the insects, some specialists such as Larch Bud Moth and Western Larch Case-bearer (Coleophora laricella) also live in these areas.

A sub-Alpine spruce forest, interspersed with scattered Cembra pine (Pinus cembra), covers the rugged terrain around Monte Corno/Hornspitz (1,817 m) and the Lago Bianco/Weißsee. It is only at this extreme altitude that Common Raven (Corvus corax) and Mountain Hare (Lepus timidus) are found. The bogs at Lago Bianco/Weissensee, Gampen/Schwarzsee and Palù Lunga/Langes Moos are jewels of nature. While Birch (Betula sp.) and pines only find a meager existence in these areas, Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) and Butterwort (Pinguicula sp.) – both carnivorous plants – are able to supplement their diet with insects.

The Human Factor

Key trade routes have passed through the southern portion of South Tyrol for thousands of years. San Floriano/St. Florian near Laghetti/Laag – and in particular the road hospice Klösterle, which was founded in the 11th or 12th century – were key facilities for travelers making their way between Central and Southern Europe. Albrecht Dürer is also said to have stayed there before continuing on his way to Venice via the Sauch saddle, and then on to Cembra and the earth pyramids of Segonzano. This constituted an alternative route when the Adige/Etsch river flooded the valley, as it so often did. A secondary stretch of the former trade route also led from the Val di Fiemme/Etsch via the Trodena/Truden saddle to the Adige/Etsch valley. Transport of goods on pack animals was so widespread in the 14th century that Trodena/Truden had no fewer than five notaries, as a court trial from 1345 attests. This trade route became less important when, in the early 20th century, a passenger and freight railroad line known as the Val di Fiemme/Fleimstal train was built between Ora/Auer and Montagna/Montan. The line was built by 3,900 civilian workers, 600 soldiers and 1,500 POWs, most of them Russian. Despite its profitability, the Val di Fiemme/Fleimstal train went out of business in January 1963, and passenger service was provided by buses instead.

The communities of Anterivo/Altrei, Trodena nel Parco Naturale/Truden im Naturpark and Salorno/Salurn are located right on the German-Italian language border. In the valley, the Adige/Etsch river flood plains once formed a natural boundary between the German and Italian language area. The Haderburg fortress, which is perched high on a rocky spur and is the landmark of the town of Salorno/Salurn, was of key strategic importance. Around 1,000 meters above the Adige/Etsch valley floor, in Trodena nel Parco Naturale/Truden im Naturpark and in Anterivo/Altrei, the settlement structure and man-made landscapes reflect an affinity with the former Roman settlements of the Val di Fiemme/Fleimstal and Cembra valley. Time seems to have stood still in these Romanesque towns.

The fact that Roman “land tenure” used to be the law of the land here (as opposed to the Germanic maso chiuso”, so typical of the rest of South Tyrol) is reflected by the area’s myriad minute parcels of land and the presence of countless part-time farms. These unusual social and economic arrangements have favoured the fact that nature here is on the rise again. Many mountain pastures have been abandoned; hay barns are starting to crumble; hardy grasses are becoming ever more widespread, and White Birch (Betula), Alder (Alnus sp.), Hazel (Corylus avellana), Larch and Fir have begun to take over, having been displaced centuries ago by Spruce and Fir forests. Efforts are now being made to reclaim some of these unused areas through various measures and funding programs, with the goal of preserving the biodiversity of Monte Corno/Trudner Horn Nature Park, and promoting the development of habitats in which flora and fauna can thrive.

The Nature Park House Monte Corno/Trudner Horn

Since June 2000 the Visitor Information Center for the Nature Park Monte Corno - Trudner Horn has been housed in the center of the village, in the old mill building. Visitors of all ages can discover the park “in miniature” here. Among the exhibits are tiny little flower pollen grains that are magnified thousands of times, and the various lichens and species of scorpions that are found in the Nature Park can also be seen. In a tree-bark hut, visitors can listen to the stories of charcoal makers and learn about rare occupations such as peat cutting and larch root resin extraction. Particularly popular with kids are the living ant colonies, the calls of nocturnal birds of prey, the adventure workshops and the special afternoons for children. Movies and sound recordings concerning the Nature Park Monte Corno - Trudner Horn and other topics can also be enjoyed in a separate room.

The centerpiece of the Visitors’ Center is a working electric elevator flour mill that is more than three stories high and is the only apparatus of its kind in South Tyrol. The mill produces flour during the grain milling days that are held in the summer months, and this flour is then used to bake bread in a traditional wood oven that is located right near the Visitors’ Center. And of course visitors are welcome to sample slices of the bread, which is made the truly old fashioned way. The grounds of the Visitors’ Center contain the park’s characteristic porphyry and limestone vegetation, as well as herbs and crop plants. Frogs and other water-loving creatures – such as Water striders and Dragonflies – can be seen in the amphibian pond. In addition to these events and permanent displays, the Nature Park House also holds special exhibitions on the subject of nature and culture in Nature Park Monte Corno - Trudner Horn – hence the facility is always an interesting, instructive and enjoyable place to visit.

The Trodena/Truden Legend Trail

Trodena/Truden is a village that has such a long and rich tradition of legends that local teachers decided to set up a dedicated trail in the area known as “Forchwaldegg”. The teachers and pupils at Trodena/Truden’s Leonhard von Liebener elementary school committed the legends to paper, made artworks related to them, and elaborated the trail with lots of skill and imagination.

The legend trail is around two kilometers long; it is not a demanding walk, and is particularly suitable for families with children. The trail was a joint project of Leonhard von Liebener elementary school and of the Provincial Office for Nature Parks, as well as the province’s Forestry Department.

The Anterivo/Altrei Legend Trail

Have you ever heard of the Wätscha Hex, Morèl-Weibelen or Carlin de Nantarù legends? Well, you can find out all about them at the eight stations of Anterivo/ Altrei’s legend trail – a good walk for young and old alike. The Anterivo/Altrei legend trail takes you on a round 2,5 kilometer walk from the area of “Lärchenheim” in Anterivo/Altrei to the “Ebnerrast” sports compound. The legend trail was realized cooperatively by pupils’ parents, local artisans, many volunteers, the village of Anterivo/Altrei, the local Forestry Authority and the Provincial Office for Nature Parks. Anterivo/Altrei elementary school looks forward to your visit!

Sandegg Kneipp Recreational Space in Anterivo/Altrei

Since the summer of 2010, the idyllic mountain hamlet of Anterivo/Altrei has been enabling visitors to benefit from the healing powers of Kneipp hydrotherapy, which was invented by a priest named Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897), who was a native of Stephansried, Germany.

Father Kneipp developed a therapeutic concept that is based on the interplay between the five pillars of inner balance, water, herbs, movement and nutrition.

The Kneipp hydrotherapy center in Anterivo/Altrei is only ten minutes’ away from the center of the village. To get there, take the street that leads to the locality of Padil. Just past the Hotel Waldheim, you’ll see the facility on the Sandegg hill on trail no. 3, which leads towards Monte Corno/Hornspitz (1,817 m) itself.

The center is in an extremely tranquil location, set in the landscape under massive larch trees. A traditional rustic picket fence makes the center feel like an oasis for rest and relaxation – a place of healing for body and soul alike through the wonders of water, and a viable alternative to mainstream therapies.

The key to the Kneipp health program is the self awareness that allows the various application domains and durations to be tailored to the physical response of each individual person.

Suggested Routes for Virtual Nature Hikes and Hiking Routes

If you’d like to visit the best lookout points in Nature Park Monte Corno - Trudner Horn from the comfort of your own home, then you’ll definitely want to consider taking one of our virtual hikes through the unique natural and man-made landscapes offered by the park.

Needless to say, though, the best way to discover the Nature Parks of South Tyrol is by experiencing the real thing first hand!

Route 1

Salorno/Salurn (221 m) Maso Solomon/Salomonhof (672 m) Rifugio Sauch/Raststätte (913 m) – Salorno/Salurn (221 m).

This hike is particularly pleasant in late spring, when the beech trees are full of fresh leaves and the Lily of the Valley is flowering. From the main square in Salorno/Salurn by the town hall (221 m), trail no. 409B leads you to the impressive waterfall immediately above the village. After crossing a wooden bridge, follow the steep trail that leads through the characteristic coppice to the vehicle thoroughfare. After passing Maso Solomon/Salomonhof (672 m) and crossing through beech woods, you will enter (the) Steinhäusertal valley. You will then come to Rifugio Sauch/Sauch refuge (913 m), which is located right under the saddle. The way back (marker no. 1) leads you along the Trodena/Truden line – the geological fault line between the Dolomite and porphyry rocks. When you reach the first cultivated fields (by Maso Valfonda/Tiefentaler Hof), turn on to the trail on your left, which will take you through orchards and vineyards on the road to Pochi/Buchholz. Stay on this road for a short distance until you reach a chapel, and from there follow trail no. 1. The paved Via Crucis will lead you back to the village through the coppice wood.

Route 2

Passo di San Lugano/Sattel von San Lugano (1,097 m) – Prati alberati di Trodena/Trudner Bergwiesen Peraschupf (1,428 m) – Palù Longa/Langes Moos (1,448 m) – Malghette/Krabesalm (1,539 m) – Passo Cisa/Zissattel (1,452 m) – Malga Monte Corno/Hornalm (1,707 m) – Lago Bianco/Weißensee (1,680 m) – Sella Cauria/Gfrillner Sattel (1,408 m) – Maso Gstoager/Gstoagerhof (889 m) – Mazzon (365 m) – Egna/Neumarkt (257 m).

This loop tour, which can be realized in part via public transport, takes hikers with sufficient stamina through all the main landscapes, vegetation communities and climatic zones that are characteristic of the Nature Park Monte Corno - Trudner Horn. From the center of Egna/Neumarkt, you can take an early morning bus to Cavalese/Predazzo and get off at the saddle of San Lugano (1,097 m). From there, a serpentine trail (marker no. 4) winds up the steep western slope to the Trodena/Truden meadow plains. An easy trail beginning at Peraschupf (1,428 m; turn left on marker no. 5) then takes you to Palù Longa/Langes Moos (1,448 m). You then ascend to Malghette/Krabesalm (1,540 m) via a forest road (marker no. 9). Continue on trail no. 9 across the Malghette/Krabesalm pastures until you reach the Passo Cisa/Zissattel pass (1,452 m).

In case of inclement weather, the village of Trodena/Truden can be reached from the Passo Cisa/Zissattel by following the forest road to the right (marker no. 3 – E5). Then follow the European long distance hiking trail Lake Constance-Adriatic Sea (marker E5, precisely) up to Malga Monte Corno/Hornalm (1,750 m). Continue on trail E5 – no. 3 until you reach the Lago Bianco/Weißensee lake (1,680 m; be mindful to turn left at the fork). Cross the flat saddle on the western side of the moor and descend on to trail no. 3, which leads through spruce and fir forests to the Sella Cauria/Gfrillner saddle (1,408 m), behind Prato del Re/Königswiese. You then walk down a steep trail (markers no. 3-4, then no. 3) until you reach the road to the Maso Gstoager/Gstoagerhof (889 m). The old pack animal trail “Klapf” will then lead you across precipitous Dolomite rocks to Mazzon. You will then pass the ruins of Caldiff castle on your way back to Egna/Neumarkt (always follow marker no. 3).

Route 3

Anterivo/Altrei (1,216 m) – Palù Longa/Langes Moos (1,448 m) – Malghette/Krabesalm (1,539 m) – Passo Cisa/Zissattel (1,452 m) – Anterivo/Altrei (1,216 m).

From the center of Anterivo/Altrei a lovely old paved trail (marker no. 5) leads through meadows, pastures and woods to Palù Longa/Langes Moos (1,448 m). You then proceed to Malghette/Krabesalm (1,539 m, open to the public during the summer) via a forest road (marker no. 9). From there, take path no. 6; then, an almost level trail that starts at the forest road (marker no. 4) will lead you through Alpine pastures carpeted with flowers and tree-covered slopes with extensive stands of isolated, monumental larches. The trail will then take you past boggy hollows and dome-shaped rocks across the Gampen heights to the Passo Cisa/Zissattel pass (1,452 m). From there, turn left, and it’s an easy walk back via the forest road, all the way to Anterivo/Altrei, on path marked no.3.

Route 4

Trodena/Truden (1,161 m) – Hohe Wand (1,400 m) – Malga Cislon/Cisloneralm (1,333 m) – Trodena/Truden (1,110 m).

From the parking lot (1,161 m) at the northern edge of Trodena/Truden, the Praglasir forest road (marker no. 2) forks off the National road and leads in a northwesterly direction through meadows and mixed larch woods. When you reach the point where the trail bends to the left, continue going straight and follow marker no. 2A, which will take you to Hohe Wand (1,400 m). Here you will find yourself in an Alpine setting par excellence, where Alpenrose, Dwarf Pine (Pinus mugo), Mountain Avens, several species of Saxifrage and Alpine Clematis cover the rocks and slopes of the shady northern face of Cislon.

The breathtaking panorama includes the Lagorai mountains, the Corno Nero/Schwarzhorn (2,439 m), Corno Bianco/Weißhorn (2,316 m), the Zillertal Alps, the distant Tessa/Texel mountain group and the Adige/Etschtal valley. After crossing a rock – which is very safe – you will reach mixed fir woods. Above the forest road (bear left on path marked no. 2) you will gain the open pastures of the Malga Cislon/Cisloneralm (1,333 m, open to the public during summer). From there you can see the dark fir woods on the northern slopes of Monte Corno/Schwarzhorn (2,439 m) and Prato del Re/Königswiese, as well as the rocky peaks of the faraway Brenta Dolomites, which tower over the Mendola/Mendel mountain range. You then return to Trodena/Truden via a section of the trail that takes you through Scots’ pine, as well as Beech and coppiced woods (marker no. 1).

Return from Nature Park Monte Corno to South Tyrol

Return from Nature Park Monte Corno to Italy-Tours-in-Nature

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