Detailed directions about the route can be obtained from the altimetry (last figure of the gallery), from the captions of the individual photos and from the "Google Map" at the bottom right, which can be enlarged as desired. Double clicking on the photos you can view them at the highest resolution.
Description of the route
This section of bike route that follows the Valsugana Valley is certainly one of the most beautiful and spectacular bike paths, that follow rivers, to be found in Italy. The bike route is intended to connect Venice to Trento; but, from my description I will explain that the final segment which can be considered bike-friendly ends at Pergine Valsugana, not Trento; there is a proposal for a shared bicycle and pedestrian path that would connect to Trento but as of this writing [April 2008] it is still only a proposal.
The point of departure for this segment is the train station Primolano FS [FS refers to Ferrovia dello Stato. RB]; leaving the station turn right, heading south for a few hundred meters to the overpass across the freeway; at the end of the overpass one will find a large square; at the bottom of the square, on the right, a small downhill road marks the beginning of the bike route; note that this first section of bike route is open to motorized vehicles, although it has very little traffic.
The route alternates between sections reserved for bike use, only, and local streets with minimum traffic and with some climbs and descents. When you arrive in Borgo Valsugana you are taken directly to the center of the town(*), which is very characteristic of the region and well maintained. You will pass in front of a strange glass pyramid, next to the church, in the style of the Louvre courtyard (it is actually a sports facility).
After Borgo one continues along the river on a dedicated bike path; once you have gone past Levico Terme, one is directed to a small service road that runs between the vast apple orchards; the apples in Trentino are well known throughout Italy.
To get through the town of Caldonazzo one needs to ride a short distance on the busy provincial road all the way to Calceranica, where you take the right hand turn to get back on the bike route (which is well-signed); one passes under the railroad tracks and is led on to one of the most spectacular sections of this bike route; this new section, opened in 2008, runs between the train tracks and the lake, in part on a wooden boardwalk with views overlooking the lake and the mountains.
Towards the end one has to get back on a shared-traffic road, heading back towards the provincial road; a few meters after one has crossed the road turn left on a side street that leads to Pergine Valsugana, where the bicycle route ends, and where there is a train station.
As mentioned above, a bike path between Pergine and Trento has been planned for years, but as of April 26, 2008, the date of my last visit to this path, one can not see a trace of the path, not even a construction site. Its implementation does not seem imminent.
At Pergine a cyclist is therefore faced with a decision:
- Follow the provincial highway towards Civezzano and then Cognola and then finally to Trento; the road can be very busy, especially since just before Civezzano there is a steep uphill section, to be followed by an equally steep descent from 500 m to 200 m as one heads towards the center of Trento; the final descent occurs on city streets with increasing amounts of traffic and therefore requires extreme caution.
- If you do not want to deal with traffic problems and the steep grades, you can take the train to Trento from the Pergine FS station; trains run hourly and accommodate bicycles.
The trattoria Sale e Pepe, in the center of town, facing the river, is extremely bike-friendly and has some of the most memorable food I have run across in Italy. RB