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The Arouca statement (2011) defines Geotourism as follows:

“… a form of tourism that supports and promotes the identity of a territory, taking into account its geology, environment, culture, beauty, historical and artistic heritage and the well-being of its inhabitants. A key tool for conservation, contributing to the dissemination of the history of the Earth. It involves those who live on the territory and its visitors, promoting what is authentic and unique. This guarantees environmental integrity, social justice and sustainable economic development. ”

The Adamello Brenta Nature Park UNESCO Global Geopark, with the European and World Geopark Networks, promotes sustainable development at the local level by increasing geo-tourism and enhancing the area for its geological heritage.

Geotourism is a fundamental resource of the Park and Geopark sustainable economic policy. Several thematic itineraries are the emblem of the territory identity expressed in the perfect mix of nature, culture, men and traditions. Every year we propose geotourism activities and visits accompanied by the Park guides.

Here are some itineraries in Val Genova, the Brenta Dolomites, Vallesinella, Val di Fumo and Val di Tovel.

Val Genova Theme: One of the most spectacular valleys of the Adamello Brenta Nature Park UNESCO Global Geopark, also known as the “Versailles of Northern Italy” for the great abundance of water.

Geosites   Nardis waterfall (34), Val Genova (17), Lobbia glacier (3) and Adamello/Mandrone (4)

Geological landscapeThe valley was shaped by ice and water. It is full of spectacular waterfalls, such as the Nardis Waterfall and the Lares Waterfalls. They flow from the side valleys that remained suspended after the glacier retreat. The valley groove, 17 km long, carved in the hard tonalite, presents the typical elements of the glacial and periglacial morphology. Such as the U-shaped profile, the succession of steps and floors, the suspended valleys, the rocks, the moraines and other evidences linked to the evolution of glacier retreat. At the head of the valley, we are in front of the Lobbia glacier and Adamello/Mandrone glaciers, the largest glacial area in the Italian Alps.

Cultural landscapePresanella’s copious tears swell the Nardis waterfalls, according to the legend of the love between Vermiglio and the princess. They were petrified in the Cima Presanella and the Cercen Pass from the pain of their forced separation. Not only the legend about the origin of the peaks surrounding Val Genova, but also the ancient production of wood that the Sarca transported down the valley and the tonalite extraction, enrich the cultural heritage of this valley.

Tracks: Nature Tracks – Val Genova |waterfalls track; SAT tracks|0214 (Lares waterfall); Val di Nardis track.

Brenta Dolomites  Theme: Brenta Dolomites, UNESCO World Heritage Site, panoramic view from Grostè to the Tuckett and Sella Refuges

Geosites: Window of Vagliana Peak (36), Brenta Landslides (38), Cave of Castelletto di mezzo (23)

Geological Landscape: the karst plateau of Grostè is made up of limestones and dolomites, sedimentary rocks deposited between 250 and 60 million years ago. A natural balcony on the scenery of the high-altitude landscape: pinnacles and stratified towers, memory of the seabed that originated these rocks, surrounded by scree and debris, evidence of the modeling due to frost, thaw and gravity. For example, the Brenta Landslides, large accumulations of big limestone blocks detached in the post-glacial period following the tension release of the rocky walls. The deep action of the water that infiltrates is recognizable in the entrance cavity of the karst caves, such as the Cave of Castelletto di Mezzo.

Cultural landscape: The high peaks of the Dolomites were inaccessible and veiled with sacredness for the local inhabitants until mid 1800. They knew well this environment: mountains were important for pastures, hunting and wood cutting. This led European explorers to choose them as Alpine Guides. Today numerous mountain places and many refuges are called after those guides and explorers. For example, the Graffer, Tuckett and Sella Refuges . The fever of discovery hit many nobles in the second half of 1800, including the Emperors of Habsburg. Sissi and Franz were frequent visitors to the Brenta Dolomites. Near Grostè, there are still the Queen vegetable gardens. Here grow the flowers and herbs that the Queen picked, just next to the boulders with the Megalodon fossils, witnessing the marine origin of these mountains.

Tracks: SAT track | 0331 (up to Ref. Graffer); SAT track |0336 (Queen vegetable gardens and Vagliana Peak); SAT track| 0316; SAT track | Via Ferrata 0303, 0305B (to Tuckett-Sella, Castelletto di Mezzo and Brenta landslides).

Vallesinella and karst springs Thema: Vallesinella woods and springs return the karst infiltration water of the Brenta Dolomites

Geosites:  Springs of Vallesinella (30),  Vallesinella middle waterfalls (46)

Geological Landscape: The Springs of Vallesinella seasonally drain the water infiltrated into the subsoil and collected from the vast basin placed hundreds of meters further upstream. The waters flow into the gorge of the Sarca of Vallesinella torrent through the spectacular High, Middle and Lower Falls, whose streams flow directly from the fractures into the carbonate rocks.

Cultural Landscape: The valley is one of the most suggestive of the Geopark, due to the presence of the thick forest, the richness of water and the glimpses of the Brenta Dolomites among the tops of the fir trees. It has always been the gateway to the highest altitudes and therefore to some of the most popular refuges in the Brenta. Along the valley run the cableways that supply the refuges, typical structures of the lower altitudes of the Alpine valleys.

Tracks: Nature Tracks| Vallesinella, from lower to middle waterfalls; Nature Tracks | Vallesinella, Archduke trackNature Tracks | Vallesinella Upper waterfalls.

Val di Fumo Theme: One of the most striking examples of glacial valley erosion, carved in tonalite.

Geosites:  Val di Fumo (18)

Geological landscape: Tonalite is the rock that constitutes the Adamello batholite and takes its name from a local toponym. This area presents exclusively tonalite outcrops. This uniformity means that glacial erosion resulted in perfect and spectacular shapes. Such as the “U” transverse profile, the wide surfaces of smoothed and striped mottled rocks in the sliding direction of the glacier and the two splendidly exposed glacial shoulders..

Cultural landscape: the imposing dam of the valley for hydroelectric use recalls another ancient barrier along the valley whose remains are still visible. The valley was blocked with stones in order to accumulate the timber and energy. When the current got free, it transported the trunks downstream. The valley has always been important for pastures. Some say that the name of the valley came from the smoke rising from the fires set by the shepherds to create new pastures.

Tracks: SAT tracks | 0240; tracks with guides |Refuge Val di Fumo

Val di Tovel Theme: Foamy waters and Red Lake

Geosites:  Lake Tovel and the submerged forest (42), Calanchi of Tuenno (32).

Geological Landscape: the morphology of the Val di Tovel has been shaped by ice, landslides and water. The ice has deepened the valley so as to generate the basin in which today the lake lies. A forest with trees is submerged in its waters. Its surface has become more extensive following a landslide that has blocked its emissary, the Tresenga Torrent. This continues to engrave the valley giving it the typical V shape.

Cultural Landscape: Lake Tovel is a destination full of attractions, such as the water colors, the submerged forest and the memory of the Red Lake. Today the colors range from intense green to blue. But in the past, the numerous pastures on the slopes around the lake enriched its water with nutrients that made a particular seaweed (in summer) grow, whose pigments made the lake surface red.

In the recent past, the thick forests of the valley have been a remarkable resource for the construction of large infrastructures. The ruins of numerous and ingenious sawmills along the Tresenga stream tell us about it.

Tracks: Guided tracks | Lake tracks, Val di Tovel; Track of ancient sawmills.