Montasio Plateau and Hike to the Cima di Terrarossa (2,420 m)
Montasio cheese, alps, green mountain pastures, towering gray limestone walls with ibexes in the background, that is what I associate with mount Montasio (2,754 m) and its plateau. Situated in the Italian part of the Julian Alps, there is something for every age group or fitness type to find enjoyment in: its mountain pastures invite you to take a gentle walk, whereas the Montasio mountain range may challenge mountain hikers as well as climbers.
Approach from Tarvisio via Cave del Predil and Lake Lago del Predil to Sella Nevea. When the street makes a sharp bend to the right, turn to the right and follow the narrow street which leads you to the parking lot near the Pecol Alp. On a sunny day in fall it may happen that the parking lot is full; in that case, Italian improvisation will be required.
The Montasio plateau is located at an altitude of about 1,500 m. In late spring the mountain pastures are a most beautiful sea of flowers. In summer they fatten many cows, whose milk is used to produce Montasio cheese. Only the mountain cheese made in the Autonomous Region Friuli-Venezia Giulia can be offered and sold as Montasio, its name as protected as, for example, that of Parma ham or Parmesan cheese.
How convenient that there is a shop at the Pecol alp where you can buy fresh dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese. Montasio cheese is offered in three different degrees of maturity: It comes as fresco/fresh (2 months old), mezzano/medium aged (5 months old) or stagionato/aged (10 months and older). Without Montasio cheese a real Friulian 'Frico' (baked cheese) would be unthinkable!
At the back of the luscious mountain pastures towers the gray mountain chain of the Jof di Montasio (German: Montasch, Friulanisch: Montas) and its adjacent peaks. One of the prongs of the Montasio group is the Cima di Terrarossa or Terra Rossa (2,420 m), which can be reached in a moderately difficult hike. Starting at the parking lot, the ascent takes about 3 hours plus another 2.5 hours for the descent. The difference in altitude is 920 m on a steep meandering trail.
The trail is asphalted as far as the Brazza hut (1,600 m). From there on you hike on an old military trail up to the Palone fork/Forca del Palone. The last meters of the hike pass through rugged, rocky terrain. The summit rewards the effort of the hike with a fantastic panoramic view far beyond the Julian Alps. As for the descent, take the same trail back.
Hiking to the Terrarossa is not too difficult and without climbing passages, just steep. Sometimes one could wish to be as agile as the ibex which populate the Montasio area in great number and which - with a little bit of luck - can be met in close proximity as you walk along the hiking trail. What are you waiting for; make the best of the last sunny days in October!
We did the hike to Cima di Terrarossa with other families with children aged 6 and older - but - who were used to longer hikes in the mountains. We underestimated how much the sun charges the limestone, even in fall. Our water supplies were soon scarce and you look in vain for a water source in the Karst terrain!
You can read about the Montasio plateau here (Italian and English).
About the hike to the Cima di Terrarossa (German only): alpintouren