On the up and up
A walking tour of the Messner Mountain Museum circuit
The Messner Mountain Museum is a network of six museums across the South Tyrol and Belluno regions of northeast Italy. Tickets can be bought separately or combined; the MMM Tour/Ticket covers entry to all six museums and costs €35 ($55.30). A road trip taking in all six museums can be done in three to four days, but a longer journey, pairing some hiking trails with the museums, is a great way to explore the region. More: messner-mountain-museum.it/en.
The centrepiece museum (right) just south of Bolzano (Bozen) seeks to explore the relationship between men and mountains. Displays cover mountains in art and religion.
Open: Late March to early November, 10am-6pm. Closed Thursdays.
The trek: A 15-minute drive from the museum, the Three Castles loop begins and ends at Castle Korb, passing two medieval castles with views over the Etsch Valley, taking about two hours in total.
Difficulty: Easy-moderate. More: eppan.com/en.
A museum of mountain art, and Messner’s summer home. Guided tours only.
Open: Late March to late June, and September to early November, 10am-4pm. Closed Wednesdays.
The trek: The 2½-hour Val Senales Waalweg trail follows irrigation channels that date back 1000 years, leaving from, and back to, Juval Castle.
Difficulty: Easy-moderate. More: suedtirolerland.it/en.
A museum (far right) offering insights into the lives of mountain people across the world.
Open: Mid-May to early November and late December to late April, 10am or noon to 6pm, depending on the month. Closed Tuesdays.
The trek: Starting in Bruneck, this 2½-hour loop trail heads up to the village of Reischach.
Difficulty: Easy. More: bruneck.com.
At 1900m, this underground museum explores the horrors of ice, avalanche and darkness.
Open: Late May to mid-October and early December to early May; from 1pm or 2pm to 6pm or 7pm, depending on the month.
The trek: A demanding two-day trek up South Tyrol’s highest peak, Ortles (3905m), with a vertical climb of 2210m. There is a rocky wall, vertical in parts, but equipped with fixed chains and climbing aids. A night is usually spent at Rifugio Payer.
Difficulty: Very tough. More: sentres.com.
Up on Monte Rite (2181m), in the heart of the Dolomites, this museum is dedicated to rock, including new routes and first ascents, with dramatic views.
Open: June to September, 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm or 6pm, depending on the month.
The trek: Starting at Passo Cibiana, this 6.5km, twohour trek covers the upper massif of Monte Rite. A lightly exposed section of the trail is equipped with a wire cable. Use the trail up to Monte Rite and take the shuttle bus down.
Difficulty: Tough. More: rifugiomonterite.it.
Up on Mt Kronplatz (2275m), Messner’s newest museum explores the history of Alpinism.
Open: Early June to mid-October and early December to mid-April; 10am-4pm.
The trek: The Heiligkreuzkofel. A short drive from the museum, take the chairlift from St Leonhard to Heilig Kreuz, which leads to Kreuzkofel. The trail continues across the mountain’s western slope up to the Kreuzkofelscharte (2612m); rocky passages are secured with ropes.
Difficulty: Very tough. More: sentres.com. • suedtirol.info/en