A jewel of the Val Biois to be discovered and enjoyed
Canale d’Agordo (979 m. above sea level) is a marvelous village of the Dolomites UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site located in Val Biois in High Agordino (Province of Belluno, Veneto Region), at the confluence of the rivers Biois and Liera. Even though it is a village of small size, Canale d’Agordo is plenty of attractions, so much so that a single day is often not enough to see all that this small town of the Dolomites has to offer.
Known until 1964 as “Forno di Canale”, Canale d’Agordo was an ancient mining center of a certain importance. Starting from the 14th Century, a profitable mining industry was set up: minerals of iron, copper and a bit of gold were extracted from some mining tunnels (of which the two most important ones are the Sass Negher and Sais) in the nearby Valle di Gares; minerals were then processed in a huge mining complex that was located not far from the current access to the village. The mining complex was then abandoned for two reasons: the first one was the political support granted by the Serenissima Republic of Venice to the Val Imperina mining center (a condition which forced the closing of 9 mining centers in Agordino); the second reason was a huge flood that irrevocably damaged the melting furnaces. Nothing remains of the ancient buildings of this mining center, whereas the two mining tunnels of the Gares Valley have recently been renovated in order to exploit them for tourist purposes.
Canale d’Agordo | Winter activities
Canale d’Agordo is pretty close to Falcade and because of this many guests choose to stay there and to ski in the near Alpe Lusia – San Pellegrino ski area (Dolomiti Superski). The guests of Canale d’Agordo can enjoy an efficient ski shuttle service that connects the majority of the hotels to the lifts in Falcade (located 2/3 kilometer far from the village). To Canale d’Agordo, which is not well known, belongs the top of the Col Margherita, one of the peaks of the Alpe Lusia – San Pellegrino ski area.
In addition to the Pietro Scola Cross-Country Ski Center in Falcade, enthusiasts of nordic skiing can enjoy also the 10-km Franco Manfroi Cross-Country Ski Center in the Valle di Gares (Canale d’Agordo). The nordic skiing pistes are located in the extraordinary, enchanting natural setting of the Gares Valley (Pale di San Martino) and they are suitable to host National and International Nordic Skiing competition (in 2017, the Franco Manfroi Nordic ski center housed the finals of the Italian National Championship). The facility is also equipped with ski rental store; the area is also euipped with a cozy restaurant / hotel.
Canale d’Agordo | John Paul I
Canale d’Agordo is also known for being the birthplace of Albino Luciani (1912 – 1978), better known as Pope John Paul 1st, the “smiling Pope”. This extraordinary figure, whose career as Pope lasted only 33 days, has become short after the election a revolutionary icon, not only for religious people: Patti Smith dedicated the opening track of her album “Wave” to the Pope from Canale d’Agordo). Canale d’Agordo has dedicated an entire museum to this illustrious fellow citizen, open in 2017: it is the MUSAL Museum located on Piazza Luciani, the main square of the village (further information at the following contacts: +39 377 9665237).
Canale d’Agordo | Monuments
In addition to the MUSAL Museum, Canale d’Agordo has a lot to offer to the tourist. The Saint John’s Church, located on the main square of Canale and one of the oldest of the whole Agordino area, has a lot of high-profile artistic masterpieces to be discovered (among which we cite an original pipe organ realized by the Maestro Gaetano Callido). On the small square of the hamlet of Tancon, guests can admire the House of Rules (Casa delle Regole), an historic building dated 1640 which housed in the past the council of family leaders of Canale d’Agordo. The bulding houses during summer and winter conferences and exhibitions; of a particular interest is the facade of the house, decorated with original frescos.
Right behind the facade of the Casa delle Regole, guests can visit for free the Garden of the Memory: it is a simple but very interesting historic path, housed in a private garden but accessible to visitors, realized by Giovanni Fontanive and dedicated to the remembrance of the Fallen and Missing Soldiers of the Russian Campaign 1941-43 during WW2. The Garden of Memory has been realized in homage of the dozen of missing young people, among which there is also Giovanni’s brother, that never came back from the war in Russia, with the aim of condemning all kind of war and to celebrate peace and reconciliation among all Nations. Further information at the contacts of the Tourist Office of Canale d’Agordo (see contacts below).
A few steps far from the House of Rules and the Garden of Memory, guests can admire the first founded dairy cooperative of Italy, founded as a social experiment at the end of the 19th Century by the local priest Don Antonio della Lucia. Keeping into account the miserable life conditions of the Agordino farmers, often stuck in subsistence situations, Don Antonio suggested to join the forces of all the people of Canale d’Agordo in order to optimize the dairy production, the shipments and the revenue for all the associated. It wasn’t easy to convince the farmers to collaborate, but what eventually came out was the first modern diary company with a cooperative system, a model which was then awarded at the 1892 National EXPO in Sicily and that was then adopted by all the farmers in Italy. In addition to this, the Luciani brothers found the first brewery of Italy in Canale at the end of the 19th Century; the heirs of this company are the current owners of Birreria Pedavena, the biggest alehouse in Italy. A very nice Dairy Museum has been dedicated to the traditional dairy production in the Agordino area: it lies in the hamlet of Feder and it can be visited for free during the opening times (that usually coincide with the summer and winter seasons).
Canale d’Agordo, together with Falcade and Vallada Agordina, is also known as the “village with the Saints at the windows” for the presence of dozens of frescoes depicting saints on the historic houses of the Biois Valley. The pèresence of this artistic masterpieces, some of which are centuries-old, has been studied and promoted by the Veneto Region with a namesake cultural itinerary. Further information at the contacts of the Tourist Office of Canale d’Agordo (see contacts below).
Canale d’Agordo and the Municipalities of the Val Biois boast an additional record: the presence on the area of more than 300 original wook burns (the so-called “Tabià“), in a number which has no equal in all the Dolomites. The Tabià can be admired everywhere in the Biois Valley, scattered on the whole area. Furthermore, Canale d’Agordo has an unparalleled number of public fontains, the water quality of which is of course excellent, that can be used for free.
Canale d’Agordo | The Gares Valley
One of the most beloved natural oasis of the Dolomites UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site is the verdant Valle di Gares (Gares Valley), a spectacular 7-km glacial valley that connects the center of the Village of Canale with the foot of the Pale di San Martino Plateau. The place is well-known among natural holidays enthusiasts and families for being untouched, greatly fascinanting and surrounded by nature. The valley offers both itineraries for well-trained guests as well as for families with small children or senior guests; among the most beloved attractions of the vally there are: the two Comelle Waterfalls, the paths to Campigat and Malga Stia, the many climbing rocks and routes, the above mentioned Franco Manfroi Nordic Skiing Center, the Orrido delle Comelle and much more. As for the mining past of the valley, the Public Administration carried out recently the restoration works of the Bus de Stol mining tunnel and of the nearby Casera Valbona; the aim is, of course, to use them as an additional tourist attraction after the completion of the works.
Canale d’Agordo | Folklore, events & gastronomy
Canale d’Agordo offers some interesting events all over the year; among these we cite here the typical Carnival festival, La Zinghenesta, the Saint John’s Patronal Festival (June, 24th) and Se Desmonteghea (the transhumance festival of the Val Biois on the last weekend of September).
The Val Biois traditional cuisine is a tasty mix of Venetian and Tyrolean influences; among the most representative dishes of the valley there are: Baccalà alla Agordina, Lasagne da Fornel and Paste da Pavare, the Carfogn and Foi Frit and much more.
Tourist information offices:
Pro Loco Canale d’Agordo
Tel. +39 0437 1948030