The Gares Valley (Valle di Gares)
Canale d’Agordo | Agordino | Dolomites UNESCO
The Gares Valley, known locally as simply Gares or Val de Gares, is a marvelous glacial valley of the Dolomites UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site located at the foot of the imposing Pale di San Martino in the Agordino Municipality of Canale d’Agordo in the Province of Belluno, Veneto Region, Italy.
The Valle di Gares is an incredible natural sancturay of the Dolomite Mountains, scarcely dwelled and well preserved, rich in very interesting natural attractions: this hideaway of the Dolomites is suitable for those guests looking for absolute relaxation in a fascinating natural environment, far away from big crowd and hideous tourist traps; the features of the Gares Valley allows guests enjoy different sporting experiences of a various difficulty range: from the simple, yet suggestive walks in the valley bottom, to the strenuous hikes to the Pale di San Martino; from easy, family-friendly climbing boulders to steep climbing walls in the nearby Dolomite Mountains. All of this surrounded by one of the most unforgettable and evocative landscapes of the Pale Mountains.
Institutionally, the Gares Valley is part of the Municipality of Canale d’Agordo, one of the 16 Municipality of the Agordino area; the valley is subdivided into small, charming rural hamlets: Ferrade, La Sota, Campion, Pian de Sabion, Lastei, Palafachina, the village of Gares and Pian delle Giare. The tiny, cozy village of Gares is located deep in the valley and it was founded in ancient times by the miners of the Gares mines, which are currently undergoing a restoration process in order to open them to the public.
Valle di Gares | History
As for many other dwelling places in the Agordino territory, the main factor that pushed toward the founding of the first settlements in this remote valley of the Dolomite Mountains was the lure exerted by the search for mineral deposits in the bowels of the mountains. The Gares Valley had two main mining places: the Sass Negher cave (nearby Casera Valbona and El Teaz) and the Bus de Stol (along the CAI hiking path that leads to Casera Campigat and Forcella Cesurette), both of which are currently being renovated for tourism purposes.
After the extraction, metal minerals were firstly processed nearby the current hamlet of Lastei, then transported to Canale d’Agordo for the final processing. Canale d’Agordo, too, was profoundly bound to the mining industry, bearing the original place name of “Forno di Canale” (“forno” means “oven” or “furnace” in Italian).
The small village of Gares is adorned with many original Dolomitic wooden barns, called “Tabià”, and historical houses, all assembled around the small Alpine Gothic Church of Our Lady of the Snows (“Chiesa della Beata Vergine delle Grazie e di San Gottardo), built in 1732. The day of Our Lady of the Snows, August 5, was the Patronal day of the village of Gares.
Valle di Gares | Geography
The Gares Valley stretches for about seven kilometers along the Liera River (a tributary of the Biois River), from the last houses of Canale d’Agordo towards the San Martino Plateau. The Valle di Gares is surrounded by steep peaks of the Dolomites UNESCO World Natural Heritage, all of which are included into the 3rd of the 9 officially recognized and protected Dolomite System of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation, which is the System Pale di San Martino – San Lucano – Vette Feltrine – Dolomiti Bellunesi; according to the International Standardized Mountain Subdivision of the Alps-ISMSA (SOIUSA), the valley finds itself in the Super group of the Pale di San Martino and Feruch, Group of the Pale di San Martino.
The valley diagonally curves in a south-westerly direction through the peaks of the Pale di San Martino along the course of the Liera Stream, from the Pale di San Martino Plateau to the village of Canale d’Agordo. On the hydrographic left of the Torrente Liera, the Gares Valley is fenced by the relatively low, yet very tough peaks of the Pettenassa, Palmina, Tamer and Cimon de la Stia, a mountain range that divides Gares from Falcade. On the hydrographic right of the Liera, the Gares Valley is enclosed by the huge Monte Pape and pale di san Lucano group (Pale di San Martino) that divides Gares from Taibon Agordino.
Famous hiking passes connect the Gares Valley with the surrounding valleys: Forcella Caoz and Forcella Cesurette to the San Lucano Valley; Forcella della Stia on the falcade side. The “Banca de le Fede” and Forcella Antermarucol connect Gares to the North. All of these ways are beloved hiking paths that offer amazing views on the core of the Dolomite area, but they are all quite long and strenuous, suitable for sporting guests.
The so-called “Orrido delle Comelle” is an impressive natural canyone that connects Pian de le Comelle to the valley floor in Pian de le Giare, creating also two marvellous waterfalls (the Cascate delle Comelle), one of the most beloved attractions of the gares valley.
Valle di Gares | Tourism
The Gares Valley is accessible throughout the year with the Municipal Road from Canale d’Agordo; in addition to the normal road, a brand-new cycle path is at the guests disposal.
The village of Gares is also a nice place to be seen, with its ancient barns and houses and the small church; Malga Stia, a very nice Alpine farm and restaurant, can be reached in 45 minutes by foot from the village of Gares towards Forcella de la Stia.
In the hamlet of Pian de Giare (or Pian de le Giare, as it is also called), guests can enter for free the small, interesting Biotopo of the Gares Valley, a suggestive Alpine garden created with the aim of properly presenting to the visitors of the place the dense presence of wild animals and plants. The Biotope is a few steps away from Ristorante Capanna Cima Comelle.
Pian de Giare offers the ideal setting for a nice family day outdoors: the location is pretty accessible, equipped with several parlking lots, nice walk itineraries and in Winter also with fascinating cross-country ski slopes to be discovered.
The wonderful Comelle Waterfalls can be reached with a walk (average difficulty, on a well-marked Alpine trail, 20 -25 minutes to reach the first waterfall); the place is astonishingly beautiful, and the Gares Waterfalls are one of the most beloved subjects among local photographers and tourists. Other popular hikes include Casera Campigat and Forcella della Stia, Passo Antermarucol and the Orrido delle Comelle, wonderful places reachable with popular hiking trails from the valley floor of the Gares Valley.
La Valle di Gares offre anche molti boulder per l’arrampicata sportiva; da qualche anno inoltre il gruppo Appigli Sotto il Muschio, formato da giovani volontari locali appassionati e decisi, si impegna per realizzare nuovi percorsi in valle. La falesia di arrampicata “Abisso De Dea” nella zona omonima nei pressi della Cascata Alta, è un’altra accessibile attrazione della Valle di gares per la pratica dell’arrampicata sportiva. The Gares Valley also offers many climbing boulders and walls, among which the Abisso De Dea climbing wall, nearby the second Comelle Waterfall. The Gares Valley also offers many climbing boulders and walls, among which the Abisso De Dea climbing wall, nearby the second Comelle Waterfall.
The Gares Valley usually offers the ideal conditions to preserve snow until late Spring; for this reason, since several decades, the Franco Manfroi Cross-Country Skiing Center welcomes every winter season the enthusiasts of this fascinating and demanding sporting activity, also housing National competitions.
Tourist Information Office:
Pro Loco Canale d’Agordo
Tel. +39 437 1948030
Go to: Natural attractions of the Agordino