Wonder  }  Mountains and hills

The five days of Vo' - 6 DI 6

From Monte Venda to Venice...

The big day

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Where is


Monte Venda, 35030 Vo PD, Italia (186m s.l.m.)


Today is the day of Venda, a mountain that can be approached from several paths. Having chosen Vo' as a base camp, one has to climb to Castelnuovo, from where the so-called Military Road then branches off. That's right, because the highest elevation of the Euganean Hills for decades was home to a front-line base in NATO's surveillance of the Warsaw Pact. A completely underground telecommunications base, of which one can only imagine the tunnel of bunkers and tunnels.

What remains of an Olivetan monastery at the summit of Mount Venda, on the slope overlooking the Gulf of Venice.

Although the Cold War has had its day, the summit of the mountain is still off-limits, partly because part of it is reserved for the very tall antennas that broadcast television signals throughout the Northeast. Hikers must therefore be content to reach a shelf not far from the summit with what remains of an Olivetan monastery. Significant place, however, because Venda is said to owe its name to an ancient cult of the goddess Venus, and the site may well be the same.

So here I am in the presence of the marker that at a hairpin bend signals my destination fifty minutes away. As is typical of the Euganean Mountains, we move from dense chestnut forest to scrubland of downy oaks, holm oaks and shrubs such as arbutus and terebinth...these, however, are the glory days of the scotanus, shrouded in its feathery inflorescences as if in a pink mist; then in autumn the rounded leaves will burst into color and it will be another spectacle.

As in any self-respecting mountaineering endeavor, the photo documenting the actual summit achievement.

Distracted by the flora, I arrive at my destination along less than orthodox paths, but here I am at last! All that remains of the monastery is basically the bell tower and the perimeter of the church from the inside of which there is access to a crypt. What really deserves it, however, is the view that widens to the horizon of the Adriatic. On the nearest of the hills, Mount Rua, stands out the Camaldolese monastery of which the enclosure with the church and the monks' cells is clearly distinguishable. Stretching your gaze, in the same direction, you reach the horizon where you can make out the silhouette of Venice suspended in its lagoon.

And the circle has come full circle, as if I had ideally sailed on a burchio from the port of Vo' Vecchio to the foundations of the Serenissima...

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Francesco Soletti


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