Country: Italy

Location: Dolomites

Round trip: 7 km

Start elevation: 1980 m

Final elevation: 2324 m

Map: Tabacco 02 1:25,000

Contributor: David Sellars

getting there

Park on the south side of the Passo Rolle and head up the ridge to the south.

featured plant

Saxifraga bryoides

partial plant list

Androsace vandelii

Eritrichium nanum

Primula glutinosa.

Pulsatilla vernalis

Pulsatilla alpina apiifolia

Saxifraga paniculata

Saxifraga exarata

Saxifraga bryoides

Linaria alpina

Gentiana acaulis


This hike explores the ridge south of Rolle Pass which is comprised of volcanic rock in contrast to the typical limestone of the Dolomites.  The flora is thus quite different to much of the range.  Part of this hike is described in Jim Jermyn’s book but the circular route suggested here is recommended.

The climb up to the ridge is easy following ski routes and eventually a worn path.  Keep mostly to the crest with fine views across the valley to Cimon della Pala.  Flowers are few but Pulsatilla alpina ssp apiifolia is quite common.The rocky knob ahead is Cavallazza Piccola and there are alternative trails to bypass the peak.  The recommended route is east of the peak and a trail above a steep cliff, with some loose cables to hang on to, gets you face to face with black volcanic rock.

Cavallazza Piccola from the south.

When approaching from the

north as described above, the trail

follows the ledge on the right of

the photo above the steep cliff.

Eritrichium nanum is common on the rock and further round the exquisite and rare (in the Dolomites) Androsace vandellii can be found underneath overhangs. A few specimens of Saxifraga bryoides lurk on ledges.  The top of the peak has tunnels and other excavations left over from the First World War.

Cavallazza is the higher peak to the southwest and the path down to the gap and up the other side is easy.  Notable plants on the route include Primula glutinosa. The route down the west side of Cavallazza is mostly loose scree but soon you get to Rufigio Colbricon by the lovely Laghi del Colbrichon.  Apart from the excellent food this rufigio is worth visiting for the floral wall paintings on an archway.  See photos.

The route back to Passo Rolle follows a wide easy track; 14-348 on the map.

Reference:  Mountain Flower Walks, The Eastern Alps by Jim Jermyn. Published by the Alpine Garden Society of the UK.

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