The Gorges of Torrent Ardo

Valle dell’Ardo, pothole
(photo by: Gianni Poloniato)

Torrent Ardo springs at the foot of Mt. Schiara, in the heart of the National Park, and flows into river Piave in Belluno. Along its course, it forms spectacular gorges, very interesting from a naturalistic point of view.

Municipality/ies: Belluno

Access: From Cavarzano, Soracroda, Bolzano Bellunese and the nearby locality Le Valli

Difficulty reaching and moving about in the area: The gorges of Ardo can be easily reached also with motor vehicles. It is more difficult, and sometimes dangerous, to move inside them. During the summer, it is necessary to pay attention to sudden floods occurring as a consequence of intense rainfalls involving the upper stretch of the basin.

Floristic-vegetation features
Charming and complex environment, combining its intrinsic geomorphological value with important floristic and vegetation features. In the “Guida Botanica delle Dolomiti di Feltre e di Belluno” (Lasen, E. & S. Pignatti, Scopel, 1977), the authors of the volume consider these gorges as the place of origin of Rhizobotrya alpina, one of the rarest and most important endemic species of the Dolomites. Another phenomenon of great environmental interest is the presence of micro-thermal elements characteristic of higher altitudes: this is possible thanks to the very cool microclimate also in summer. A rich vegetation of mosses and liverworts colonizes the most shady walls. Everywhere ferns are abundant: in particular, Phyllitis scolopendrium, a guide species, together the showy Lunaria rediviva, of the gorge woods, places considered of priority importance by European rules. In the basin of Ardo, at altitudes varying from 600 to 1,000 meters, different populations of maples-lime trees and maples-ashes. The presence of Norway maples and Euonymus latifolius is also worth a mention, since they are not very common in our territory. Further species of great phytogeographical interest grow in the area, in particular Hesperis matronalis subsp. candida, Polypodium interjectum, Carpesium cernuum. Black maidenhair fern formations (dripping caves with tufa formations) are also interesting and represent a priority habitat.

Wildlife features
Along the torrent, it is possible to sight birds living near the mountain watercourses, like the White-throated Dipper and the Gray Wagtail. The Tawny Owl nests in the gorges, while in the upper stretch of the torrent it is possible to find the interesting Alpine Salamander.

Further features
The gorges of the torrent Ardo form a very spectacular environment. The most important rocky gorges are Corontola, near Bolzano Bellunese, the gorge of “Pont de la Mortis”, that can be easily observed from the homonymous bridge, and the hanging one, today no longer run across by water, of “Bus del Buson”, you can reach on foot from Case Bortot.

  • Recommended time of year: summer
  • Equipment: it is recommended to wear boots or shoes suitable for slippery soils and stones covered with moss

Municipality: Belluno (BL)