Valle dell’Ardo

Panorama Valle dell’Ardo
(photo by: Enrico Vettorazzo)

Access: Bolzano Bellunese, Pont del Cargador, Vial, Pont de la Mortis, Case Bortot, Bus del Buson.

A very deep valley
Valle dell’Ardo originates from the confluence of a well-structured network of small valleys and thalwegs crossing and draining the southern slope of Schiara group. It reaches, often confined in wet and gloomy gorges, the gates of Belluno. The valley, several stretches of which are deeply enclosed, crosses the whole stratigraphic series, from the most ancient formations (Dolomia Principale and Soverzene Formation c/o head of the valley) to the Tertiary formations of the Flysch and the Molasse (sub-mountain section of pre-Park). The frequent gorges (narrow valley bottom confined between smooth and impending walls) are an evidence of the important role played by the torrent Ardo in the morphogenesis of the valley. The widespread and considerable presence of glacial deposits, often interested by landslides and erosions, also documents an important glacial shaping action operated by a lateral branch of the ancient Piave glacier during the climax of the latest glaciation. Along the valley it is possible to observe two interesting gorges documenting as many diversions of the course of the torrent: Bus del Buson and the gorge of Pont de la Mortis.

  • (a) The “fossil” canyon of Bus del Buson, deeply dug into the flint limestone of Biancone, is a very narrow gorge, probably dug by a subglacial torrent and then “abandoned” by the torrent Ardo at the moment of the glacier withdrawal;
  • (b) In loc. Pont de la Mortis, the torrent forms a large bend and runs in a narrow gorge, deeply dug into the marly limestone of Scaglia rossa. The gorge, charming for the contrast between the red rocks and the crystal-clear waters, represents a relatively recent “opening” that torrent Ardo had to create after a big landslide (the accumulation can be seen after the bridge, on the left slope) that buried the old valley, forcing the watercourse to move towards the right (west).

Rocks, environments, and other features

Rocks: Dolomia Principale (7¨ Alpini Mountain Hut); Soverzene Formation (head of the valley, eastern section); Gray Limestone (head of the valley, western section); Vajont Limestone (val delle Agnellezze); Biancone (Bus del Buson; trail immediately beyond Case Bortot) ; Scaglia rossa (Pont de la Mortis); Flysch (right slope of Val Medon; Pescheria); Molasse (gorge of Ardo between Bolzano Bell. and Vezzano)
Landscape features:
Glacial features: glacial deposits (landslides on the left slope between Vial and Case Bortot)
River-torrential features: gorges (Pont de la Mortis, Vezzano); fossil gorge (Bus del Buson)

Environment / Landscape

A morphologically difficult environment scattered with small rural settlements
Among the most important valleys of the Park, Valle dell’Ardo distinguishes itself for the gloomy charm of its gorges and for the presence of an interesting network of rural settlements, now marked by abandonment, as well as several traces linked to past and recent human activities (trails, mule tracks, cultivated fields, rural buildings, “casere”, dry-stone walls, terraced lands).

Notes: easy itinerary developing along small roads and trails