Destination

Deer Love Songs, Birdwatching and Hearty Food in Veneto

Fregona is a village in Treviso province, a bunch of houses on a hillside, with dark mountains behind them. Despite its size, the Fregona is certainly worth a visit as there are some hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

The main attraction is a fascinating complex of caves, called Grotte del Caglieròn. The caves date back to the 16th century, when sandstone, material for making doorposts, was mined. A wooden bridge takes visitors down to the enchanting cave’s heart. The aquamarine water flows noisily, the light and shade play intriguingly. During winter, ice and stalactites make the rock walls shimmer.

grotte del caglieron

The other treasures of this hilly land attracts gourmands. A semi-soft cheese called Moesìn is an excellent companion to taste some simple Veneto dishes, like poenta e formajo  (polenta and cheese) and radici e formajo (cheese and red chicory). Then, the aromatic sweet wine called Torchiato di Fregona is a great way to end a night.

cansiglio

 

Near Fregona you will find large Cansiglio Forest. It has been a source of quality wood since ancient times. The Republic of Venice used to turn local trees into strong oars, that’s why this forest is still sometimes called foresta da remi (“the forest of oars”).

foresta del cansiglio

One peculiarity of the Cansiglio Forest is the temperature inversion: as altitude increases, temperature does, too. So at the bottom there are pastures, higher the conifers and further up the impressive beech forest. The woods have many hiking cycling paths. It is also a birdwatchers paradise: the beautiful capercaillie, green and black woodpeckers, black kites and owls are aplenty here.

In late September-October the deer comes here for mating. At dusk and dawn the forest echoes their hoarse belling.  Visitors often come to listen them, but with a little patience and, above all, silence you can also see their dark silhouettes, wrapped in a gray haze. Silence and stillness are important: deer are colorblind but slightest hint of movement put him to flight.

deer

 

Photo by Giacomo Cipolato© 

Some mountain refuges in the area offer tours for hikers during the belling season. Casa Vallorch organises walks to listen to the deer love songs. The price is €60 per person, which includes two guided walks (in the evening and next morning at dawn), accommodation. A big dinner is also included. Remember, the mountain air makes you hungry!

For more information about the programme visit the Casa Vallorch refuge website 

This is a guest post by Silvia Benedet. Silvia runs a beautiful blog “i diari della lambretta” where she writes about her travels on a lovely vintage Lambretta in rural Italy.

 

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