Hike to Casera Tragonia
Wild and solitary mountain hut in the Dolomites of Friuli Venezia Giulia
Marcel Proust wrote that the real voyage of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in having new eyes. I was thinking about it while a few days ago we were driving towards Forni di Sopra (UD), Friuli Venezia Giulia, a beautiful hamlet surrounded by the Dolomites.
Forni di Sopra was one of the hiking destinations of my childhood but in 30 years of life, I had never visited Casera Tragonia.
Why should you visit Casera Tragonia
if you are looking for a place to isolate yourself together with your thoughts, Malga Tragonia is the place for you. And, as if that were not enough, it is close to one of the best breweries in the region.
How to reach Casera Tragonia
It is a sultry end-of-June day and Forni di Sopra is all dressed up for the traditional festival dedicated to herbs. We enjoy the preparations of the stalls as we move away from the main square to reach the outskirts of the village and then our path.
We will hike along the CAI path no. 209 which we find on the left of the Rio Tolina (look for Via Savorgnani). We walk for a few hundred meters, skirting it, and then we enter the forest that covers the slopes of Monte Lagna.
It is a dense and majestic forest of spruce trees that barely allows a glimpse of the blue sky through the branches. From time to time, however, on the sides of the trail, we can spot sunny clearings on which old abandoned mountain huts rise. It is a hot day in which humidity oppresses the lungs. There are no other roads other than the steep path we walk on. Here, too, as on the Pinzano trail, I cannot help but wonder about the life of those who lived or worked in these places in a time that is close but seems far away.
Today we hike with a group of friends, but I walk on my own anyway. The chatter goes away and I enjoy the sound of the wind among the beech trees. I take a deep breath, I curse myself a little for not having chosen to go to the beach, but above all visualize the real goal of the day: a beer at the Foglia d’Erba craft brewery in Forni di Sopra.
Less than 100 meters in altitude from our destination, we cross Casera Aip. Apparently unused, it offers us a moment of pause and above all the first glimpse of panorama on this hike, until now at least. We catch our breath and continue on. After a few meters, the trail finally flattens.
The valley of Casera Tragonia appears all of a sudden with its green pastures beyond the Rio Tolina, which up here is nothing more than a small stream. Beyond the rustle of the water, we hear the cowbells and the comforting scent of food. We have really arrived.
A place where to find peace
The mountain hut is almost deserted. There are six of us, a couple and the manager. The view sweeps over the Friulian Dolomites and it seems that this hut is the last bulwark of humanity within a radius of kilometers. I am pleasantly surprised. I didn’t think such a place could still exist. Away from people and mass tourism. Away from the photos on Instagram (I feel a little guilty almost putting them), away from selfies but close to nature.
The manager pampers us. Maybe he doesn’t often see such large groups around him. He prepares us pasta, brings us the cake, and brews for us Italian-moka coffee. He offers us grappa but reveals the taste only when the glass is empty: mugo pine for males, “cjergiej” seeds for women. Silence is interrupted only by the hum of insects.
That, the heat and the tiredness doze me off and I find myself dozing on the wooden table. Stefano wakes me up to ask me if I want some photos. I nod, ask him to hurry up and then we get off.
Closing the loop trail
Our intention was to close the ring using the forest track, CAI trail 208, but on the advice of the hut’s owner, we venture along trail 223a. From the point of view of the speed of descent, it turns out to be the right choice, but not from that of practicality. We come across several fallen trees, probably due to Vaia, the tempest that destroyed many forests in this area. After a few muddy stretches, we reach Località Puonsas where I find myself admiring delicious, newly renovated huts. Here begins the hard return to reality. The trail nr. 223a finally gives way to the paved forest road 208 which quickly takes us back to Forni di Sopra and to the starting point.
Casera Tragonia and the malghe trail in Forni di Sopra
Casera Tragonia is part of the “Trail of the Malghe di Forni di Sopra“. The complete route starts from Malga Varmost, touches Casera Tartoi, continues to Casera Tragonia, descends to Casera Aip and returns to Forni di Sopra. If done entirely on foot, it provides a positive difference in height of over 1000 meters against the abundant 800 that we did today.
Which trail should you choose to visit Casera Tragonia
Many suggest doing this ring-trail to Casera Tragonia counterclockwise, starting from trail 208. Although the climb with path 209 does not present any technical difficulties, it is quite steep. For the sake of my (and your) knees, I don’t think it’s wise to do it downhill. Going up from 209 instead, for the return, you can opt directly for the forest road which is less steep.
Moreover, many on the internet recommend taking this hike in winter with snowshoes or skis. Given the heat of the undergrowth, I can share the choice. However, I believe that the winter climb is only valid as long as there is snow. Without snow, the winter landscape could be too melancholy compared to the emerald green one we enjoyed.
I hope you enjoyed this hike.
- Length: 12 km
- Difference in height: +800
- Time: 6 hours (break included)
- CAI trails: 209, 223a e 208
- Children: if already trained
- Similar hikes: Capanna Cima Muli