Cappella Zita and Malga Rauna, the unusual side of Val Saisera
Sometimes it takes very, very little to find peace and silence. The hike to Cappella Zita and Malga Rauna starts at the beginning of Val Saisera and yet it couldn’t be more different from the nearby and crowded Saisera Wild Track. Almost as if Zita, by assonance with the word “zitta” (silent in Italian), wanted to suggest that the area is also quiet and peaceful.
To reach Cappella Zita from Udine drive north towards Tarvisio (you can also use the A23 motorway to Tarvisio).
After Ugovizza, you will find the junction on Via Saisera on the right that will take you to Valbruna.
Where to park
You can leave your car in Via Saisera, near to Via Alpi Giulie. The beginning of the trail is a little further on.
Hike recap and GPX
To Cappella Zita
Getting to Cappella Zita and Malga Rauna is quite simple. There are two ways to reach it from Via Saisera:
- With the CAI path 607
- With the forest road
The trail is more or less the same but the path cuts through the forest road and is, therefore, more sloping. When we were there (January 2021), given the snow on the ground and the slopes along the way, we chose to take the forest road for safety reasons. I advise you to monitor the avalanche bulletin before going to Cappella Zita in winter.
The forest track immediately rises and leads us to a first branch where it is possible to take the CAI path 607.
As said, we continue on the road and go up with wide turns. There are few opportunities to admire the landscape other than a small clearing from which you can admire Mount Lussari and … the cars accumulating in the parking lots of Val Saisera below us.
If you continue on the forest trail, the path comes almost astride a ridge. This stretch on a false plane is the last effort before arriving at Malga Rauna and then at Cappella ZIta.
Malga Rauna and Cappella Zita
Malga Rauna is the first building we find on our way. When we visited this place it is practically buried in snow but some hikers still lit a fire and prepared lunch.
We pass it and immediately aim for Cappella Zita. We are greeted by a surreal landscape, to say the least. The fog has devoured everything around us. The sky is one with the white of the snow.
If you are luckier than us, you can admire all the surrounding peaks from here.
From Malga Rauna it is possible to continue towards the Jôf di Miezegnot.
The history of Cappella Zita
Cappella Zita was built in 1917 by Austro-Hungarian soldiers to honor the new Empress of Austria, Zita of Bourbon.
Zita di Borbone was the wife of Charles I who succeeded Franz-Josef after an accident that triggered the First World War.
The soldiers built this chapel on the site of an old mountain cemetery. The church is now located on Italian soil and is preserved by the Tarvisio Fire Brigade.
Is it better to visit Cappella Zita and Malga Rauna in winter or in the summer?
I have never hiked to Capella Zita and Malga Rauna in summer but I don’t know if winter is the right season to visit it.
The trail to Cappella Zita is certainly excellent for snowshoeing as the forest road grants an easy itinerary to follow.
At the same time, making it all the way through the undergrowth in winter can be a bit monotonous. Or maybe we were just unlucky with the weather.
The large lawn between Cappella Zita and Malga Rauna seems perfect for summer days. And the forest, made of firs and beeches, could hold surprises in autumn.
Why you should visit Cappella Zita
As already mentioned, Cappella Zita and Malga Rauna are good options for those who want to hike in Friuli Venezia Giulia and stay away from the main routes (but not too much).
Val Saisera combines easy trails with more difficult hikes. That is why it is considered a must-see all year round. From Cappella Zita you can enjoy the beauty of this valley from above without too many people around.
I love the fact that Cappella Zita was built by the Austrians and restored by the Italians. I am happy to live in a land where Europe is not an abstract entity but something that people experience every day.
Where to eat in Val Saisera
Are you hungry after the hike to Cappella Zita? Here are some places where you can eat.
- La Baita dei Sapori: It is a restaurant located at the beginning of via Saisera. They cook typical mountain cuisine.
- Saisera Hütte:it is a small hut in Val Saisera where you can stop for a coffee or a quick lunch. From the starting point of the hike to Cappella Zita you drive a few more meters and reach the parking lot of the cross-country ski track. They serve typical mountain cuisine. Strudel with speck is good.
- Agriturismo Prati di Oitzinger: you will find the way to reach this farm about halfway Val Saisera. They serve typical mountain cuisine.
- I dolci di Irma: A small bakery in the center of Valbruna that serves homemade cakes and pies.