Monte Lussari in winter: hiking up the Pilgrim's Trail
Even if you don’t know Friuli Venezia Giulia, chances are that you saw the hamlet of Monte Lussari in winter, as it was also featured in the opening images of Windows 10.
Monte Lussari like few other destinations in Friuli Venezia Giulia manages to unite hikers, skiers, religious people … and goulash lovers (but we’ll talk about it later).
If you love hiking, you cannot fail to try the Pilgrim’s Trail. Even if you are not an expert… YES. YOU. CAN!
Read on to find out all the details.
There are two ways (actually three, but that’s another story) to reach the top of Monte Lussari:
- By cable car (in about 10 minutes)
- On foot with the Pilgrim’s Trail
In both cases, your starting point is the parking of the Monte Lussari cable car.
To reach Monte Lussari, drive towards Tarvisio along the SS13 state road or on the motorway to the Tarvisio exit. The base of the cableway is easily recognizable from the state road.
You will arrive at a roundabout where you should take the third exit and follow the signs to Monte Lussari.
Where to park
You will find a big parking lot near the Monte Lussari cable car.
If you do the Pilgrim’s Trail you can get a little closer to the starting point of the trail. Go past the above-mentioned parking lot and turn right, you will find another place to leave the car and a little further on the beginning of the trail.
Hike recap & GPX
The hike to Monte Lussari can be divided into three parts.
- From Camporosso to a short flat section with a Crucifix;
- The Via Crucis;
- From the Prasnig slope to the top of Mount Lussari.
The Pilgrim’s Trail in Winter
I hope that when you’ll climb Monte Lussari in winter the snow will cover everything. It is certainly the best way to hike the Pilgrim’s Trail.
We leave the car in the parking lot next to the cable car, walk towards the Alte Hütte restaurant, turn right and thus reach the starting point.
It seems to enter a completely different world. The contrast is sharp between the paved road and the white tongue of snow that invites us into the Millennial Forest of Tarvisio. Above us the sky is blue and it is very cold which makes the snow perfect for walking with light crampons.
From Camporosso to the Crucifix: a honest trail
From the beginning, the Pilgrim’s Trail makes things clear: your breath will have a few moments of rest. But not only for the constant slope, if the day is right, the landscape will also take your breath away.
I find the Pilgrim’s trail an honest trail. All along the way, you will be able to monitor your progress because at the top right you will see the antennas appear on the top of Mount Lussari.
At first, the Pilgrim’s Trail doesn’t even seem so terrible.
After the bridge over the Rio Argento and the first uphill stretch, you will arrive in the Valley of Rio Lussari where you will also find the abandoned hut you see in the photo above. From here on, the slope is more marked and the ascent gives no rest until a short flat stretch in correspondence with a crucifix. Here I advise you to stop, to catch your breath of course but also to admire the landscape behind you.
The climb resumes and becomes more marked with small turns. From here on you will find the Stations of the Cross.
Mount Lussari and the Via Crucis
Whether you go to Monte Lussari in winter or in summer, about halfway through the route, you will find the stations of the Cross to accompany you (we are still on the Pilgrim’s Trail).
The beginning of the Stations of the Cross is also a turning point in the hike. If possible, the landscape becomes even more beautiful from then on.
The inhabitants of the area started to place the stations after the first world war but they were interrupted by the second conflict.
The stations were all represented by the Slovenian artist Toni Kralj and the originals are kept inside the sanctuary on the top. The stations along the trail are copies placed in 2015.
The Stations of the Cross end with a small chapel and a few more tight turns that will take you to the last part of the hike.
Up to the peak of Monte Lussari
The moment I love the most along the Pilgrim’s Trail is when it meets the ski slope. After about 4 km of almost uninterrupted ascent, this is the moment in which it is worth stopping and admiring the view of Cima Cacciatore.
At this point, in the summer, you would find a flat area, and crossing the ski slope you would arrive at Malga Lussari (1573 m). In winter the slopes are busy, all you can do is keep going up. From here there are about 200 meters of elevation gain and half an hour to get to the top.
The climb continues with tight hairpin bends that will then take you to the Prasnig pass where you will find another small chapel waiting for you. After so much wood, here the view opens up on the surrounding peaks.
The effort is practically over. An almost flat stretch will take you to Borgo Lussari from which you can climb to the real peak which rises just behind the Sanctuary. I really recommend you to go there because you will have a 360 ° view of the surroundings.
Obviously paying attention to skiers is a must.
To go back to Camporosso you can either go down the Pilgrim’s Trail or take the Cablecar.
The hamlet on Monte Lussari
After a few minutes at the top, we go down again to Borgo Lussari. Here too the snow has changed the shape of the streets of this small village. It will feel like Christmas at any time of the year.
Before going to lunch we stop for a moment at the Sanctuary.
Il Santuario sul Monte Lussari: una chiesa che unisce tre popoli
The sanctuary of Monte Lussari dates back to the fourteenth century when the Patriarch of Aquileia ordered its construction.
The local legend has it that a shepherd found a statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus as he grazed his flock on top of Mount Lussari. The shepherd took the statue to the parish priest of Camporosso but the next day he found it once again on top of Mount Lussari. The same routine was repeated for another couple of days and then the patriarch ordered the construction of the sanctuary.
The current building was built much later, but the folklore continues on but this is not the best part of this sanctuary. As you will have understood by reading my blog, Friuli Venezia Giulia is a borderland, marked by the two world wars. The sanctuary is a symbol of unity and peace between the three populations of the area.
Do you need crampons or snowshoes to climb Mount Lussari in winter?
The Pellegrino Path is one of the most popular trails in Friuli Venezia Giulia so unless you are the very first person to climb, you will not find high snow.
I have climbed Monte Lussari three times in winter and have always used crampons. Even if you don’t own snowshoes, I recommend that you at least have crampons close at hand.
Are the Pilgrim’s Trail and Monte Lussari better in winter or in the estate?
I have always visited Mount Lussari in winter and always with snow.
Personally, I can’t stand such a steep path in the summer heat. In addition, the path is covered with gravel, so if you are well equipped / or with crampons or snowshoes the climb is easier in my opinion on the snow.
I’m a beginner, can I do the Pilgrim’s Trail?
The trail is undoubtedly challenging but not therefore impossible for beginners.
There are no exposed sections and it is one of those paths where you will always find people.
I confess to you in fact even when I went very little to the mountains. The important thing is to take the trail calmly and adapt to your pace. Don’t rush and don’t look at the clock. You can do it.
You may hate the trail as you climb but the fact will make you very proud. Now, if I had to use the cable car to go up, it would feel like cheating.
The sight and satisfaction that one feels near the cross are unrepeatable.
To go down instead … the cable car is welcome. Because on Mount Lussari you can also eat well.