Sacrario Militare del Monte Grappa
Shrine of the Madonnina del Grappa
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Hold on tight - this climb is amazing; a brute and unforgettable - We LOVE Monte Grappa from Seren. We start in the very quaint town of Seren (one of the 2 far north beginning points of the Monte Grappa 11) and then travel 1.8 miles / 2.9 km south on Via Generale Giardino to a road on the right with a bridge crossing a creek and a sign that says “Boarnal / Pradazern / Col dei Bof”) - it is easy to miss. In fact, we came darn close to turning back because it just didn’t seem like we were going in the right direction. The strava segment we downloaded in fact travels .2 mile / .3 km past the right turn for Col dei Bof, indicating that at least one other person missed the turn to the Seren route to Monte Grappa.
Seren is a lovely town
Don’t miss this turn at mile 1.8 / km 3.2
We are on the Seren route for 10 miles / 16 kilometers before it merges with the other 2 northern routes (Caupo and Cismon which have already merged at this point). The first leg of this climb (from Seren to the turn off at the bridge on the right) is 1.8 miles/2.9 km and only an average of 1.8% (that just means the next segment is going to make up for the holiday!). We encounter several extended high average grades, including 20%+ in a few spots. Of the 3 cyclists we encountered along the way, 2 were walking and, well, the other, our soon-to-be friend, Frederico, blew past us on a 20% grade - Wallah!
Did we mention that Seren has some pop to it?
As with the extreme grades, the scenery along the Seren segment of Monte Grappa is quite interesting and unique - we just can’t rave enough about this one. We are almost reminded of the rainforest-like surroundings in Hilo, Hawaii as we climb towards Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa - the climate here seems altogether different from the southern climbs - it was warm and humid as we climbed through a steep canyon with thick forest covering the mountainside and surrounding the roadway.
Narrow road, steep cliffs, rock face, thick foliage are common on this ascent.
The roadway is extremely narrow (and, did we mention - steeeeeeeep) and rough in spots, but we encountered no more than a handful of motorized vehicles for the exclusive 10 mile/16 km Seren segment of this route. We also encountered many old and interesting structures during our loving struggle up Seren. There are also some great views of the mountains in the distance.
A set of the many old and/or unique buildings we encountered.
Some spectacular views of the canyons and mountains
There are no routes up Monte Grappa where you do not encounter some ranch activity, whether it be cattle of sheep. There is a rural church near the location (mile 10/km 16) where the Seren route enters SP 148 from Caupo which we were fortunate enough to pass just before services as the bell was ringing and parishioners were walking out of the hills to church.
The inevitable Monte Grappa ranch activity
All 11 routes up Monte Grappa ultimately connect. At mile/km 10/16 we merge onto the theretofore connected routes from the north (Caupo and Cismon), we then merge with Romano from the right at 13.4/21.6 and finally the southern/eastern routes at .4/.6 from the top (Semonzo, Crespano, Fietta, Possagno, Cavaso del Tomba, Pederobba and Alano).
As with all routes up Monte Grappa, there are monuments and/or remnants of WW I and WW II (to a lesser degree) along this way:
WW II Memorial in Seren
WW I Memorial at the top
The Sacrario del Monte Grappa and la Madonna del Grappa (chapel on top of the Sacrario).
All 11 Monte Grappa routes end at the Rifugio Bassano a Cima Grappa which is a cafe with many outside chairs and tables and is frequented by many cyclists each day - this is a very popular Italian cycling destination. The Rifugio is just below the Sacrario del Monte Grappa which is a monumental burial site for approximately 20,000 of the Italian and Austrian soldiers who died in battle on the hillsides of Monte Grappa during World War I.
PJAMM 6 DAY 11 CLIMB MONTE GRAPPA CHALLENGE
Photos clockwise from top right: 8-27-16 Romano d’Ezzelino + Caupo;
8-28-16 Seren + Cismon; 8-29-16 Semonzo + Possagno
Photos clockwise from top right: 8-30-16 Alano + Fieta;
8-31-16 Pederobba + Cavaso del Tomba; 9-1-16 Crespano