Lovers of challenges will certainly not be discouraged by the longest stairway in Italy and (among those open to the public) in the world. 4,444 steps to climb before getting to the top of the Calà del Sasso. Dug entirely in the rock, with a rise of over 700 metres, the stairway is a 7 km route which takes on average four and a half hours to do there and back, quite demanding, suitable for all but with certain precautions depending on the season. A route which links the comune of Valstagna with the community of Sasso di Asiago, its interest is not limited to the fields of sport and nature but also history and legend.
The Calà ("descent") was actually created in the 14th Century under the rule of Gian Galeazzo Visconti to enable an easier route when transporting tree trunks, an activity which had been the source of support for the whole valley for a long time. The woodcutters, after having dragged the trunks down to the valley, moving them along the channel which flanks the stairway, could reprovision themselves with food and essential goods in the village of Valstagna.
The Calà del Sasso was further extensively used by the Venetians from the 15th to the 18th Centuries to resupply the Arsenal with wood for shipbuilding. A love story is also connected with the stairway. It is the story of the husband and wife to be, Loretta and Nicolò, which sees the bride saved from death thanks to her lover who manages to bring back a miraculous unguent by travelling the Calà del Sasso. For this reason it is also called the Lovers' Stairway.This love story is commemorated every second Sunday in August with a torchlight procession.
Visits to the history museums of Valstagna can be added to the excursion: the Oliero Paper Mill Museum, former centre of paper production, the A. Parolini Museum of Speleology and Karst, and the Canal di Brenta Ethnographic Museum. Don't miss the annual Palio delle Zattere raft race on the penultimate Sunday in July.
The tour operator suggests:
Excursion along the trail, possibility of visiting the 3 museums mentioned, overnight stay in double room and B&B service, packed lunch, traditional dinner in a restaurant of the area. Cost from € 120,00 a head.