Passo San Boldo is a mountain pass located between the two small villages of Trichiana and Tovena, in the region of Veneto in Northern Italy. Originally the name of the pass was Passo Sant’Ubaldo, or Umbaldopass, since it has been built by the Austrians. The name comes from a man that was living in the area, a Spanish hermit called Boldo, that afterwards became a saint . It was built in 1918 and was a logistic transportation opera by the Austrians during the First World War. The pass has in fact been created answering to the need of people to move from one place to the other, without wasting too much time. It is incredible how the works were completed in only three months. War prisoners and local people were pressed to help building it. It was a very huge project for that period!
The pass connects the two valleys of Valbelluna and Valmareno, and lies at an elevation of 706 metres (2,316 ft). The traffic goes only in one direction, and the passage is regulated by several traffic lights. It is very important to keep in mind the height limit of vehicles allowed to get into the tunnels, since it is not that uncommon to have some trucks getting stuck into the passage. In total there are 5 tunnels carved into the rock, and the entire street going through the pass to the lower valley counts 18 numbered hairpin curves. The road is stunning! It is a sight that you will find nowhere else.
A popular destination
During the summer period, it is very popular for visitors coming from Germany and Austria to drive down to Italy and pass through Passo San Boldo riding vintage cars. The street is perfectly asphalted, and it is also a beloved training path for cyclists of the valley. At the top of the pass you can find few charming local restaurants where to stop and have a meal or just a drink. The Osteria alla Muda offers very traditional dishes of the region, and the restaurant Laris is a popular meeting point for hikers and mountain lovers.
Sometimes the pass can be dangerous due to the difficult climate conditions, especially in winter when the snow can reach very high levels. But it is pure beauty. You just have to be careful paying attention and everything will be alright. It is a very unique experience, and the natural landscape surrounding Passo San Boldo is a very good reason to take a day off and visit it!
Photo by Antonio Rossi