So, I’ve been living in Italy for nearly 8 weeks now and honestly no one has any idea where I am in this country. I’ve been living in this tiny town about an hour and fifteen minutes north of Venice…so yeah I’m pretty far into Italy. My wonderful little town goes by the name of Paderno del Grappa and is made up of around 2000 Italians, 100 Americans, 1 school campus taking up most of the town, 1 pharmacy, 1 pizzeria, and a Sports Bar on the school campus. Surprisingly enough, and anyone from good old Marion, IA might think this is in no way possible, this tiny little town has THREE roundabouts and they are thriving!
Anyways, the fun part about living in this town is that my neighbor is pretty much a massive mountain that goes by the name of Monte Grappa. It’s a beautiful sight to wake up to every single morning, but this weekend I was lucky enough to have the chance to hike this mountain! After 8 weeks of looking at it, I was confident I could take on the treacherous hike to the top and ready to see the views it had to offer.
Some background on Monte Grappa to start. Monte Grappa is right next to the Dolomites, which is the southern part of the Alps. Monte Grappa itself has a lot of history during the World War I time period. During the war, the Austrians entered Italy and tried to get to the peak of Monte Grappa to pretty much take control of Italy. This meeting point of Italians and Austrians resulted in massive losses on both sides, and now stands a beautiful World War I Memorial at the peak of the mountain. It is one of the most beautiful memorials I have ever had the chance to visit.
The hike itself was something I was never going to be prepared for. One of our amazing professors in our program, Mr. Simone Bigolin, is a hiker and was more than willing and excited to take a group of us up the mountain. He warned us how long it would take, but that didn’t really set in until we were actually hiking. Simone was extremely proud of us because we made great time in getting to the top of the mountain…3 hours!!! Yeah you read that right, I hiked up a mountain for 3 hours. We started at about 2000 ft above sea level and made our way up to nearly 6000 ft above sea level. We went from sweating and having the sun beat down on us while we climbed trails of rocks for 2 hours, to freezing and climbing snow and ice trails for the last hour. There were hard, hard times, but it was so worth every second of that climb. When we got to the top, there was the memorial a little further up and a restaurant there, too. We REALLY enjoyed that meal at the top of the mountain, let me tell you.
Although it was a hard hike, I really did love every second of it and want to begin hiking more. The views at the top of this mountain were unbelievable, and I can now say I’ve hiked up the big beauty that is Monte Grappa!