To Reinhold Messner’s Tibetan Collection and along the Waalweg to Kastelbell/Castelbello. The Sonnenberg/Monte Sole in Vinschgau/Venosta Valley has very low levels of precipitation and is therefore quite barren. The vegetation on the sunlit south-facing slopes is almost steppe-like. Farmers therefore built a large-scale irrigation system to protect their fields from drying out. These distinctive climate conditions have also shaped the fauna and flora of this sunny mountain landscape. The fresh humidity we encounter at the archaic rock faces of Juval Castle Hill provides a clear contrast at the entrance to the valley at Schnals/Senales.
We travel uphill to Juval Castle by shuttle bus. The castle was built in the 13th century on the site of a prehistoric settlement at the mouth of Schnalstal/Val Senales. Reinhold Messner purchased the ruins in 1983; he had the entire site renovated and established there one of the five Messner Mountain Museums (MMM) on the theme of the “Mountain Myth”. With a bit of luck we might even encounter the host in his residential castle.
Our hike begins on the Tscharser Schnalswaal which offers breathtaking views and features several unique landmarks, such as the typical “Waalschelle” or irrigation channel bell and the “Waalerhütte” or irrigation channel watchman’s hut. A second Waalweg begins above Tschars/Ciardes and leads us beneath the ruins of Hochgalsaun Castle to Kastelbell/Castelbello; from here we can continue on the Latschander Waalweg to Latsch/Laces.
Route rating/description: hike
Mountain range: Sonnenberg/Monte Sole (Vinschgau/Val Venosta)
Length: 12 km
Time of ascent: 3 ½ hours
Highest point: 890 m
Elevation gain: 310 m
Ideal time of year: April to November