Here we are in Val di Funes: a natural paradise with fascinating woods and grazing lands at the feet of the Odle (that in Ladin language signifies “needles”). The Alpine Pearl of Funes is not inly a fascinating place near the Unesco Heritage Natural Park Puez-Odle, this little alpine village is also an example of sustainability, soft mobility and responsible tourism between the Alps. Here’s the 10 green experience to do not miss into the alpine pearl fo Funes:

1. Falling in love with the perfect landscape of Val di Funes

Falling in love with the perfect landscape of Val di Funes
A journey into the fascinating landscape of Val di Funes – picture of S. Ombellini

Above us a fascinating ladscape into the natural wonders of the Odle. We arrive into the Alpine Pearl of Funes Villnoess with a quiet electric car “Alpine Pearls”. Into the hearth of the little village of San Pietro we meet our guide. A long beard, an alpine hat and a nice look, Günther Pernthaler, a ship farmer, guided us for a walk toward the authentic landscape of Val di Funes, from an alpine cottage to another to discover the typical flavours. 

Just few walks and we are outside the small village San Pietro surrounded by soft grazings, trees and the beauty of the Dolomites as a background. Thanks to the stubbornness of the citizens, Val di Funes does not have ski lift and building speculation.  Here there are only second homes and the old huts were restored using old materials and local manpower. 

Over the fields the “ships with glasses” or the “alpine grey cows” are grazing, two ancient races that the Alpine Pearl of Funes has preserved until today. Günther explained us that during the 90’s the “ships with the glasses” were disappearing: “ there were only two hundred ships…today they are approximately seven hundred and they are an important economical element of the valley”. A uniqueness of the place and a typical slow food that is proposed into the best restaurant of Val di Funes. Agriculture and landscape, livestock and tourism live together in perfect harmony. Who better than a local shepherd could tell us? 

This is the perfect experience: for the nature, landscape and photography lovers. You can book a guided tour with the shepherd Günther Pernthaler at the ATP of Val di Funes (phone 0472 840 180, info@funes.info)

2. Following the flavor path from hut to hut

We walk from San Pietro in the direction of Gsoi and then toward the Hut Drockerhof. A panoramic and sunny path to discover the authentic flavors of Val di Funes. Flavors that you will find while opening the doors of a hut and the big wooden table will be full with colors and aromas. The owners cut the speck or the cheese and in the meanwhile they tell us their projects of sustainable agriculture. This cheer is so flavored because the goats are eating only grass of the mountain pasture. And then there is the speck smoked at home into a special room (that you can visit), the home made black bread, the elder juice, the white wine and the just picked raspberries…the sustainable agriculture is an important choice for the local farmers: the livestock is only fed with the grass of the grazing or with the hay in winter and the puppies are grown with 100% of milk’s mother. A quality that you can taste in these products. 

This is the perfect experience: for the greediest, who wants to discover the typical products, the aromas and the authentic tastes of the Alps. 

3. Discovering the wonders of the soil visiting the center of the Natural Park Puez-Odle 

Discovering the wonders of the soil visiting the center of the Natural Park Puez-Odle

A break at the Visit center of the Natural Park of Puez-Odle is mandatory to discover different subjects regarding the territory. Through the expositive space “touching the mountains” we learn about the geology of the Dolomites and the history of the soil. In the section “Wonders of the nature” we discover the animals and the herbs.  We touch the fur and the horns of the deers, we listen the calls during the mating season and we discover several curiosities of the animals and of the plants of the Alps. In the room “Conquer the mountains”, finally, we enter in contact with the  climbing history and Reinhold Messner.

It is the perfect experience: for the children that will love this small interactive museum, rich in touching minerals, drawers to open and buttons to push…but also for the nature and alpine culture lovers. 

4. Following Messner’s tracks  

Following Messner's tracks in Val di Funes

Once upon a time, in a isolated village of Val di Funes, a special child was born. He had eight brothers and the father was the teacher of the village, whereas the mother was caring about the ships and chickens. After the school, he used to help the parents in the countryside works and during the holidays he used to bring the ships between in the grazing on the breathless mountains. For his birthday, the father decided to gave him a gift: he tied him with a rope and he brought him over one of the most beautiful peak. From that point the child could admire the alpine mountains of the whole region and he understood that this horizon of clouds and peaks would become his destiny. The name of the child was Reinhold Messner and he would become the best alpinist of the world. 

The history of Val di Funes is linked with the adventures of that child, born in the year 1944 in the village of Santa Maddalena, in Val di Funes. Today, after having climbed the highest peaks of the planet, Messner thinks that the grazings of Val di Funes where he lived his childhood are the most beautiful landscapes. 

For the climb lovers, the equipped trail Günther Messner ( dedicated to the brother of Reinhold, passed away during the expedition on the Nanga Part) is an alpinist trail with some equipped steps at over 2.600 meters. The trail surrounds the Odle of Eores, inside the natural park Puez-Odel. A wonderful adventure into the nature, with the magnificent memories of the flavors of the wood and the extraordinary landscapes. 

This is the perfect experience: for the advanced hikers. The altitude differences of the Günther Messner trail (link in Italian) are not to much difficult, but the trail lasts from 6 to 8 hours. 

5. A walk to San Giovanni Church 

A walk to San Giovanni Church, Val di Funes, South Tyrol, Italy

 

The church of San Giovanni in Ranui is a little jewel of baroque architecture. At the feet of the Odle and surrounded by the nature, it gives a unique charme to the whole landscape transforming it into one of the most suggestive of the Dolomites. Inside you can admire one of the most significant work: a marbled wood altar with two particular paintings.

This is the perfect experience: for everyone. A simple walk suitable also for the children. 

6. Meeting the animals 

Val di Funes, Meeting ta donkey

Funny donkeys, ships with the glasses and alpine grey cows. During the walk in Val di Funes the meetings can be several and very interesting for the children (or animals lovers) that would not leave the new friends. 

The return of the cows from the alpine pastures is a celebration occasion. Cowbells rings, funny cows and dressed up farmers and shepherds. During the last week of September the locals celebrate the return of the cows from the alpine pastures. A celebration full of joy and happiness where you can taste the typical south tyrol meals, listen to the traditional music and attend the typical dancers “Schuhplattler” and the folkloristic exhibitions of the “Goaslschnöller”. 

This is the perfect experience: for the animals lovers, children and who wants to discover the ancient local traditions. 

7. Visiting San Pietro and Duomo della Valle 

Visiting San Pietro and Duomo della Valle in Val di Funes, South Tyrol, Italy
“Duomo della Valle”, the interior of San Pietro church in Val di Funes – picture of S. Ombellini

Here we are in the village of San Pietro at approximately 1130 meters of altitude. 630 inhabitants, the center of the village that is bigger than Funes is near the impressive church sanctified for the Apostles Pietro and Paolo. For the enormous dimensions and the bulbiform of 65 meters, this church is called “Duomo della Valle”. Inside there are the fascinating international gothic paintings of the south tyrol artist Joseph Schöpf. Near the church, in the center of San Pietro, a mandatory step is the café of the Kabis hotel, with the beautiful sunny overview terrace. 

This is the perfect experience: for the art lovers and who is looking for an authentic atmosphere of a little mountain village. 

8. Discovering  the mineralogical museum of Tiso

Once in Val di Funes, you can not miss the visit of the beautiful Mineralogical Museum of Tiso. Even if not so big, the experience is very nice. A modern and lighting place where you can admire the extraordinary collection of Paul Fischanaller. The introduction video explains to the visitors the characteristics of the minerals of the museum. They organize also guided excursions to discover the geodes, equipped with chisel, helmet and hammer. 

This experience is perfect: for everybody, from the geology lovers to the children.

9. Admiring the Odle at the sunset starting from Malga Zannes

Val di Funes, Admiring the Odle at the sunset starting from Malga Zannes
The pinnacles of Odle at the sunset

 The Hut Zannes is the starting point of several walks from which you can admire the natural beauty of the Odle. Here there are the most fascinating places to take a picture of sharp mountaintops of these dolomites elevations. During the sunsets, who had the opportunity to admire the reflections of the sun on the rock sides, will never forget this natural wonder. This is the moment when the dark conifer woods seems in fire, while clefts and ravines shine with a golden light. Pure magic. 

This is the perfect experience: for the photo and nature lovers. For a romantic evening. 

10. Participating to the Speck Festival 


In Val di Funes hosts 40 small local producers of speck. A unique and kilometer zero product that represents this valley. In fact, in 2002 the farmers of Funes have created the Speck Festival. It is a big village celebration that takes place every year over a big green field near Santa Maddalena. Of course, a lot of music and local speck base meals.

This is the perfect experience: for the local and typical gastronomy lovers, for the children and the families.

Where to sleep in Val di Funes

Ready for the green adventure in the Alpine Pearl of Funes?

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