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Alta Via del Tabacco

The Open-Air Museum

Depart: Costa
Arrive: Ca’ Michiel di Bassano del Grappa
Walk time: 4 hours Costa-Valstagna section; 6 h Valstagna – Campolongo section; 4h 30 Campolongo – Bassano Ca’ Michiel section. Can be walked from north to south or vice versa.
Difficulty: experience of mountain walking required; an excursion of a challenging length
Information: CAI Bassano del Grappa

The Alta Via is a path created by connecting mule tracks and existing paths used by Brenta Valley folk to connect settlements up on the slopes for neighbourly visits, to collect firewood or bring in the hay and for normal inter-family relations. Many of these places and paths witnessed the epic adventures of the eighteenth and nineteenth century tobacco smugglers being chased by customs officers.
The Alta Via runs through many of the ‘masière’ terraces (dry stone walls, from the Latin ‘maceria’) once used to cultivate tobacco.

In normal weather conditions there are few problems and the track does not present major technical difficulties, although walkers must tackle several up-and-down sections, often with a steep gradient.
However, this is not a tourist path and walkers must remember that many sections run through the dark valleys of the north-facing peaks, which are always very wet with slippery paths.