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Alleghe is famous all over the world for its legendary “wall of walls”, the Civetta massif.
A picturesque village in the Dolomites overlooking the lake of the same name, Alleghe stands at 979 metres above sea level on the slopes of the magnificent Monte Civetta (3220 m). The name Alleghe probably derives from the Ladin ‘alica’ or ‘alicarius’, meaning ‘granary’ or upper part of the house, once used as storage for wheat and straw: the name’s Ladin origin appears to be confirmed by some Roman inscriptions dated circa 1st century AD carved into the rocks near Monte Fernazza and thought to be indications of the border between ancient provinces.
Lake Alleghe is the result of a large-scale catastrophic event in the 18th century: in 1771 a vast quantity of rocks from Monte Piz (on the right-hand bank of the Cordevole valley) fell into the river below, blocking its flow and causing the immediate destruction of three villages (Riete, Fusine and Marin) and the deaths of some fifty people. Flooding the valley bottom, the water eventually formed the lake as we know it today, submerging the remains of the villages, including the Sommariva castle. The Venice Republic, which owned the Alleghe territory, investigated the possibility of draining the mass of water in the new lake, but the skills available at the time, the distance to the site of the landslide and the logistical complexity persuaded the engineers from the Serenissima to desist from their efforts; the only thing to do was to rebuild the village further downstream, where Alleghe now stands. Today the lake is a considerable tourist attraction and a valuable resource for Alleghe: visitors can take a delightful boat or pedalo trip on the water, and the perimeter offers an easy and scenic walk, complete with picnic areas, taking an hour and a half and suitable for all the family.
A classic destination for the pioneers of mountaineering, Alleghe today is still popular with keen rock climbers eager to take the challenge of breathtaking climbs of the celebrated north-west face of Civetta, known worldwide as the “kingdom of grade sixes”.
In recent years Alleghe is experiencing a period of intense development in terms of cycle tourism: thanks to its central location, Alleghe is a sought-after destination for road cycling teams, who can test themselves on the nearby mountain passes, and also for mountain bike enthusiasts, who find the slopes of Civetta to be an enormous fun park.