The Lagazuoi Tunnels (Dolomites): Hiking Down a Mountain and Inside It

Sep 26, 2017 813

BY: Silvia Donati

Ask a claustrophobic to descend a dark, 1100m-long tunnel excavated inside a mountain and the most likely reaction will be a look of horrified panic. This scene played out recently during my vacation. I had joined a group tour for a one-week trek in the Dolomites, the famous mountain range in the northern Italian Alps, a beloved hikers’ playground.

Our guide was giving us the usual evening briefing about the excursion of the next day. The tunnel he referred to was part of the Lagazuoi Tunnels complex, a total of 11 tunnels excavated during World War I in an area that was on the Austrian-Italian border. And the claustrophobic in question was me. Not that there wasn’t another way to descend from the 2800m Lagazuoi, but it involved a cable car and that prospect, to me, a devout hiker, was definitely more horrifying than the dark, cramped descent. My legs would take me down, not a mechanical thing, no doubt about that. 

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