— Conegliano Valdobbiadene


Amid streams and ancient watermills

The Via dell’Acqua is a splendid walk immersed in a beautiful natural setting surrounded by drinking fountains, streams, waterfalls and ancient watermills

By Vanessa Val

The Via dell’Acqua (The Water Trail) is a 2.5 km walk of special natural and historical interest. It starts from Cison di Valmarino and wends its way up the Rujo stream to reach the Bosco delle Penne Mozze (The Forest of Severed Feathers). The walk affords surprising views at every turn that will impress even the most demanding of visitors, and provides valuable insights into local history within a beautiful natural setting. The route explores an area which, until early last century, was home to many of the village of Cison’s artisans, and reveals their close ties with water: along the walk you can admire renovated ancient wash houses, drinking fountains, water channels, sluice gates and ancient watermills.

The walk starts in the beautiful Piazza Roma in Cison di Valmarino and ascends the Rujo stream valley. The route is clearly waymarked and the first sign is at the Ponte dei Sassi bridge, which you then cross. The entire circuit is waymarked with similar signs to ensure you stay on track. There are two routes: an easier one with yellow waymarkings, and a slightly harder alternative with blue waymarkings. Both routes are the same until the Bosco delle Penne Mozze, and then you have a choice. Below, we describe the yellow walk, which is the easier of the two. Some detours are possible along the way and the Bosco delle Penne Mozze is within easy reach.

A short walk leads to a stone bridge, which offers splendid views of a magnificent period house. Cross this to reach Via Serenissima (on the left) and the beginning of the Via dei Mulini (The Street of the Watermills). Continue along the asphalt road, passing the house of the Via dei Mulini Association. Shortly after this you’ll see an information board displaying a map of the route and the first fountain. Continue up the asphalt road which then becomes cobbled, following th Camminando per volare signs which clearly mark the walk. Reach a sharp bend and turn left, leaving the cobbled street to continue along a dirt track which almost immediately leads back onto a village street.

After passing a watermill, you start ascending damp rocks
and reach a sculpture of a woman. Head left following the signs. Now continue along a flat stretch following a well-trodden path flanked by a water channel. Soon after you will come to an enchanting spot with flowing water and the Pissol water fall set amid lush greenery. Continue on to reach a wooden footbridge flanked by totem-style sculptures. Cross these waterfalls easily, following the well-protected wooden walkways which also have handrails.

The route becomes flat or gently ascending and wends its way across bridges and between rocks. Cross another wooden bridge to reach an interesting tree, half collapsed, most likely as a result of wind or lightning. Its myriad branching roots create a truly fascinating pattern.

Continue along beneath the shade of a wooded section and reach a large meadow. On the left is a bridge with an iron barrier. Just beyond this is a car park and the Bosco delle Penne Mozze, a moving memorial that commemorates the Province of Treviso’s Alpini soldiers who have been lost in battle. This is the halfway point and an ideal spot to take a short break. Next briefly follow the asphalt road that returns down to Cison di Valmarino, and then re-enter the woods at a point clearly indicated by the now-familiar waymarkings (at this point recall that we are describing the yellow route). Ignore the various trails that branch off towards San Gaetano, which may cause confusion. The trail is not always clear along this grassy section and some of the waymarkers are missing, but just keep parallel to the main road which can be seen below you and to your left throughout this section. Continue on until the trail joins the asphalt road and follow this for a short stretch to reach the restaurant Baita alle Grotte. This also has tables and benches outside. At this point you can choose to continue down the asphalt road to the car park or head back into the woods following the waymarking situated across the road from the restaurant.

Photo credits Joe Murador.

[Article originally published in Visit Conegliano Valdobbiadene magazine Spring Summer 2024. The entire magazine is available here]