Duran Pass, one of the best kept secrets of the Dolomites

Facts

Location: Belluno Province, Italy

Length: 18.7 km

Wide: 5 m standard, 2 lanes with some narrow areas

Surface: asphalt

Surface quality (out of 5): 4

Highest point: 1.605 m

Operating times: throughout the year

SS 347 Strada Statale 347 del Passo Cereda e del Passo Duran

Route: La Valle Agordina – Zoldo Alto

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Description

Duran Pass (Italian: Passo Duran) is a secluded but charming mountain pass located in the province of Belluno, northeastern Italy. Reaching a high point of 1.605 m, it connects the comune of La Valle Agordina with Zoldo Alto, a small village of only 915 inhabitants.

Passo Duran is located in the Dolomites mountains, one of the most appreciated and visited areas in Italy. The Dolomites, also known as the “Pale Mountains”, received their name from the carbonate rock dolomite, which has a white color and is composed mainly of calcium and magnesium.

The road to the pass, called Strada Statale 347 del Passo Cereda e del Passo Duran (SS 347), is a  spectacular mountain road connecting the picturesque Italian regions of Fiera di Primiero, Trento Province with Venas di Cadore in the Province of Belluno. Following this route over a distance of 78 km,  you will encounter several high mountain passes including the Cereda Pass and Passo Duran, from which the road received its name.

Starting from La Valle Agordina, the ascent is 18.7 km long. Over this distance, the climb has an average gradient of 8.1%, with peaks of 15% on some parts of the road.

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Duran Pass offers a quiet and scenic drive and is often used in the famous Giro d’Italia competition due to the challenge it poses, particularly on its descent. The pass is also an ideal transition or departure point for many of the fascinating hikes found in the Dolomites that can be approached either by car, foot or mountain bike.

After driving a distance of 7.1 km from La Valle Agordina, you will reach the top of the pass. Here you can admire the impressive Monte Pelmo, a mountain of enormous proportions and one of the great rock domes of the Bellunese Dolomites, with a height of 3.168 m.  

At the summit you will also find small church with an interesting design and two inns: Rifugio Tomé and Rifugio San Sebastiano, which provide basic accommodation and meals to passing tourists.

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However, this fascinating drive isn’t over yet: after another 11.7 km, you will reach the village of Zoldo Alto, well known in the area for its beautiful scenery and homemade Italian ice cream called “Gelato”,  made by local artisans in their workshops.

Finally, another important fact to mention about Zoldo Alto is that it provides world class tourist services, both in summer and in winter and, despite its small size, is one of the main gateways to the popular resort of Civetta, a ski area providing to winter sport lovers over 80 km of slopes. 

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Photos: panoramio.com, silvia-kurt.de, ytimg.com, blogspot.com

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