Arsiera - The ancient mining village
- Difficulty: Easy, for families
- Length: 3.680 m
- Precision time: 2 h
A pleasant forestry road climbs up briefly beside the Cervegàna stream and allows you to reach the uninhabited village of Arsiera, whose name is linked to the galena and blende mines. Go back down to the stream to go to Cornigiàn, from where you head back to the starting point along the old Passo Cibiana road.
Passo Cibiana’s provincial road 347, two kilometres after Fornesighe and shortly before Cornigian, crosses the Cervegàna stream. Leave your car here (1.122m), in the small space just beyond the barrier which closes off traffic from the forestry road which climbs up the stream in a north easterly direction. Follow this and further on, level with a small tabià, the road branches off. Head up to the left where the road narrows into a path and becomes increasingly steeper. It then climbs up towards east and pops out on to the meadows below the village of Arsiera (1.333 m, 45 mins).
The village has ancient farming origins (XIVth century) and is characterised by a favourable climate, (with a sunny exposure and well protected from north winds) it is also known for the nearby galena and blende mines, and its entrance is situated just above the village. Arsiera was inhabited until the middle of the twentieth century when the last resident abandoned the village. For the return it is worth choosing the path which descends towards the south, returning to the level of the stream beside another tabià. Follow the little road for a short while till you find a small bridge on the left which crosses the Cervegàna stream, and leads to the path which climbs up quite steeply to Cornigiàn, a small village situated on the edge of the provincial road 347 (1.220 m, 30 mins, bar-restaurant).
At this point descend in a southerly direction reaching a little road to the right which leads to the ex-colony and from here take the path which leads, in a few minutes, to the starting point. As an alternative to the previous itinerary, you can continue along the provincial road walking past the small group of houses and passing by the casera Pian de Levina (agriturismo) and continue with a wide loop back to the starting point (45 mins).
Val Inferna mines
The access tunnels of the Val Inferna mines (approx.1490-1550 m) are above Arsìera on the slopes of Col Dur, where argentiferous minerals were extracted, mainly blenda (ZnS) and galena (PbS), from which zinc and lead are obtained. The first document which mentioned these mines is the concession for exploitation granted in 1368 by the patriarch of Aquileia to Cristoforo Vecellio from Cadore (even if some maintain it was already exploited in the XIth century), together with the use of the woods on Monte Rite for charcoal to feed the smelt furnaces. These mines, despite various events, remained active until 1880 and were the richest and longest-living in the Zoldo Valley. Other seams of galena and blende can be found at Astragàl, Brusadaz, on Sass de Formedàl and monte Punta; there were some modest sites extracting iron (but not sufficient to feed the blast furnaces of the valley) at Sottorogno and Pècol.
[contents: Unione montana Longaronese Cadore Zoldo]