The marks of a difficult past in Pejo
Malè – Pejo – Forte Barba di Fior: km 32,5
The road from Malé to Pejo (some 30 km. long) is an easy and evocative one. The village, boasting pre-historical origins, looks like a magnificent panoramic balcony, offering an enchanting view over the Brenta range. As you enter the village you’ll get to an animal wildlife centre, where you can have an opportunity to observe the peaceful inhabitants of the Stelvio National Park, including deer and roe deer. In this area it is rather common to observe the golden eagle or the bearded vulture gliding, especially if you take a cable car to reach the foot of the snow-clad Ortles-Cevedale range, at the foot of mount Vióz (m. 3645). The thick forests and the little lakes that the hiker finds along the way convey the idea of a friendly and caring nature.
A few minutes away from Pejo a tree-covered hill - named Dosso di St. Rocco, houses a chapel dedicated to the Saint protecting the plague victims (early 16th Century) and an Austrian-Hungarian war cemetery, where over 100 soldiers from different countries were buried, victims of the WW1 (1914-1918) battles waged along the nearby battlefront of the so-called “White War”. A grey stone pyramid, built in 1916, stands up as a warning against the nonsense of war making.
From St. Rocco, at the beginning of Val del Monte, you will see the ruins of a fort built at the beginning of the 20th Century: this is the so-called Forte Barba di Fior, easily accessible along the road that winds up towards the Pian Palù dam. Turning onto a pathway going across the river Noce, it is possible to climb up to the solid military building. Right opposite, along the other side of the valley, it is still possible to walk up along an old military road going up to mount Vegaia where, during the war, some Austrian-Hungarian military camps were erected.
Pejo not only boasts some war memories: the church dedicated to St. Giorgio houses magnificent carved and gold-plated wooden altars (the main altar dates back to the 16th Century). The bell tower has a huge image of St. Cristoforo, that was frescoed by the Baschènis in 1484, and bears witness both to the talents of artists who lived a long time ago, and to the solid devotion of the valley’s people.

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