From Clés to Tóvel, home to the brown bear
Malè – Tovel: km 32
By Train: Ferrovia Trento – Malè to Cles + by coach to Tovel
Five kilometres after crossing the breath-taking Mostizzòlo bridge comes Clés, the administrative centre of Val di Nòn. The little town boasts very ancient origins (its name seems to come from “ecclesiae”, i.e. churches). In 1869, digging a little to the north of Cles, a bronze plate was discovered, with a decree by the Roman Emperor Claudio (from Baia by Naples, 46 d. C.) confirming some privileges and the Roman citizenship to the Valley’s inhabitants (called Anàuni). Today Clés is a lively trading centre, with some tourist accommodations, set amidst intensive fruit growing lands. The little town offers three attractions: a castle - overlooking the lake - dating back to the 12th Century and inhabited by the noble Clés households (whose most famous member was Bernardo, Prince-Bishop of Trent from 1514 to 1539, and for a long time Prime Minister of King Ferdinand from Habsburg); the castle boasts large halls and some remains of remarkable paintings. The Parish church, dating back from the early 16th century, is the second attraction. Built in typical Cles Gothic, the church is characterised by an interesting reticulate vault; on the right-hand wall of the nave there is the gravestone of Giorgio Clés dating from 1490. The third interesting destination is the Palazzo Assessorile, reportedly existing as early as in 1356; it was rebuilt and frescoed during the 16th Century; the interior has many frescoed painted rooms, probably by Fogolino (1480-1540). A little downhill from the little town you’ll find the Lake of St. Giustina, a large artificial pond built for hydroelectric production (7.5 km long and 1.5 km large: the lake has a capacity of 172 million cubic metres water, whose power is harnessed by the Taio power station).
Four kilometres after leaving Clés, you’ll get to Tuenno (a fruit growing centre, boasting a peculiar double church dedicated to St. Orsola); a 11 km side road goes down to the Lake of Tóvel. Just before turning into the valley, where the torrent Tresénga flows, you’ll see the 16th Century gothic church of St. Emerenziana towering above a rocky cliff. Val di Tóvel winds up among the steep slopes of Mount Peller-Castellazzo and Cima Vallina to the North, and the cliffs of the northern walls of the Brenta range. In the mid part of the valley, over 17 km long, lies the Tovel lake (1 km long and almost 600 m large, at 1178 m above sea level). The lake is well known because of the reddening of its water, due to a local micro-organism. Unfortunately, the heavy anthropical presence in the area has brought about the loss of this peculiar feature. However, the lake remains a magnificent example of lake environment, reflecting fir trees and the Brenta cliffs. This area is one of the favourite habitats of the brown bear, that is being reintroduced with some individuals coming from Slovenia.

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