Among the small number of alpine valleys that still have a noticeable agricultural vocation, despite the boom of tourism, there is the Non Valley, a vast and marvelous amphitheatre of fruit trees and woods, framed by mountains featuring the peaks of the Maddalene and of the Brenta Group. It is an ideal place for anyone desiring to spend a pleasant stay far from tourist chaos, maybe with a walk through the woods looking for mushrooms or along the scarcely populated mountain tracks, and for those wishing to discover the historical and cultural roots of the places where they are staying.
Its small towns - which often have strange names such as Brez, Sfruz, Cloz - are rich in history and important artifacts belonging to the past. They are characterized by their simple cuisine based on ancient and traditional tastes, as well as by advanced fruit-farming, an example of which are the famous Valle di Non apples.
Brez is a small district, with a population of slightly over one thousand, that rises on a morainal terrace at 800 m a.s.l.. The oldest quarter of the town, Rivo, is arranged according to the rustic-noble architectural plan that is typical of this valley. Starting from the central square there are several valuable buildings such as the De Avancini house, with its corner tower and the sun clock made in 1697, its fašade with a mullioned window with two lights and a stone door with the emblem of the Zuech family and, further out in the hamlet of Arsio, the gothic church of Saint Florianus.
After crossing the national road, a few kilometers onwards, one reaches Fondo, a most attractive and renowned tourist resort. Starting from downtown, full of buildings and churches of great artistic value, one passes under a stone arch and, next to the ancient washing houses, one reaches a track through a wonderful 50 meter-deep canyon. In about 20 minutes it is possible to arrive at Emerald Lake, a suggestive artificial lake surrounded by a perfectly cared-for garden that welcomes tourists during the summer and that during winter turns into a nice skating rink.
Northwards along the national road No. 238 of Palade Pass, after turning on to the road that leads to Tret and then proceeding on foot one can visit the small Lake Santa Maria. A small effort of about half an hour is rewarded by the enchanting scenario of this mountain lake, immersed in the wood and surrounded by a thick cane-brake. Should this be insufficiently wonderful, we recommend you proceed another ten meters to taste, in the refuge standing above the lake, incomparable omelets stuffed with cranberry jam.
After coming back down, the national road No. 238 offers Several other attractions, such as a visit to Madonna di Senale (1335 m a.s.l.), an old Tyrolean town situated on the border between Trentino and South Tyrol, with its typical mountain barns (masi), that hosts the oldest Marian sanctuary of the Trentino-South Tyrol region. In the Middle Ages, pilgrims, crusaders and tradesmen who passed through Palade Pass used to stay at this sanctuary-hospice, situated in a green valley. The worshipped wooden statue of Our Lady dates back to the 14th century and portrays the Virgin who sits like a queen with the Child on her lap.
A few minutes away there is Palade Pass (1512 m a.s.l.), that marks the northern geographical border, but not the administative one, of the Non valley. Mountain lovers should not miss track No. 133 that after a few hours' walk, reaches the top of Mount Luco, offering a wonderful view of the Maddalene mountain range.