Yellow Trail on the Via Alpina

One end of the Yellow Trail starts in Trieste near the ocean and then heads towards the heart of Western Europe. Trieste is an old port city in north-eastern Italy on the border with Slovenia, located at the top of the Gulf of Trieste on the Adriatic Sea.

Though it’s a relatively small city with a population of just over 200,000 as of 2007, its rich history has been shaped by its location at the busy crossroads of the Latin, Germanic, and Slavic cultures. Trieste was the 4th largest city and an important center of literature and music of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the beginning of the 1900’s. But the ultimate total collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire resulted in Italy annexing Trieste after World War I, leading to a steady decline of its economic and cultural importance. Today, the population is a charming and eclectic mix of each of the neighboring ethnicities.

After leaving the city of Trieste your scenery on the Via Alpina Yellow Trail will be punctuated by ancient ruins from various time periods and natural monuments like caves and deep gorges. As you enter the southern Carnic Alps the Yellow Trail crosses several older paths which offer many options to create a circular “out and back” jaunt in combination with the Red Trail. The Yellow Trail then veers north after arriving in the multicultural city of Bolzano; or a nice side-trip is to link up to the Stelvio National Park towards the west. If you chose this option you can still rejoin the Via Alpina’s Red Trail while remaining on the southern side of the Alps.

The trail crosses the Niederjoch Pass close to the site where “Ötzi the Iceman” was discovered frozen in the glacier in September of 1991. “Ötzi the Iceman”is the name given by researchers to the very well-preserved natural mummy of a man who lived around 3300 BC, or about 53 centuries ago! He is believed to be the oldest natural human mummy in all of Europe.