First race: 7th February 1971, 65 km, 1157 registered
Highest number of participants in main race: record of entries 7.570 (2013)
Worldloppet membership: founding member
The idea of the Marcialonga goes back a long way. In 1969, fired by the brilliant performance of Franco Nones in Grenoble Olympic Games the year before, in which he took the Gold Medal for the Men’s 30 km, Italian athletes officially took part in Vasaloppet for the first time. Giulio Giovannini and Roberto Moggio managed to cross the finish line and the year after they were followed in the expedition by Nele Zorzi and Mario Cristofolini. As enthusiasm mounted, there came the idea of creating something similar, adding typical Italian warmth, seasoned with lots of imagination to the exertion of covering such long distances. The first problem was “where” to hold an event of this size and the two valleys of Fiemme and Fassa immediately came to mind. Here in the Italian cradle of cross-country skiing, the four founders were supported by a determined team of collaborators later to be joined by new volunteers. There was therefore a good basis from the organisational point of view and traditional parochialism was soon put aside in the desire to work together towards a single goal. Finally, it was decided. The first race was to be held in 1971, the year in which the F.I.S.I. (Italian Winter Sport Association) celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. But what should it be called? In the end the name “Marcialonga” or Long March was chosen as it was felt to neatly encapsulate the idea of the hard work and friendly competition of the athletes as well as the involvement of the spectators of such great event. On 7th February 1971, the Fiemme and Fassa valleys heard the echo of the gun shot which signalled the start of the first Marcialonga, destined to revolutionise the history and traditions of cross-country skiing.
After more than 40 years, Marcialonga has become an event not to be missed in the world of winter sports.
The classic course starts on the plain of Moena, Val di Fassa, and finishes in Cavalese, Val di Fiemme. After the start, it climbs towards the villages of Soraga, Vigo, Pozza, Campitello and Canazei, where competitors then turn round. Nearly twenty kilometres of gentle but continuous climbing means that the early part of the competition is definitely tough. After Canazei, the course begins to go downhill, returning to Moena and going on towards Predazzo, before starting the last part which goes through the villages of Ziano, Panchià, Lago di Tesero, Masi di Cavalese, Castello-Molina. Then comes the hardest part, the most difficult stretch, also because at this point competitors have covered more that 65 kilometres and are beginning to feel the effects. The outcome of the Marcialonga has generally been decided on the Cascata climb. Along this stretch the crowd becomes excited watching these extraordinary athletes. The final part of the course, in the centre of Cavalese, is simply there to glorify the skier destined to win the race.
HOW TO GET TO MARCIALONGA:
The nearest airports are:
Bolzano airport – km 46
Verona Valerio Catullo airport – km 160
Venice Marco Polo airport – km 220
Milan airport – km 330
Bergamo Orio al Serio airport – 250
Innsbruck airport (Austria) – km 170
Munich airport (Germany) – km 310
From the airports you can rent a car or catch a taxi or a bus.
By train: The nearest railway stations are Ora (24 km), Bolzano (42 km) and Trento (60 km). These stations are connected to the Fiemme and Fassa valleys by daily buses, managed by the service companies Trentino Trasporti (Trento) and SAD (Bolzano and Ora). Bus tickets can be bought directly on the bus. From the train stations you can rent a car or catch a taxi or a bus.
By car: From the Brennero/Modena motorway (A22) take the Egna/Ora (BZ) exit, following national road no. 48 the Dolomites State Road (S.S. 48) for about 24 km to Cavalese and 44 km to Moena. From Venice/Ponte delle Alpi motorway (A27) take the exit to Belluno, then take the S.S. 203 to Agordo and the S.P. 346 to Passo San Pellegrino - Moena (Val di Fassa), from where it is then possible to take the S.S.48 that links the valley.
INTERESTING TO KNOW ABOUT
The Fassa and Fiemme valleys are surrounded by some of the most famous and beautiful mountains of the Trentino Dolomites They offer a lot of interesting activities: cross-country skiing, skiing, hiking, climbing or cycling, or simply lazing in the natural environment and being pampered in a well-being centre. It is also worthwhile to discover the culture and tradition of the region where the cuisine is special and the atmosphere is totally Italian. Val di Fassa thanks to such famous mountains as the Sella Group or legendary Marmolada it is one of the most renowned Alpine valleys. It is also the only Trentino valley where the Ladin language is still spoken. The Paneveggio Nature Park is situated in an area of great contrasts, where the rose pink cliffs of the Dolomites stand out against the dark rocks and the scattered glacial lakes of the Lagorai chain and, lower down, the green forests and the meadows of the mountain dairies.
The Palace of the Magnifica Comunità di Fiemme
The Magnifica Comunità di Fiemme has almost a thousand years of history. It protects and supports the people of Fiemme and the valley’s natural and cultural heritage, especially it is responsible for administrating the wood, one of the most important and beautiful of Italy and Europe. In Cavalese it is possible to visit the palace of the Magnifica Comunità di Fiemme, ordered to build in the Middle Ages by the Princes-Bishops of Trento as see of their great Vicars and summer house.
Museum and exhibitions
Historical museum & art gallery of Magnifica Comunità - CAVALESE
Contemporary Art Center - CAVALESE
Geological Museum of the Dolomites - PREDAZZO
Ethnographic Museum of Nonno Gustavo - BELLAMONTE
Visitors Center Natural Park Paneveggio Pale di San Martino - PANEVEGGIO
Documentation Centre of the Foundation Stava 1985 - TESERO – Stava
Ladin Museum – VIGO DI FASSA
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