Monday, July 13, 2009

Rocca Pendice, Padua's Rock-climbing Paradise

Set in the midst of the Euganean Hills, Paduans can easily reach this natural outdoor rock gym, Rocca Pendice, which offers a cool summer haven of short rock-climbing runs and longer jaunts for the more adventurous. It was first climbed in 1908 by Mr. and Mrs. Carugati. Let me share their story.

The gentleman and his wife were guests at a friend's house in Monselice, a nearby town. They were bragging over dinner about their rock-climbing experiences in the mountains when the host dared them to conquer a mighty rock wall in Teolo. The next day, the couple immediately went to inspect the rock formation and made their first attempt at climbing it, unsuccessfully. Time restraints and bad weather caused them to try three times before finishing their climb to the top of Rocca Pendice.

Imagine these genteel people, wearing sporty-but-cumbersome waistcoats and heavily weighted down with dozens of nails and hammers, climbing up this big rock. It was a town sensation. Friends and curious observers had gathered at the bottom of the climb and shot off their guns into the air for moral support as the couple went up the steep rock.

Their course is now called the Via Carugati, with slight modifications, and is part of the eastern exposure of Rocca Pendice. The valley including the city of Padua can be seen during the climb from this side of the Rocca.

The entire eastern portion usually remains off-limits to climbers until mid-July due to the nesting of a protected falcon family that calls this rock home.

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