The house mountain and/or the house mountain ridge of the Bozener is the Ritten. To the northeast of Bolzano rises a large rocky outcrop, on whose sunny slopes numerous mountain farmers have settled and whose widely scattered farmsteads are connected by small roads. "The" Ritten Pass, Passo del Renon, as it is sometimes read, probably does not actually exist. Strictly speaking, there are several roads that we can take from different directions across the Ritten.
Up here it is narrow. Only the serpentine road between Bozen and Unterinn is well developed and offers a magnificent view of the witch's cauldron of Bolzano. All the others have one thing in common: they are except curvy and most are narrow, very narrow. Encounter traffic can sometimes force one to stop even with the motorcycle. However, the traffic density on the Ritten roads is low, which is why the Ritten is one of our favorite destinations. If you prefer a fast and fluid ride, you're better off on the usual Dolomite passes. Up here one is decelerated.
The history of the road over the Ritten is amazing. The Eisack valley, or more precisely the deeply cut Eisack gorge between Waidbruck and Bolzano, is nowadays quite easy to drive through thanks to many bridges and tunnels on the highway or the Brenner state road. Until the beginning of the 14. At the beginning of the twentieth century this part of the gorge was impassable for any kind of traffic. If the German emperor wanted to go south or Roman legions wanted to go north, the trek had to go either over the Jaufenpass, over the Reschen or just north of Bozen over the trains of this high plateau. Merchants, of course, also occasionally strove from Bolzano to Bressanone, fifty kilometers away. Also these had to accept the hardship of an ascent over the high plateau Ritten / Renon. Somewhere up there ran an extremely main connecting road full of hardship to the north!
Nowadays it is exactly the other way round: the journey up and over the Ritten is no hardship at all! That would be much more the boring and perhaps traffic jammed drive in the valley over the Brenner road … Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to investigate one hundred percent on which paths the emperors of the past moved along. The only thing that is fairly certain is that a hostel, which still exists today, accommodated weary hikers and crowned heads in the middle. This is the later Deutschordenskommende in Lengmoos.
In sections the road up there is also called "Kaiserweg", probably because of the prominent guests of the Middle Ages. The northern entrance of our popular "Ritten-Tour" is located near Waidbruck. Whereby there is also an even more northerly access in Bressanone (which, however, does not regularly belong to the Ritten) – this high trail leads via Feldthurns / Velturno far above the Eisack Valley along the slopes.
A little later we make a small detour through Klausen and we are already back on a tiny, single-lane road that winds in several switchbacks to and through Barbiano. From here the tour leads for about thirty kilometers over the Ritten's mountain ranges. Totally relaxed. On the stretch of road between Barbian and Lengstein, we experience the narrowest public road we know of up there. We estimate it to be 2 wide.30 meters. Encounter traffic – impossible! However, there are always alternative bays available. Also the remaining road sections can be described as two-lane in the fewest cases. One to one and a half tracks – that's usually more like it. We love the routes up here!
Between Mittelberg / Monte di Mezzo and the village of Lengmoos / Longomoso is the Finsterbachtal and there is a large area with easily accessible earth pyramids. In this geomorphologic phenomenon, loose material is carried away by the weather, but when a solid capstone protects the loose debris, pointed mounds of earth with a capstone are left standing. If the capstone falls, the rest of the pyramid is also quickly washed away. On the way to the earth pyramids (also to be walked in motorcycle clothing) a small café with an outdoor terrace tempts you to a cozy coffee break.
The tour over the Ritten meanders wonderfully relaxed parallel to the Brenner road to Klobenstein / Collalbo (1150 meters). This is a somewhat larger place with some infrastructure, whereby also on the way now and then inns and farms provide for the Verköstigung. You have to look for the farms a few meters off the beaten track.
In Klobenstein we turn roughly to the west, towards Oberinn and Wangen. In Klobenstein it would also be possible to descend to Bolzano via well-built serpentines. Or a side trip to Oberbozen / Suprabolzano. From here the longest passenger cable car in the world descends to Bolzano! And at really moderate prices. Five kilometers long – so who wants to leave the motorcycle here …
Speaking of abandoned motorcycle. Even those who turn off from Klobenstein to Pemmern at 1538 meters above sea level end up there in a – in the summer months rather oversized – parking lot. A cable car brings us to the Schwarzseespitze with its 2070 meters. Here a small panoramic circular path attracts with magnificent views of the surrounding Dolomite mountains. If the weather is not too hot, this trail can also be done in motorcycle gear, it is almost flat, designed as a circular route back to the cable car and only a little more than two kilometers long. The viewpoint "Round Table" offers a foretaste of a perhaps further planned tour of the Dolomites: we look at the Gardena Pass, the Sella massif, the Marmolada, the Catinaccio and many well-known mountains like the Peitlerkofel, the Sassolungo … All famous names that accompany us on the Sella circuit. In the Unterhornhütte (about two thirds of the way) we enjoy the delicious dishes of the South Tyrolean cuisine.
After returning to Klobenstein we turn off in the direction of Oberbozen, not to take a cable car there again, no, we've had enough cable cars now, but in the little village of Wolfsgruben we want to take a look at the Plattnerhof, a farm that is more than six centuries old and in which two sisters lived until 1973 without electricity or running water. The old vaults are blackened with soot. The roof covered with barley sheaves. Today the farm, one of the oldest in South Tyrol, is a bee museum where you can learn interesting facts about beekeeping and also taste and buy many different kinds of honey.
The tour continues to the west, via Oberinn and Wangen down into the Sarntal valley. In the Sarntal we have the agony of choice: the Sarntal, defused by a dozen long tunnels, southwards towards Bozen? To do a motorized waltz on the tiny Mickey-Mouse streetcar to Mölten? Or let's even start on the way home towards the north? Then there would be no better way than over the Penserjoch! Really not!