Nature right on your doorstep
But Mount Vigiljoch has far more to offer than just Ladurner’s hotel. A multitude of hiking paths crisscross the area, mountain inns and huts cater for hikers and tourists in summer, and the area is a great insiders’ tip for tobogganers and skiers in winter.
Mount Vigiljoch remains a car-free zone. The easiest way up there is to take the cable car from Lana, which was built back in 1912 and was one of the first passenger cable cars in the world. The gondola was renovated a few years ago and takes you to the mountain station located at 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) above sea level. The ride is short and takes you up steep terrain. From the mountain station you take a one-person chair lift almost all the way up to the top of the pass. Short hiking tours get you from there to the small Vigilius Church and the idyllic Schwarze Lacke (black lake) mountain lake. Alternatively, you can take a cable car from Lana’s Pawigl/Pavicolo neighbourhood or a cable car from Rabland/Rablà on the Vinschgau valley side of the mountain.
Mount Vigiljoch has always been a highly popular spot with the locals from the valley. Many families spent their summers in the small holiday homes spread across the entire crest, and it is a traditional destination for school field trips in May. For Ladurner, Vigiljoch is one of many great childhood memories, reminding him of day trips with his class at school, his parents and friends.
Just a short distance from the Ortles mountains
Mount Vigiljoch stretches from Meran/Merano to the Southwest and separates the lower Vinschgau valley in the West from Burggrafenamt in the East. The hilly and forested Meran area of Vigiljoch is the foothills of the Ortler mountain range, a massif home to South Tyrol’s highest peak.
On its flank, starting from Vinschgau valley, you will find Naturns/Naturno, Plaus, Rabland, Töll/Tel, Forst/Foresta, Marling/Marlengo, Tscherms/Cermes and Lana. On the south side of Mount Vigiljoch lies Ultental/Val d’Ultimo. Vigiljoch itself lies 1,743 metres (5,720 ft) above sea level and refers to the section between Vinschgau valley and Burggrafenamt. Here, at the site of a former Pagan cult, close to the former border between the bishoprics of Trento and Chur, you will find the Vigilius Church, also known as the “Jocher Kirchl”, which is dedicated to Saint Vigilius.
The church is what is known as “weather church” and every year on 26th June, the Day of Saint Vigilius, it becomes a popular destination for pilgrims from nearby villages. The early Romanesque nave shows a cycle of 14th-century frescoes depicting the 12 apostles and a crucifixion group. After having been used as a cowshed for a long time, the little church was renovated in the late 19th century and reconsecrated. Close by, at the foot of the church, you will find the Jocher See, a small pond that reflects the trees and sky. It carries water only during the snowmelt period and is said to be haunted.