I just came back from a normal (i.e. non-packrafting) vacation in the Italian Alps but of course I took my raft just in case.

Should you find yourself visiting the Val d’Aosta in the Italian Alps (French/Italian bilingual, amazing mountains, great trekking with really nice mountain chalets, and awesome cheese) you should try rafting the river that runs through the center of the valley (the Dora). This is one of the rivers that is fed by Mt. Blanc (the tallest mountain in Europe) and passes through some really beautiful country with vineyards on the hills and a castle every couple of miles in part of the river.

I don’t know much about river classification but after driving many miles along the river (there’s a highway almost the length of the river) I could see that it offered everything from hardcore crazy stuff (to my eyes), to class II? I rafted about 5 miles of it, starting about 10 miles downstream of the city of Aosta. It was really nice and challenging for me except for the one dam I had to walk around. This is a river that requires some scouting because there are a few mini-dams and spillway thingies in parts.

Headed to Torbole for a month this summer (27 July - 23 Aug) and am planning on bringing the packraft.

Any suggestions for some class I-III river trips in Northern Italy? I’m tempted to give the Sarca river a go but it’ll be low and probably not so nice in August. I’ve never seen anyone on the river. There is some sort of canoe/ kayak gates set up at the mouth of the river as it feeds into Lake Garda so folks do paddle it. Did find a link to a kayak park on the Sarca: linked from

Can’t seem to find a whole lot of info on moderate paddling in Northern Italy? The stuff up in the Dolomites sounds a bit hard. Suggestions?

Information Italian rivers:

Took an exploratory trip on the Sarca River in Northern Italy the other day (5 Aug 2013). Turned out to be very different than what I expected. Started in Riva with a $3 bus ticket and a 30min ride to just south of Pietramurata (see the KML link below). Hiked the packraft through some grape and fruit orchards to the Sarca and started what I thought would be a casual float to Lake Garda, ~13 miles away.

The only information I could find on paddling the Sarca seemed to indicate a short stretch of technical rapids ( ). Something I surely could walk around. Surprisingly, the rapids started almost immediately and didn’t let up until Arco, ~8 miles downstream. It was mostly class II with lots and lots of class III pool drops through rock gardens and ancient dams. The water level was low but passible in a packraft. I’d love to return in June or early July when I expect this would run at solid class III and IV. A real gem!

There are a few mandatory portages and one ~200yrd section of huge river blocks. You’ll know when you’re there, the first is about 2 stories high and completely plugs the river. I deflated and hiked around on river right.

The river up to the Roman bridge by Ceniga, felt very remote, few people, it travels through a beautiful narrow river gorge with overhanging trees, lots of rock gardens, and pools with an occasional riverside vineyard. At and after the bridge though, the river bathers come out to skinny dip and frolic. I surprised quite a few. By Arco, it is quite crowded with bathers and turns industrial in character to just before Torbole. Not sure I would paddle this section again. The output from the fish farm was retched and left my boat coated in grease. The hydroelectric plant adds about 10x the water volume and makes the last mile to Lake Garda quite exciting. I hiked around the plant but in hindsight would just run it, the dam looks small and smooth.

So for future runs, I’d suggest starting in Arco, catch the bus to just north of Pietramurata and paddle back to Arco. The short run from the hydro station and out into the lake would be fun on it’s own, especially if the surf is up at the mouth of the river.

Wow, totally jealous. Looks like a fun little run with a little more water.

Actually the water level was OK. The rocks are soft smooth limestone and covered with spongy moss so only had to get out of the boat a couple times due to low water.

Took a recognizance trip to the Noce River in Northern Italy, Val di Sole. Exceptionally beautiful in an exquisite mountain valley (perfect for a honeymoon). It was running 72cm at Male, an optimum level. Unfortunately, without a spray deck and dry suit, the packraft stayed in the car. Did bike the entire valley from Bozzana to Cogolo on the river side bike trail. This is well worth doing in and of it self, 20 miles each way. Nothing too crazy at this water level, would say class II - III+ except for the last 4km from Cogolo Celentino and the gorge below Bozzana which rate IV+. Fast and cold, no big hydraulics, no scouting needed. Alla prossima!

For folks looking for a fun 1/2 day on Lake Garda. Take the Busatte - Tempesta trail out of Torbole to Tempesta ( ), hike south down the road a 1/4 mile, down climb a ladder over the retaining wall to a secluded beach and put in. We did it on a windy day and didn’t even have to paddle back to Torbole.

Hello. In Italy we few packrafters. If there is some other Italian interested, or who want information about rivers, please contact me.

Urban Packrafting in Venice
To packraft on the channels of “la Serenissima”, Venice, is something very special and unique! By paddling there you can understand how this fantastic is built. And, in opposition to all touristcal gondola trips, you can investigate sectrets off the beaten track. Urban Packrafting deluxe!
Watch our video “Venice Impressions”!