“Though the name Mercatorum”, says a notice board on the path, “evokes a nostalgic past, it is of recent introduction. However, as it has now entered the local tourist vocabulary, it was considered appropriate to use it” to identify a specific trans-valley route. In fact, leaving aside the name, there is no doubt that, prior to the Priula Way, there were ancient routes in the Brembana Valley, used for long-distance voyages by merchants, shepherds and wayfarers in general. What is perhaps most surprising is that these routes sometimes ran at an oblique angle with respect to the contours. The so-called Via Mercatorum – Mercatorum Way – is a continuous path that runs north-south and crosses two Orobic ridges before reaching the main watershed: from the Val Seriana valley to the Val Serina valley, and from there to the Val Brembana valleys. Those who have studied and identified this itinerary, associations and individual specialists on this subject, even suggest the existence not of just one, but a whole network of paths pertaining to the “Mercatorum” route. This network, from south to north, starts from Nembro and, after Selvino, enters the territory of the Val Brembana Mountain Community, then splitting into two branches: a “high-altitude” route running through Trafficanti and Cornalba, and a “low-altitude” itinerary via Algua and Val Serina. After merging at Serina, the route continues as a single path as far as Dossena and then again offers two alternatives: passing through San Gallo and Grumo, before merging definitively at Cornello down in the Brembo valley. In the period following the initial “launch” of the Mercatorum Way, which had been equipped with signposts, it was thought opportune to study an extension of the path towards the upper valley in the direction of Averara and Val Mora in order to enhance an ancient mule track by adding the Val Gerola valley or the Bitto Valley itself, which would later see the presence of the Priula Way.

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