Stage 14: Cittadella – Monte Zoncolan. Mysterious creatures
Cyclists have long looked upon the monstrous Zoncolan – a stone giant with gut-wrenching gradients – in fear, and it took them years to feel brave enough to challenge this famed absolute brute. The mountains of Carnia are a hideout for mysterious living things. Lurking among the trees, the Sbilfs are legendary forest creatures – naughty and sometimes evil – who like to play pranks on people. The most famous one are the Bergul, who enjoys tripping people up, and the Mazzarot, a rogue who likes tricking the cattle into getting lost at pasture. The Sbilfs, however, are more mischievous than evil. Much more frightening are the witches that descend from the sky on stormy nights and congregate on the nearby Monte Tenchia, by the ‘Pian delle Streghe’.
Only one man felt brave enough to defy them. He built himself a lodge up there, where his fellow villagers wouldn’t even dare to step foot. That didn’t end well. One stormy night, when the parish priest of Sutrio was on visit, the Agàne – the charming water fairies – turned into spooky witches and set his lodge on fire. Legend has it that the two men sacrificed their lives to fend off the witches for good.