The saddle of Passo Volaia/Wolayer Pass is situated on the border between Italy and Austria in the western part of the Carnic Alps. In addition to the glacial lake Lago Volaia/Wolayer See just below the saddle, two mountains, Capolago/Wolayer Seekopf and Coglians/Hohe Warte are also nearby; the latter, with its 2,780 metres, is the highest mountain in Friuli Venezia Giulia.
Both armies, the Austro-Hungarian and the Italian, competed for these positions in World War I. The imperial army occupied these positions on 23 May 1915, but the Italians conquered them already after the first week of the war and remained there until October 1917, when the front line shifted to the Piave River after the Twelfth Isonzo Battle.
The Italian troops set up an extensive, strategically important system of trenches, gun and machine gun positions in the area from Capolago to Coglians, as a protection against a possible enemy invasion. A few years ago these trenches and positions were restored and they remind today’s hikers of what happened a good century ago. Remains of military cabins can also be seen along the way.
After leaving the restored trench under the saddle, you can walk to the hut Wolayerseehütte (Pichl hut) either on the left or right side of the lake. Above the hut, on the rocky summit of Frauenhügel, stands a monument to Carnian volunteers. The monument is very simple, consisting of a rectangular stone tower set on a socle in the shape of a graded pyramid, with the only decoration of a small sculpture depicting two crossed alpino hats, a rope and an ice ax, and a mountain gun. From here, a view opens further over the mountains of Sasso Nero, Monte Volaia and Biegenköpfe.
Drive from the hamlet Collina (in the Municipality of Forni Avoltri) to the Tolazzi hut (1,350 m). Behind the hut, a winding and moderately steep old military trail begins, which after ten minutes brings you to the fork where two trails, CAI 143 and CAI 144, begin. Take the left one (CAI 144) and start ascending in the shade of dense forest towards the saddle Passo Volaia/Wolayer Pass.