Il “Sentiero del Viandante” is an old mule track dating from the Roman period, following the oriental coast of Lake Como, along the mountains’ lower slopes. This path extols the masterly equilibrium between humane activity and nature. It exposes agglomerates of rustic stone houses, old mill ruins, countless chapels and little mountain churches, terraces cultivated with vineyards and olive trees. The old route connects the municipalities and valleys of our territory, and is signaled by orange information signs. Many hiking enthusiasts cross it in stages, savoring every moment of evasion, immersed in an environment rich of beautiful views blending the lake with the sky.
The pathway begins at Abbadia Lariana near the little Church of San Martino and ends at the Sanctuary of Val Pozzo in the territory of Piantedo.
Vald’Esino, with its three municipalities, Varenna, Perledo and Esino, is the first part of the itinerary, crossed by the Esino Stream, ruled by mount San Defendente. The “Sentiero”, with the alternative high route, ascends the valley. Setting off from Varenna, before the cemetery, starts a steep ascent leading to the town of Perledo, in the little inhabited “Borgo” (rural village) of Vezio, where its famous “Castello” (castle) arises. Deeper in the woods and passing first by mount Fopp, stands the inhabited hamlet of Ortanella, a small fraction surrounded by the mountain’s greenery in the municipality of Esino. Following the carriageable road from the meadows of Ortanella, we reach the Center of Esino, the mountain municipality called “La Perla delle Grigne” (The Pearl of the “Grigne”). This is not, though, the only solution offered by “Il Sentiero del Viandante”. As a matter of fact, following the “classic” path along the lake, once arrived in Vezio there is the possibility to cross part of the town of Perledo and its characteristic hamlets, Regolo, Gittana and then Cestaglia, to find yourself right in Bellano. From the Piazza of Vezio we descend towards the Orrido of the Esino Stream, walking across a gracious stone bridge, and leaving behind on the right the old mill, we start ascending towards the industrial area of Campallo. From here, taking the road to Regolo we encounter a small church belonging to directory of the Marian Sanctuaries, and once arrived to the center of the hamlet we continue on the carriageable road bringing us to the hamlet of Gittana. Once at the Maglia chapel we get back to the paved road on a mule track, and left behind on the right the splendid Parish Church, we go through the historic center of Gittana. Then we ascend again, passing over a small wooden bridge that crosses the Masna Stream and leaving at the top, the hamlet of Cestaglia, we take off toward Bellano.
Once crossed the small bridge on the glen of Biosio, we descend towards the mouth of the Pioverna, where Bellano lies. After passing the the small church of the “Madonna Addolorata”, we surmount the small bridge over the famous Orrido of Bellano. We then ascend a steep mule track until we reach the hamlet of Ombriaco, where we leave behind the church of San Bernardino, going up towards the Sanctuary of Lezzeno with its beautiful panoramic terrace. From here starts the descent in the midst of the woods towards the hamlets of Pendaglio and Oro, in order to take the unpaved road enclosing the town, which continues until near the hamlet of Verginate, from where we can admire a lovely panoramic view of the lake. The mule track continues passing over the bridge on the “Val Granda”, reaching the “Houses of the Ronchi” first, and then the “Cascine del Chignolo” (the farmsteads of the Chignolo) in the municipality of Dervio. Just above the railway line we reach the “Antica Nazionale” (the old National Road), that brings us to Villa di Dervio, to the ancient church of “S. Quirico” with its beautiful bell tower in Romanesque style, and thence to cross the Varrone River, over the bridge that has been its cornerstone since 1389. From here we head right, reaching the spring of the Lavine, on the carriageable road that goes to Valvarrone, and then take a steep mule road with steps that will lead us to the village of Castello, with its medieval tower and small church of “S. Leonardo”. Once exited the village we take the “Provinciale” (the Provincial Road) descending till the roundabout, going straight along the road that goes towards Corenno Plinio. The itinerary passes through the villages of Chiari and Monastero where the rustic style complex, that constituted the Monastery of “S. Clemente degli Umigliati”, stands. After passing a pipeline, the path regains its conformation into an old cobblestone mule track with stone carvings, descending amidst low stone walls, with an extensive and marvelous view of the medieval town of Corenno Plinio, its majestic castle and the church of “S. Tommaso di Canterbury”. The route continues on the “Provinciale”, which occupies the ancient moat of the Castle of Corenno, thence follows on the right the mule track that, amidst meadows and farmsteads, reaches the territory of Dorio. We thus reach, on a gentle slope, Torchiedo, and then Panico, walking past the Church of “S. Giorgio”, old parish of Dorio. The route thus ascends to Mondonico, a characteristic group of abandoned houses made of local rough stone. The mule track cuts in half the coastal slope to reach the small church of “S. Rocco”, erected on a headland with a panoramic view of the lake and the Peninsula of Piona. The track then heads north-east with a view of the pond and Abbey of Piona, bypassing the buttresses of the “Legnoncino”. Amidst the woods we reach hence Mount Perdonasco, and passing through the valley of Noh, we reach Mount Sparasee. From here a dirt track, set in a woodland environment, reaches a country road, descending through swift hairpin bends to Posallo di Colico.
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