Long but easy stage, with a single demanding climb after a long stretch on the road.
The most exciting part is certainly the crossing of the old trenches on Monte Pravello, with a beautiful view of Lake Lugano.
The route from Bocchetta di Molina to Torno is a variation of the Sentiero Italia (which remains on the Larian ridge up to Como), preferred for the visit to the delightful village of Torno.
The tunnels of the Cadorna Line on Monte Pravello are very dark: it is good to have a headlight (or, in the worst-case scenario, a cell phone light).
MTB: the descent from Monte Pravello is a bit complicated, but feasible if you have experience.
Water points are absent from Viggiù to Porto Ceresio.
We leave Bizzarone on an ups and downs path, first along an old disused railway, then on the Sentiero Confinale, the border path (Switzerland is always a few hundred meters away). The path is almost entirely in the woods and at times, covered with vegetation (even thorny): the trail is not always easy to find. The Church of Santa Maria di Campagna, just outside Cantello, is very beautiful and from there, we walk on a long straight road.
From the village of Baraggia, we continue for a long stretch of road where there's a bit of traffic. After a few hairpin bends, we are in Viggiù: the beautiful parish church with a panoramic square is worth a visit.
We then leave the town and begin the ascent (about 500 m height difference). The first part is very steep and not always intuitive, fortunately, all in the shade. Reaching Monte Orsa (998 m) we pass through the old military tunnels, then cross long trenches, with spectacular views of Lake Lugano and Monte San Salvatore. Finally, we are at the top of Monte Pravello (1,015 m), where we find the boundary stone.
The descent is long (approximately 750 m drop) and the bottom is often uneven and covered with dry leaves, on which it is easy to slip. Finally, we are on the lakeside of Porto Ceresio. After a refreshing bath in Lake Lugano, we can enjoy an ice cream in the excellent artisan ice cream parlor 281: from Marche with great success.
The hills around Porto Ceresio are covered with cherry trees and in spring they are covered with white clouds. It is therefore believed that the name of the town derives from the Latin cerasa, meaning “cherry”.
The beautiful Valsorda overlooks Lake Lugano, where Antonio Fogazzaro set his book “Piccolo mondo antico”. The valley was dear to several artists and writers, including Hermann Hesse.
The massif of Monte Orsa-Pravello (in addition to having a magnificent view) constitutes the Italian part of the UNESCO site of Monte San Giorgio, recognized as a World Heritage Site in 2010, in consideration of the fossil deposits, unique in the world, present in the area.
Inside it is possible to walk the geo-paleontological path, that starts from the idyllic village of Meride, where a visit to the Fossil Museum is recommended (for more info, timetables and tickets, see the following LINK).
In the alpine area between Lake Como and the Italian Switzerland, there are numerous crotti (from the Latin crypt, "closed thing"), natural ravines in the remains of very remote landslides, on the slopes of the valley.
Inside the crotti, air currents (sorèl) blow from the openings between the rocks at a constant temperature of about 8 °, therefore lukewarm in winter and cool in summer. This makes the Crotti ideal environments for the storage and aging of wines and cold cuts.
Around these natural caves, the inhabitants of the valley have gradually built buildings with small rooms and fireplaces, often transformed into taverns where it is still possible to taste the excellent local products.
Crotti are linked to traditional local festivals and fairs.
Hotel Il Canneto, in Porto Ceresio. Tel. +39 0332 917633
In Porto Ceresio there are numerous accommodations and guest houses.
Starting point reachable by car.
Starting point reachable by bus from the city of Como.
Here the LINK to check the timetables.
Starting point NOT reachable by train.
Va' Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution oft housands of people.
Even the most complicated dream, a 7,000km uphill dream,
can be achieved... together.