• Active & Green
    • Religious Tourism

L'Antica Strada Regina

On foot from Menaggio to Rezzonico along the ancient pilgrim route

Where
Via Regina, 13, Menaggio (Co)

The Antica Strada Regina, that ran along the west side of the lake, was built during the late period of the Roman Empire. For centuries it was an important connection between the south and the north side of the Alps, between the territory of Como and Milano and  the Transalpine  regions. It was with time also used by the medieval pilgrims on their way to Rom. This well conserved stretch of the antique road starts at Nobiallo and leads along the slopes of “Sasso Rancio» to the splendid  village Rezzonico.

  • ITINERARY: Menaggio - Nobiallo - Sasso Rancio - Acquaseria - Molvedo – Mastena - Rezzonico
  • TOTAL WALKING TIME: 3hrs
  • ASCENT: 150 m
  • DIFFICULTY: steep ascent over Sasso Rancio
  • TRAIL SIGNS: red - white- red aluminum trail signs and stickers saying "
  • CONNECTIONS: Menaggio can be reached by hydrofoil, boat or bus line C10, C12                                         Rezzonico is connected by bus line C10

ROUTE: In Menaggio from Piazza Garibaldi follow the lake promenade “Lungo Lago Castelli” and pass by the Lido of Menaggio (beach and swimming pool). Then follow via Roma and turn right into via Cipressi. Just past the campsite Europa you end up on the main road. Follow the sidewalk to the right till you reach the entrance of a tunnel where you pick up the pedestrian road on the right side of it. It passes a rock-climbing face and ends on the main road again. Cross the road in order to follow the side walk. After 100 m leave it and take the street to the left that leads uphill to the Carabinieri station. From here follow the Vecchia Strada Regina.  

You pass the church of S. Bartolomeo and Nicolao with its leaning Romanesque bell-tower of the 13th century and you enter the centre of Nobiallo. It used to be a fishermen’s village with its small alley ways leading down to the lake. At the end of the village you cross an ancient  called “della Madonna” because it leads to the close-by Sanctuary of the Madonna della Pace,  built in 1656.  

From the Sanctuary begins the steep ascent of Sasso Rancio, a rough and arid rock overlooking the lake, which forced travelers to a difficult climb not without danger. It was however used until 1902, the date of construction of the present lake side road. Below you can spot the beautiful Villa la Gaeta. The Ambrosoli family commissioned the architects Adolfo and Gino Coppedè to build a house in the form of a medieval-Renaissance castle that was completed in 1921. Here some scenes from the 007 series "Casino Royale" were filmed.

Past a “modern residence”, you continue straight on  and the track eventually leads down steeply to the former lake side road used before a series of new tunnels were built. Go left and you reach the main road in between two tunnels. Paying attention to the traffic, follow it to the entrance of the next tunnel where you take the former lake side road on the right of the entrance. Just after 30 m there is a track on your left which leads above the entrance of the tunnel. The track conducts through the woods to the first houses of the town Acquaseria, part of the township called San Siro. Cross the bridge over the river Serio and enter the center of the town. At the church of S. Abbondio  take  via Regina Margherita.  At the end of the town, at a fork, take to the right (left the road leads up to Pezzo). The street eventually becomes a cobblestone track that leads to the village of Molvedo.  At Molvedo the Antica Strada Regina is interrupted by the park of Villa Camilla. To bypass the park, pick up the track to the left (Via al Murel) that ascends to the hamlet Mastena (50 meters before arriving at the wall of the park)

Once at Mastena turn right, walk through the centre of the village, cross the small bridge over the stream Cellino and take the track that descends to the right. It crosses the road twice and at the end of the small street, go left arriving at an oratory. We recommend a small detour to the lake to admire the church of Santa Maria which was built between 1464 and 1474 to give home to the Dominicans. In the façade there is a beautiful portal in white marble and inside there is a very dense pictorial decoration. Next to the church you can see the ruins of an ancient Roman fortress. It was probably used to control traffic over land and water.

Back at the oratory continue along the “Antica Strada Regina”. Cross the road leading up to the various  hamlets of San Siro scattered along the slope, cross the bridge over a stream,  and proceed among small kitchen gardens and between stone border walls.
Just before arriving at Rezzonico, on the right, you pass the “Castellaccio” which is what remains of a medieval watch tower. Around its remains there is a picnic area with fountain. The cobble stone path descends to the former lakeside road which you cross to enter the centre of Rezzonico. We highly recommend you go down to the lake side to the little picturesque harbour. Then pass under the arcades and go up one of the cobble stone steps that lead to the castle of Rezzonico with a its 14th century tower.  The castle  was built by the local noble Della Torre family.  It is one of the rare well preserved fortifications of the lake.  At present it is a private residence. From here walk to the main road where you find the bus stop.

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