• Cycle Tourism
    • Active & Green

From Lecco to the Martesana Canal

Woods and canals studied by the Renaissance Genius. Inspiring mountains. Ferries that operate with the current.

Where
Ciclabile sul fiume Adda
Infopoint
Infopoint Lecco
Piazza XX Settembre, 23, Lecco
+39 0341 295720

The River Adda cycle path, from Lecco to Cassano d’Adda, in the territory where men have ingeniously strived not to displease nature, runs along the banks observed by Leonardo da Vinci.

What is Water, he asked himself? “This is never at rest until it unites with its marine element...”. During his stays in Milan, from 1482 to 1515, in the cultural climate of the Sforza Signoria, Leonardo witnessed the great Lombard engineering tradition, the works completed by the experienced hydraulic engineers who came before him. In his studies of canals and navigable waterways, he observed, drew and devised improvements, like the lock doors that would be introduced only at a later date.

Hints of Leonardo’s presence accompany this ride along the banks of the River Adda. In Lecco, where it begins, you can also find traces of another great Italian, Alessandro Manzoni, who from “that branch of the Lake of Como, which turns toward the south” began his novel, The Betrothed. After passing the Azzone Visconti bridge where the Adda once again becomes a river, ride along the right bank. Turning into Via Alzaia, you will find yourself on the Mid-Adda Valley cycle path.

The river once again becomes a lake at Garlate, where the former cotton mill now houses the Municipal Silk Museum. At Brivio, the valley begins to narrow and the course of the river starts to meander. At about 20 kilometres from the start of the path, you will encounter the first signs of Leonardo: at Imbersago there is a wooden ferry, attached to a cable suspended between the two banks. Its movement is driven by the current. Leonardo was the first to observe and draw these currents. After 3 kilometres, you will arrive at the bridge at Paderno d’Adda, soaring 80 metres above the river. With its dense structure of iron beams, it looks a little like a horizontal Eiffel Tower.

Just beyond it, the Paderno Canal branches off from the river. Here once again, the Renaissance Genius left his mark. The parallel canal that was intended to avoid the most turbulent stretch of the River Adda was devised by Leonardo, but was only constructed in 18th century, thus opening up transport of goods from Lake Como to Milan, along the Martesana Canal.

The stretch of the cycle path running between the Adda and the Paderno Canal is one of the most spectacular parts of the route. It is in the heart of the Leonardo Eco-museum, an open-air exhibition system illustrating Da Vinci’s presence in this area. It seems that, as a painter, he took inspiration from the landscape of the River Adda, in particular from the Tre Corni narrows at Brivio, for the background of The Virgin of the Rocks. Natural landscape and human engineering are once more harmoniously combined in the three hydroelectric power stations standing at water level. Overlooking the Taccani power station at Trezzo sull’Adda, the powerful remains of the Visconti Castle are silhouetted seemingly in architectural continuity.

A little further downstream from Trezzo, the Martesana Canal leading to Milan branches off from the Adda. A footbridge crosses the river taking you to the opposite bank, the left one, where you can ride as far as Crespi d’Adda, a historical ‘company village’, providing housing alongside a large textile factory, the result of enlightened entrepreneurship, and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Continuing along the towpath of the Martesana Canal, you will reach Vaprio where you can see the terraced gardens of Villa Melzi d’Eril, where Leonardo stayed for a long period.
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One day route
Difficulty: for all cyclists
Length: 52 km
Elevation profile: flat
Roads: stabilised dirt roads;
some paved stretches
Type of bike: touring bikes with gears or road bikes
When: all the year
Mood: cultural

Take me here: From Lecco to the Martesana Canal

Places

Visconti Castle

From the tower of the Castle the view of the river and of the surrounding territory is priceless, from the Pre-Alps to the plain
  • Art & Culture
Visconti castle
493 mt

Naviglio Martesana

Also called 'Naviglio Piccolo', it is the canal that connects Milan with the river Adda
  • Navigli
Naviglio Martesana
1.12 km

Leonardo Adda Ecomuseum

Open-air museum along the Paderno Canal in which to rediscover the historical, artistic and naturalistic events of the territory
  • Art & Culture
Adda Leonardo Ecomuseum
1.45 km

Park North Adda

  • Parks
Park North Adda
1.68 km

Crespi d'Adda Workers Village

  • Unesco Sites
Crespi d'Adda Workers Village
2.46 km

Villa Paradiso Golf Club

Villa Paradiso Golf Club is situated in the splendid Adda Natural Park, just 20 minutes from Milan and Bergamo.
  • Golf
Villa Paradiso Golf Club, Cornate d’Adda (MB)
3.69 km

Villa Melzi d'Eril

Villa Melzi is a residential villa belonging to the Melzi family that looks out onto the River Adda
  • Art & Culture
Villa Melzi D'Eril
4.26 km

Tre Corni alla Rocchetta: Leonardo’s Landscape

  • Leonardo 500
Tre Corni alla Rocchetta
9.12 km

Bridge of Paderno d'Adda

Also known as the Rothlisberger Bridge it is a rail-road traffic and connects Paderno and Calusco through the Adda River
  • Art & Culture
Bridge of Paderno d'Adda
9.14 km

Naviglio di Paderno

It was a product of the genius of Leonardo da Vinci who in the early 16th century was a guest of Count Melzi in Vaprio d'Adda.
  • Navigli
Naviglio_di_Paderno
10.35 km

Church of san paolo in imbersago

  • Religious Tourism
Church of San Paolo in Imbersago
11.65 km

Madonna del bosco sanctuary

The Imbersago Sanctuary is a valuable monument of Lombard Baroque and stands in a panoramic position on the Adda Valley
  • Religious Tourism
Madonna del Bosco Sanctuary
11.65 km

Donizetti Theater

It covers an area of 3200 square meters for a total of 1154 places. For the harmony of sound it is considered among the best in Italy
  • Art & Culture
Donizetti Theater
11.9 km

Golf Brianza Country Club

Golf Brianza Country Club is located in the south of Lake Como in a charming and wavy natural amphitheater.
  • Golf
Golf Brianza Country Club
12.75 km

Monastero di San Giacomo Maggiore

  • Religious Tourism
Monastero di San Giacomo Maggiore, Churches of Bergamo
13.06 km

Lorenzo Rota Botanical Gardens

A small naturist laboratory where the passion and the art of the workers bring together exotic plants with the indigenous ones
  • Active & Green
Lorenzo Rota Botanical Gardens
13.35 km

Montevecchia and Curone Valley Park

  • Active & Green
motevecchia collina
14.45 km

San Vigilio Castle

Of the original castle four towers, the battlements, the walkways and the embrasures are still visible today.
  • Art & Culture
San Vigilio Castle
14.9 km

Events

The medieval night of Vimercate

Piazza Castellana
Vimercate (MB)
21/09/2019 - 22/09/2019
  • Lifestyle
Ponte San Rocco Vimercate
11.38 km

Looking forward to the festival of the potato in oreno

Piazza San Michele
Frazione di Oreno, Vimercate
06/09/2019 - 09/09/2019
  • Food & Wine
Sagra patata
12.6 km

DONNE IRREGOLARI – IRREGULAR WOMEN

Astino (BG)
01/06/2019 - 30/09/2019
  • Art & Culture
DONNE IRREGOLARI – IRREGULAR WOMEN
13.69 km

Activities

Leolandia entrance tickets

  • Active & Green
Leolandia entrance tickets
1.73 km

“La Cascade” wellness center and spa

  • Wellness
“La Cascade” wellness center and spa
8.41 km

The Gorgonzola and the Marquise: cheese for poor people at a nobles banquet (VIP)

  • Food & Wine
The Gorgonzola and the Marquise: cheese for poor people at a nobles banquet (VIP)
12.42 km

Classic car rental in Italy

  • Active & Green
Classic car rental in Italy
13.48 km

Eat like a local not like a tourist

  • Lifestyle
Eat like a local not like a tourist
13.62 km

Where to sleep

LA VECCHIA SCUDERIA

Trezzo sull'Adda
LA VECCHIA SCUDERIA
668 mt

B&B LO SCOIATTOLO

Capriate San Gervasio
B&B LO SCOIATTOLO
671 mt

BEST WESTERN VILLA APPIANI

Trezzo sull'Adda
BEST WESTERN VILLA APPIANI
677 mt

BEL BEL

Capriate San Gervasio
BEL BEL
824 mt

NEVEN BERTOVIC

Capriate San Gervasio
NEVEN BERTOVIC
873 mt

LA CASA DI TATA

Trezzo sull'Adda
LA CASA DI TATA
935 mt

LA MARTESANA B&B

Trezzo sull'Adda
LA MARTESANA B&B
944 mt

DA PAOLA

Capriate San Gervasio
DA PAOLA
956 mt

B&B SULL'ADDA

Capriate San Gervasio
B&B SULL'ADDA
1.01 km

LA SCALETTA CAFE

Capriate San Gervasio
LA SCALETTA CAFE
1.02 km

VILLA E GARDEN

Capriate San Gervasio
VILLA E GARDEN
1.11 km

LEARDINI CAPRIATE

Capriate San Gervasio
LEARDINI CAPRIATE
1.13 km

B&B BEB FAMILY FIRST

Capriate San Gervasio
B&B BEB FAMILY FIRST
1.2 km

IL VIAGGIATOR CURIOSO - COZY HOUSE

Trezzo sull'Adda
IL VIAGGIATOR CURIOSO - COZY HOUSE
1.23 km

B&B ADDA

Capriate San Gervasio
B&B ADDA
1.31 km

B&B LA TARTARUGA

Trezzo sull'Adda
B&B LA TARTARUGA
1.44 km

GIAMBELLINO

Trezzo sull'Adda
GIAMBELLINO
1.49 km

B2IN

Capriate San Gervasio
B2IN
1.49 km

B2IN SUITE & LOFT

Capriate San Gervasio
B2IN SUITE & LOFT
1.79 km

HOTEL MOTEL LONGOBARDO

Trezzo sull'Adda
HOTEL MOTEL LONGOBARDO
2.27 km