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The most beautiful gorges!

Spectacular fissures in the rocks, from which thunderous waterfalls gush before plunging through shady ravines. Wild and frightening places, majestic monuments where you can admire the power of nature: in Italian they are known as "orridi" - gorges or ravines - and in Lombardy you can find some truly spectacular ones! Here are six that are worth visiting.

 

Lombardy's most famous gorge is in Bellano

The gorge of Bellano (Lecco) is Lombardy's most spectacular and oldest gorge. It was formed by the erosion of the waters of the Pioverna and the Adda Glacier, which then reach the Lario with magnificent jumps.

Described by the poet Sigismondo Boldoni (1597-1630) as a "Horror of hideous beauty", it has been open to the public since 1750 and is famous for the deep gorge modelled in the bare vertical rocks and the deafening roar of the waterfall. Artificial illumination has made the atmosphere created by the play and reflection of the water on the rocky walls even more fascinating.

Today, a system of footbridges makes it possible to visit this place safely, and explore its mysterious side: it is said that in the ancient tower in front of the entrance, frescoed with images of the devil and mythological figures, secret rites were held, hence the name of Cà del Diavol (House of the Devil).

 

The gorge of Nesso: the spectacle in the village

Let's stay on the Lario, towards Como. On the shores of the lake we find the gorge of Nesso, an attraction that is mentioned by Leonardo da Vinci in the Codex Atlanticus. This naturally formed gorge was carved out of the rocks by the force of the waters of the Touf and Nosè streams, which meet to form rushing, roaring waterfalls before plunging into the lake. The majestic spectacle, which becomes even more impressive when it rains and the volume of the water is at its maximum, can be admired from Piazza Castello or the regular boats on the lake. But the best view is from the medieval Civera bridge, which crosses the gorge connecting Coatesa and Riva del Castello.

 

The gorge of Caino, near to Erba: an unmissable excursion

The Caino gorge is located in the Bova Valley, which is the origin of the torrent that divides the valley in two springs, carving out the rocks and creating crevasses covered in thick vegetation before crossing the Pian d'Erba and flowing into the Lambro.

To reach it, from Crevenna (Erba), go up the valley along the path that follows the river, passing through woods and overhanging rock faces. After crossing a small wooden bridge, there are two long staircases, one made from wood and one made from iron. The latter is very steep and gives access to the Caino gorge, which can be admired safely from the metal footbridge. 

Underground, near to Varese: the gorge of Cunardo

To reach the Cunardo gorge, you have to take a short path that starts from the provincial road that connects Cunardo (VA) with Ferrera. Here, the Margorabbia waterfall, which then flows into Lake Maggiore, unfolds like an underground labyrinth in tunnels carved by the waters into the karst rock for half a kilometre. The course of the river proceeds in leaps and bounds, creating bends, small lakes and two caverns which, separated by a siphon, form the gorge. There are two underground itineraries: the Galleria Fossile, which is easier, or the Ramo attivo, for experts, with narrow tunnels that reach the depth of the cave. 

 

In Val Taleggio, the coldest gorge

The Val Taleggio gorge is located in the final section of the narrow 3km-long gorge, carved by the Enna stream into the rocks of the Orobie mountains in Bergamo. Also known as the Serrati or S. Giovanni Bianco gorge, it can be admired from the SS25 road leading from San Giovanni Bianco to Sottochiesa. The path of the stream runs briskly between the vertical walls, and the gorge can be crossed on foot to admire the clefts, small bridges and waterfalls that freeze over in winter, creating an evocative panorama.  

 

The Via Mala precipices    

The name says it all: the Via Mala is an ancient medieval road that links the Valle di Scalve and the Valle Camonica, crossing the rocky walls of the gorge carved out over the centuries by the Dezzo river with vertiginous precipices that open onto inlets, loops and the famous gorges of the Via Mala. Walking along the old route, with access from the Casa Cantoniera, is a breathtakingly exciting experience. You can also climb the 275-step path at the bottom of the gorge, admiring rock faces that are half a kilometre in height! The observation bridge over the gorge offers a unique spectacle.

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Ph Cover: Orrido di Bellano - discoveringbellano.eu

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