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Mountain flowers in May

Six itineraries to discover this month's flowers in the mountains of Lombardy

Spring even comes to the high altitudes in May. After winter, lots of flowers begin to bloom along the trails and the peaks of Lombardy.

There are more well-known varieties and others that are less easy to identify, ones with particular shapes or extraordinary colours, and others that only grow at specific altitudes. This article tells you what you can find in Lombardy's mountains this month, with six itineraries in the splendid panoramic settings of the region. Often the species are protected, so be ready to admire them and photograph them, but never pick them.

We need to say that flowering is never a predictable event, since its start and intensity depend on temperatures and climate conditions. May always has something special in store, and it’s well worth heading off to find out what, and it might always be an excuse to return. 

 

Narcissus flowers in Monte Linzone (BG)

An expanse of white, moving in the wind, is the panorama that awaits you on the natural terrace of Mount Linzone, where the wild narcissus flowers begin blooming in May. At the foot of this peak, between Bergamo and Lecco, the flowers dance along to the rhythm of the wind, a constant presence up here at an altitude of more than 1300 metres. In the background, you will be able to admire some of the most stunning peaks in the Alps, recognisable thanks to the compass rose that will help you to identify Monviso, Monte Rosa and Mont Blanc, as well as Grigna, Grignetta, Resegone and Legnone and as far as the Swiss Alps.  

To get to the narcissus flowers on Monte Linzone, you set out from the Valcava Pass, following a trail suitable even for young children, since there are no significant differences in height. The trail takes you along the wide, grassy mountain ridge, over gently rolling slopes with just a few rocks that are easy to get around. It takes around 50 minutes to get to the top, although this can vary according to fitness and pace, but the view is well worth the effort. 

 

Crocus Flowers (Snowdrops) in Valle del Bitto (SO)

Have you ever wondered why they are called “snowdrops”? Crocus Albiflorus grow immediately after or during the thaw, out of the final, thin layer of snow. This is where the name of these white flowers comes from. You can admire them on this plateau of the Valle del Bitto, where the contrast between the covering of Crocus flowers and the mountains of Pedena and Fioraro is spectacular, especially in the flowers’ early period, when the peaks are still dusted with snow.

The expanse of Crocus flowers can be reached by car, setting out from Morbegno and continuing along the road to the San Marco Pass. After Albaredo, follow the signs to the Alpe Piazza Refuge for a few kilometres, until you come to an uphill section where, after a couple of bends, you will find a clearing in which to leave your car. The route continues on foot, along a trail that in around 20 minutes, will take you to Corte Grande-Corte Grassa, where you will be greeted by the flowers. 

 

Edelweiss at the Brioschi Refuge (LC)

So beautiful and rare as to become a protected species, Edelweiss are among the most characteristic high altitude flowers. The name, Edelweiss, meaning “noble, white, and pure” perfectly reflects the delicate elegance of this bloom. The area in which the Edelweiss is most widespread is the Himalayas, in Central Asia, where there are numerous flowers at an altitude of more than 5,400 metres. But you don’t have to travel so far away to admire them. 

These splendid flowers can be found at the Brioschi Refuge, one of the most popular destinations for trekkers in the Lecco area. It is also popular with the Milanese, since it is the right distance for a day trip, thanks to its proximity to the start, Valsassina. One of the best known routes to get there is Via della Ganda, which is accessible by car from Esino Lario, to Alpe Cainallo and then continuing to the large clearing in Vo di Moncodeno, where you can leave your car.. The route is quite difficult, but getting to the foot of Grigna is greatly satisfying, both because of the magnificent views and for the delicious dishes that await you at the Brioschi Refuge.

Buttercups, orchids and rhododendrons on Monte Campioncino (BG)

Between Val di Scalve and Val Camonica there is a stunningly beautiful scene. It is triumph of buttercups, orchids and rhododendrons surrounding the Campione Refuge, a palette that transforms the surrounding into a spectacular picture. These flowers not only enrich the green around the Refuge, they will also accompany your whole route up to this splendid panorama. 

The most part of this hike is in the Bergamo area, along a track that is an easy, pleasant walk with a climb that is suitable for families and children. It starts out from Schilpario along a trail to the Cimon della Bagozza Refuge and from there to the Campione Refuge, at the foot of Monte Campioncino. There are spectacular views to be enjoyed along the whole route, including the amphitheatre of the Camino - Concarena mountain group, and Cimon della Bagozza standing out among the peaks.  An excellent way to make the day truly unforgettable to stop and enjoy the food at the Refuge, where polenta, cheese, charcuterie can be tried, together with the typical capù, wraps made from chard stems, filled with bread, cheese and spices. 

 

Lombardy Primrose on the Grigne mountains (LC)

Someone even suggested the primrose replace the Camunian Rose as the symbol of the Region of Lombardy. Because this special pink primrose is specific to the peaks of Lombardy and for this reason, it is protected. It is in fact rare to find it elsewhere, although it is widespread in the prealps, from the Grigne to the west side of Garda, and it has been chosen as the icon to represent the Northern Grigna Regional Park.

Where to find it One idea is to follow the trail to the Bietti Refuge, passing through the curious Porta di Prada. It is an itinerary that even children can follow, if they are used to uphill routes. Leave your car in Cainallo, in the municipality of Esino Lario. From here, follow directions for the trail to the Refuge. Once at the rock archway, known as Porta di Prada, the road descends steeply then returns uphill near to the refuge. Once here, you can enjoy the natural silence and enjoy typical lake cuisine at the refuge, including the must-have home-made tart.

 

Opuntia humifusa at the Seradina-Bedolina Park (BS)

Prickly pears in Lombardy? This is a strange meeting that you can enjoy in the Middle Valcamonica, in the Archaeological Park of Seradina-Bedolina. This is where the sunlight and outcrops of river stone have provided a great environment for a flowers often found in warmer climates.  This is why, together with typical plants such as chestnut trees and ash, you will also see rare species for these latitudes, including the Opuntia humifusa. This small prickly pear also stands out for its yellow flowers, which create a charming contrast with the blue-violet shades of the large rocks from which it grows.  

The park is at Capo di Ponte and is open every day, all year round. Entry is free of charge. From March to October, it is possible to visit it from 9am to 6pm, following any of the different trails, including areas with facilities and also woodlands, and where you will also see the many rock carvings dating back to the Bronze and Iron Ages. Who knows what flowers they had then?

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