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Valsassina and the Grigne

Routes through woods and along paths, suitable for all the family, or via ferrata climbs for those wanting more adrenalin-fuelled adventures
 

—the Grigne mountain group has something for everyone, with a choice of excursions to suit all needs, abilities and experience.

Hiking between lake and sky
Lots of different paths take you up to the top of the Grigna Settentrionale, or Grignone, and Grigna Meridionale, or Grignetta. One of the most popular routes whatever the season is up the eastern slope, starting in Colle di Balisio or Pasturo. Those who instead set off up the northern slope from Cainallo can enjoy the spectacular passage from the Piancaformia ridge or follow the Ganda trail, which goes past the Bogani mountain and crosses the Conca di Moncodeno. The most difficult routes are those on the western slope, starting from the Bietti mountain refuge, along the Guzzi trail or following the "Caminetto", or the thrilling Sasso dei Carbonari via ferrata.

From refuge to refuge
Piani dei Resinelli is the starting point for an easy, pleasant walk. Suitable for the whole family, in just over 2 hours it leads to the Coltignone viewpoint and its extraordinary views out over Lake Como, Monte Barro, Corni di Canzo, and the Resegone. Another lovely, more strenuous excursion, calling for suitable fitness levels and 3 hours' walking takes you from Rongio, a village in Mandello del Lario, to the Elisa mountain refuge. This is the starting point for a series of paths that lead to the Bietti-Buzzi mountain refuge in 2 hours, to the Brioschi refuge along the Buco di Grigna trail in 3 and a half hours, to the Rosalba refuge in 3 hours or the Sasso Cavallo in an hour and a half. Those who enjoy all-day walks will like the "Traversata Alta", which runs along the ridge and is ideal for conquering the tops of Grignone and Grignetta. The latter peak can also be reached
by following the trails—classified as very difficult— that start behind the Porta mountain refuge in Piani dei Resinelli. An excursion that has several difficult parts and a final fissure with handrail.

Cliffs for thrill-seekers
The Grigna Settentrionale offers many climbing options, both on Dolomite-size walls (Sasso Cavallo , Sasso dei Carbonari and Pizzo d’Eghen) and also on smaller ones such as the interesting Pilastro di Prada or Pizzo dei Nibbi, and cliffs like Lares, Sasso Carlano, Esino, and the so-called Animal House, as well as the numerous options offered by the Cresta di Piancaformia. At the foot of the eastern slope of the Grigna Settentrionale, there is also Rocca di Baiedo, which with the facing area of Sasso di Introbio, forms an important sport climbing centre. Grigna Meridionale is the home of mountaineering in Lombardy. Lecco is the starting point for a great many climbs up Monte San Martino: on the south-eastern wall of Corna di Medale, a 400-metre high vertical wall that can be reached from Malavedo. A good many routes lead up to it, all of them difficult mountaineering challenges, and up Antimedale, a very popular 200 metre wall that flanks the Medale to the southwest and can be reached from Rancio. Whereas sport
climbers are spoilt for choice with the cliffs at the foot of this mountain range. There are other cliffs in Val Grande, up from Ballabio towards the Piani di Resinelli or on the eastern bank of the lake.

Valsassina and mountain bikes
There are a variety of mountain bike trails to choose from. From a tour of the high mountain pastures, starting from Alpe Giumello with a not too strenuous climb, spectacular views of the lake and an interesting fun downhill stretch, to the Artavaggio circular route with different variants, which will satisfy the needs of any kind of cyclist and with a difficult, trial-style downhill part or, alternatively, one also suitable for beginners. A third must-try itinerary goes along the mountains of Pasturo and the Pialeral high plain in Valsassina.
 

 

Highlights

1. Sport. The Alpe Giumello, above Bellano and Taceno, against the enchanting backdrop of Lake Come and the Alps, offers a chance to try the excitement of free flight with a tandem paraglider, accompanied by an expert pilot with Aero Club d'Italia licence.

2. Family. The pedestrian and cycle path in Valsassina winds from Barzio to Taceno, following the River Pioverna and continuing right along the valley bottom. The path is
protected and mainly on the flat.

3. Adventure. Down into the depths of the earth. The Pian dei Resinelli Mines, at the foot of Grignetta, on the high plain that gives them their name, date back to the seventeenth century and a visit is a truly unique experience, especially for children.

4. Nature. In the summer to pick berries, in autumn to admire the foliage and look for mushrooms and chestnuts....discover the prealpine flora and fauna. The mountain lives 365 days.

5. Food and wine. Must-tries are excellent local cheeses such as taleggio, robiola and caprini or goat's cheese, which can be purchased directly from the producers or enjoyed in the mountain refuges. Sweet treats not to be missed are Sassetti, Pazientini, and Cabiadini or Caviadini biscuits and Scarpinasc, a cake made with bread, milk, eggs, raisins and amaretti biscuits.

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