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Swim away from the crowds in Lombardy

 

Beaches, rivers, streams, natural pools and small swimming lakes: Lombardy is a land of water and with summer on its way, there are opportunities to swim in places you wouldn't expect. Surrounded by the roar of waterfalls, immersed in the crystal clear waters of creeks, in natural pools between the rocks of a sparkling stream: here are eight little-known places to dive right in.

 

When the heat in the city gets really unbearable, the idea of plunging into cool, crystal clear water becomes increasingly compelling... But where should you go, for a swimming day trip, avoiding places that are too well-known and crowded?

Stay in Lombardy! Our beautiful region is also a land of fresh waters and the foremost in Italy in terms of rivers. The Po River, which stretches for about 260 km and is a meeting point of the great rivers that cross the Lombard territory, marking the border to the south. And then, in addition to its major tributaries (Ticino, Adda, Oglio, Mincio), the smaller ones (Olona, Lambro, Brembo, Secchia, Serio) navigable canals and mountain streams flowing from the Morainic Hills create delightful little lakes that are largely unknown to the general public...

Together they make the Lombardy landscape one of the most varied in the world. Are you ready to head off to Lombardy's lidos, to discover natural swimming pools created by hidden waterfalls, to explore secret lakeside beaches shaped by the meandering bends of rivers and streams, irrigation channels, streams and basins where you can plunge into crystal clear, fresh water and immerse yourself in unspoilt natural surroundings?

These eight stunning destinations in the smaller and lesser known rivers of the Lombard valleys promise a day of sunshine, rest and relaxation, miles away from the crowds.

 

A magical pool of water in Val di Mello
Still in Sondrio, this is a really unusual destination, starting with its rather unattractive nickname: "The Countess' bidet", a name attributed by the local inhabitants to this lovely corner of the Val di Mello Nature Reserve, the largest in Lombardy.  The valley maintains an exemplary environmental balance and offers unprecedented natural sights: dense forests, streams, waterfalls and green lakes, framed by alpine giants such as Monte Disgrazia, which towers to an altitude of 3300 metres. Here, the rich vegetation and large rocks surrounding the lake will keep you cool all day long. 

The Pozze di Erve pools, Valle San Martino
Fancy wandering up a beautiful alpine path and when the temperature rises and the heat becomes overwhelming, plunging into the cool waters of your own personal natural pool? The Erve pools are the perfect choice for you and your family, especially the kids. Right above Lecco, 600 metres above sea level, along the path at the foot of Monte Resegone which also leads to the San Carlo natural mineral water spring, over the centuries the Galavesa stream has created cold, crystal clear pools, waterfalls and small basins that everyone will love. A tip: watch out for the stones underfoot and don't forget your water shoes.

The Valmadrera Pools Trail
A little more challenging, but still in the province of Lecco in Vamadrera, the Pools Trail is perfect for adventure lovers who want to round off their physical exertion with a relaxing cool-down in the Inferno stream. It is an organised route through a gorge carved out by the watercourse, with small ponds and remains of dams (in local dialect, "i fopp" of Tusann, Acqua Marcia, Biasin, Negher, etc.), which channelled the water of the stream to the now abandoned spinning mill. The first stretch of the path, starting from the hamlet of Ceppo, leads to the De la Prisun waterfall: a picturesque 30 metre waterfall. You need to be properly trained and well-equipped, but the complete immersion in nature and the waters of the Inferno are worth the effort! If you want, you can go to the end of the gorge avoiding the more difficult sections to enjoy a swim in the pools or to continue towards the panoramic terrace of the plain of San Tomaso, where you can admire the lakes of Lecco. 

Val Vertova, in the middle of Val Seriana    
Incredibly clear streams, waterfalls, cascades and streams: the Val Vertova, one of the most beautiful areas of the Val Seriana, in the upper Bergamo area, is rich in waterways, including the small river with the same name. Its route is carved out of the rocks and steeped in an environment where nature is paramount. It also offers plenty of opportunities to stop for a packed lunch and for the children to play, without having to tackle difficult paths or long walks. This is the ideal destination for a hot day, cooled down by the lush greenery and shade of the woods. You can choose to bathe in an emerald pool or stroll on to admire the waterfalls and the Marmitte dei Giganti, circular shafts shaped by the force of the water over the centuries. Don't forget a change of clothes and spare shoes, you're guaranteed to get wet! 

The Buche di Nese lakes, upper Bergamo area
Staying in the Bergamo area, for an equally impressive excursion, there is a route leading to the Buche di Nese also known as the Pozze di Burro, small lakes near Burro, a hamlet in Alzano Lombardo. The Nesa stream, which rises from the Orobic Prealps, flows only in this area, crossing the hamlets of Monte di Nese, Burro, Busa and Nese. Path 532, running through lush woodland surrounded by nature, leads to the stream which has a series of pools featuring small natural waterfalls, gorges and cooling basins. It's not an easy path and if you have children with you, it's better to stop at the first, most accessible, pool. Well-equipped hikers who are more experienced might want to go further: the last lake, called Paradis, needs a support rope to access it.

The Livo stream in Domaso, Alto Lario
The climate in Domaso, on the western shore of Lake Como, is superb and there are plenty of beaches.     But if you are looking for more peaceful relaxation and closer contact with a wilder and more secluded nature, remember that the village is located right at the mouth of the Livo, a stream that springs at about 1800 metres above sea level from the Alpine basin of Lake Darengo and runs inland until it reaches the lake. Away from the more crowded spots, you can have a dip, or "pucciarvi" as the locals say, in the numerous artificial pools and waterfalls that, if you climb further upstream to the Crotto Dangri, become real natural pools where you can enjoy a long, refreshing swim.

Ferrera waterfall, Varese
The Ferrera waterfall or Fermona waterfall is one of the most beautiful and well-known in the province of Varese. It is also one of the easiest to admire: it can be reached on foot in just a few minutes taking the road that leads from the village of Ferrera to the lake at its foot.  The waterfall appears as if from nowhere: its nickname is actually "the hidden waterfall" and no one expects the 30-metre drop that the Margorabbia stream suddenly makes from the caves of the Cunardo gorge to reach Valtravaglia.     Visit these unmissable natural treasures and bathe in crystal clear water, being sure to take all the usual precautions. Immerse yourself in nature and tranquillity.
   

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