The Sentiero del Viandante is one of the most popular treks in Lombardy.
His fame is definitely deserved! In fact, the Sentiero del Viandante allows you to see amazing views of the lakes of Como and Lecco! It is possible to make some detours: in this post I describe how to reach Colico from Abbadia Lariana. There are four stages in total, with a length of 55 km and an elevation gain of 2,800 meters.
The first leg starts from the Abbadia Lariana train station. The Sentiero del Viandante began immediately with a detour.
In fact, Cenghen Falls, reached after 3 km and 300 meters of elevation gain, is not part of the official trail, but definitely worth a detour! These waterfalls, in fact, are beautiful and you can even see spectacularly clear pools of water!
After visiting the falls we start to descend, never steeply. It is possible to see Mandello del Lario and Lake Lecco on the left. After 7 km of walking, we pass by the tower of Maggiana: built in the 12th century, it is in excellent conversational condition and is also called ‘del Barbarossa’ because it hosted the Germanic emperor.
Past Maggiana, 2 km of ups and downs begin, leading to the beautiful Valle Meria stream.
From here on a descent leads to Lierna: the first stage is over in15 km and 600 meters of elevation gain
The second leg of the Sentiero del Viandante starts from the Lierna train station.
It is possible to reach Varenna from Lierna by two routes, the high route or the low route. In this post I describe the higher, more scenic and more difficult variant.
From the 250 meters of Varenna, in fact, the 1000 meters of San Pietro can be reached in about 4.5 km. The path is steep in places, but never dangerous. After about 3.5 km, a meadow opens up: on the left, you can see a splendid view of Lake Lecco!
At Esino Lario, about 1,000 meters above sea level, it is possible to see the small church of San Pietro Ortanella. This church, built before the 13th century, is a small Romanesque stone chapel. The view from here is once again spectacular!
After about 3 km flat, the trail drops steeply again! In some cases, care must be taken, and certainly mountain poles can be helpful! There is no shortage of scenic spots on the lake!
Vezio, with its 11th-century castle and partially restored in the 20th century, is the last stop before arriving in Varenna, reached after
11 km of walking
(800 meters of elevation gain).
The third stage of the Sentiero del Viandante links Lierna to Dervio.
The first 4 km, connecting Lierna to Bonzeno, are all up and down, but never actually strenuous. Just before entering Bonzeno it is possible to see the 13th-century Church of St. Andrew. A superb panorama can be admired from here!
Shortly afterwards you walk over a bridge from where you can see the Bellano Gorge, that is, a natural gorge created by the Pioverna River. The six kilometers to Dervio become spectacular especially after Verginate: the views are sublime!
I reached Dervio in 10 km, with 500 meters of elevation gain. Still being in good shape, I decided to eat a plate of pasta at the excellent restaurant Crotto del Cech and continue with the fourth stage.
In the first five flat kilometers of the fourth stage, the tower of Orezia and the castle of Corenno Plinio can be seen.
After passing the small church of Mandonico, the path climbs about 500 meters, until it reaches the little church of San Rocco
, in Romanesque style and with frescoes dating back to 1450. From here the view is once again stunning!
About 14 km after Dervio it is possible to take one last detour that leads to the Fontanedo Tower. I definitely recommend making this last effort! In fact, the Fontanedo Tower, despite originating in the 15th century (Visconti family), is still in perfect condition! From here there is a beautiful view of the northern part of Lake Como.
From the Fontanedo Tower we reach Colico: the fourth stage is about 18 km long, with an elevation gain of about 1,000 meters. I combined the two stages into one ,covering 28 km.