Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lake Como: the Brunate - Montepiatto - Torno trail

Ahhhhh...the celebrity allure of Lago di Como (no small thanks to Georgie). This is a repeat hike accomplished in full compared to the shortened version that we went on 6½ months ago in Hiking above Lake Como: 2 hours tops. This itinerary includes a steep descent to the village Torno where a slow boat takes you back to Como. The path is easy to follow if you look for the Strada Regia signs at the beginning and stick with the Montepiatto trail markers along the way. It's advisable to take the funicular tram up to Brunate (10 minutes). From there, exit the tram, go down the steps and head right. At each of the two forks in the road keep to the left. At the very end of the campo sportivo (sports field) the trail begins.

The main points of interest are ice age stone formations and several tombs which have been carved out of granite rock. (Don't worry, there are no dead people in them.) The tomb (masso avello) has an interesting history in relation to the Roman Empire and more info can be found in the english translation at the end of Pro Loco Torno website. I'm continuing this post 60 minutes into the path from the chapel where we cut it short the first time around.

Comments disabled because we're away for an extended weekend. It's La Vacca or BUST!

Sasso del Lupo (Wolf Rock)

Soon after the chapel, a granite monolith comes into view. Formed by impressive glacial movements that have made it possible to eventually come to rest in the valley, there is a myth which claimed it as the cave of a wolf. According to popular tradition, in this den hid a terrible wolf who kidnapped bad and disobedient children. (A bad apple in every bunch eh?)

Trailmarkers for Torno or Montepiatto

It's worth the extra time to go right and visit the church and Pietra Pendula (suspended stone). After the steps, take the first stony path on the left, then right, then immediately left again through the neighborhood. Signs at the church point the way to Pietra Pendula.

Pietra Pendula

Looking like a gigantic mushroom, the suspended rock is reached a few minutes after the church. From here on we retraced our steps and headed down the rapid, steep decline to Torno. It rivals the Stair Stepper any day.

View of Torno from the lake

We passed on seeing the tombs and took the shortcut to Torno (sharp left at the shrine with Joseph/Baby Jesus). When the town comes into view, head toward the church belfry where the boat landing is located. Map below. This hiker has great photos of the tombs from his trek.

Mr. B says: “That was better than riding the chairlift but when do I get my prosciutto bone?”

*Map of Torno: a yellow arrow with paw prints and purple dots mark the shortcut. To see the tombs, continue straight ahead after the small shrine.
*Public parking: cheaper (3.50 euros for the whole day) at the huge spray fountain a couple hundred feet beyond the Como-Brunate funicular.
*Funicular: 1-way for adult/2.45€, child/1.60€, dogs/0€ (kids under 1 meter travel gratis).
*Torno-Como by boat: dogs pay children's fare at ½ price. 2 adults + 2 "kids" = 9.60€
*Quick bite and yummy gelato: at gelateria Al Molo as soon as you exit the boat landing.