Skip to main content

Il Sentiero del Fiume (the River Trail)


Somana, Mandello del Lario (Lecco) - Let me first start out by saying that if you ace this trail with no regrets, then you are definitely EE - Escursionisti Esperti (expert excursionist) - material. This is the hike that gave me a taste of what a via ferrata (english) path might entail, and might I add that it was effin' thrilling? It has been a week since we last hiked this, but the River Trail in Somana left an impression that I can only describe as mind-blowingly incredible. A big thank you to the italian reader who alerted me to this gem of a sentiero!!!


For an easy-to-recognize reference point and beginning from Somana's church square, trailmarker 15b follows along a brief stretch of asphalt before heading down Via dell'Acqua Bianca and the last of the residential homes in town. Great grandaddy fig and cherry trees, and a large clump of tall bamboo line one side of the road before it turns into a dusty mule path leading into the woods. The circle tour itinerary is ideal if you're wanting for a day of adventure, a fair to medium challenge, and are not afraid of heights. Waterproof hiking boots are essential as the path bends, turns and twists in and out of the river, at times becoming part of the flowing torrent itself. It's impossible to lose your way as red paint marks on the surface of rocks/footpath clearly keep hikers from going astray. Simply follow 15b on the way up and 15 on the return down.

When you finally reach the waterfall there is one last, steep climb up (work those muscles!) where it will then point the way back home. This path is not advisable after a recent rain. At the end I've included a list of italian websites that should inspire anyone with the slightest hint of alpine wanderlust, and in the event that you might need a suggestion on where to stay and eat if planning a visit, a link for a multi-lingual b&b (conveniently located at the beginning of the trail) and one of my favorite Slow Food trattorias are also given. Getting to the town was a bit confusing with the gps navigator (it didn't take the one-way streets into consideration) but it's just a matter of following the black on white signs to Somana. Happy Hiking!


MotH's GPS tracking of the excursion
Val Meria
www.orsu.it (stunning photos)
.Luca's Flickr (image slideshow)
www.vieferrate.it (click on camera icons)
Bed & Breakfast dell'Acqua Bianca - Somana
Osteria Sali e Tabacchi - Maggiana (in construction)
Google map between the B&B [A] and restaurant [B]

Comments

RONW said…
hey Rowena, glad you're making the most of the warmer weather.
What an amazing hike..I would be alright for some of it...but coming down the waterfall would be a scary :-(
Rowena... said…
RONW - I grimace as I write this because it dropped down to Haleakala-ish temps within a week from the day of that hike and now. And lest I forget, Mother Nature has been spitting ice pellets at my garden...again!

Anne - Fortunately the trail does not go anywhere near/on that waterfall. It's just for show. The path continues to the left of where I snapped that shot and it's a rapid climb up! A lung buster, I will have to admit.
Meagan said…
Packing my pack and lacing my shoes.. Sicily has nothing to compare *sigh* I'm thinking of covering the Cinque Terre for my 30th this August but I dread the heat and the crowds (ohh why couldn't I have been born in May). We'll see how it goes!! Great post, I'll add it to my list!!
K and S said…
sounds awesome! though I stopped at "clump of tall bamboo" before reading on...after a rain you may be able to find takenoko (bamboo shoots)!!
2kamuela47 said…
Amazing hike! Enjoy summer!
Ciao Chow Linda said…
I love hiking in Italy, but does that trail really require you to scale a mountain and hold onto a chain rail? scary.
Rowena... said…
Meagan - if you manage the Cinque Terre in the heat I hope you'll tell us all about it. I've only done segments...not the entire 5...and would love to hear your take on it.

Kat - now this is news to me. Hmmm...maybe I should plant some in our yard! There's a nursery that sells all types of bamboo (and I thought there was only one, the tall kind like in Hawaii).

Laura - is a calorie-burner that's fo' sho'!

CC Linda - yes it does, which is why I strongly advise to forget about doing this hike after a heavy rain. This is just a taste of what a real via ferrata is like. On a scale of 1 to 5, I think it rates as 1 as you aren't using any other special equipment except a firm grip with your own hands. I'm looking forward to the next climb! Wheeeeeee!
When I grow up to be a real blogger, I want ot be just like Rowena...my gosh, you should be Italy's ambassador of Aloha!
Rowena... said…
Connie - well you had better start saving up for some basic gear that you'll need on a hike, because rubbah slippahs just won't make the cut. Italy's ambassador of aloha....it does have a nice sound to it!
Brad F. said…
Well, what I want to know is... did you pick any of the cherries or figs from the trees you passed, just before it turned into a dusty mule path? ^_^
Rowena... said…
Brad - lucky for the figs that they weren't ripe yet, and as for the cherries, they looked to be the sour type that grows rampant all over the woods over here. I don't even think that the birds bother eating them, the spoiled things!
Brad F. said…
That's a shame. When I was a kid and we lived in Bell, Germany (outside Hahn AFB), there was a cherry orchard down the street. The old man had two trees set aside for the town kids to climb and pick cherries from. Those things were fantastic. You could also find fresh spring onion growing wild. Rhubarb too. Not that I cared about those two things when I was a kid...
I did some Swiss Alps hiking last year when I lived in Geneva - some stunning glaciers but no waterfalls (was April and cold) and certainly no figs or cherries!
manju said…
I love reading stuff like this, but I would be waiting at that B&B (with a good book and bottle of vino) for the group to get back! Where were the pups?
Rowena... said…
Manju - the kids stayed home. There is now way we would've been able to haul them along up those chains. Maddie, maybe, but Mister, NO WAY!

Popular posts from this blog

Fun in the sun and snow at Alpe Giumello

Why do weekends with perfect weather always have to be so short? This past Saturday and Sunday was the one that anybody with a pulse has been wanting for a long time, the weekend with ZERO rain, no snowfall and nothing but blue skies all around. We had the intention of hiking around the base of Monte Muggio, a 3-hour loop trail that begins from the parking area at localit√† Alpe Giumello, but ice on the trail made it a dangerous gamble. If we had been able to get to the very top of Monte Muggio it would have afforded us a spectacular panorama with Bellagio jutting out in the middle of the lake.Even if a good, long hike was out of the question, there was plenty of wide open space to go for a stroll. We walked the dogs out on the flat plains on the eastern side of Giumello, all of which were covered in a thick layer of packed snow. In less than 30 minutes time we had built up enough of an appetite for a quick lunch at Ristoro Genio, a cozy little bar and restaurant serving hot meals…

In the news: from blogosphere to printed publication

It's just a little thing really, but when a staff member from a periodical for Italy's Alpini requested permission to reprint one of my blog entries, I had no idea how surprised, and I have to admit, a little bit sheepish I'd feel after seeing my Tasi e Tira article taking up half the space on page 12. I just received my copy in the mail. The entry was posted over a year ago but through the vast reaches of the internet it goes to show what nice things can happen when you try to immerse yourself in a culture not your own. Perhaps the word "immerse" is rather modest as I like to jump right into the middle of things and get up close and personal. What tickles me the most is that this blog started off as a way of amusing myself (and expanding my knowledge of the country's cuisine), but getting published...whoa! It's like icing on the cake!
Click to view large

Good day for a hike: 2500 feet, 23 km and 7.5 hours

A hunk of bread, a wedge of aged sheep's cheese, a couple canteens of water and some fruit. I regret not being able to share a more thorough and detailed trail description but this was more for practice and not for the lofty views. Ever since the movie The Way, we both had to know what one 20 kilometer day (12+ miles) would feel like if we were to embark on, at most, the 40-day 800 kilometer Camino de Santiago in Spain. That's a lot of walking. I think I would get real skinny if I missed a meal.Lecco's mountains are covered in so many up-and-down trails that all you need do is get to any village above the lake. We started at an altitude of 670 meters and walked up another 762 to the top of Monte Tesoro in Valcava. That's a height difference of 2500 feet, 8 kilometers and 2.5 hours at a steady pace with Maddie and Mr B in tow. From there we made a loop trip back down, stopping often to munch on vittles and to take a look around. Altogether a total of 23 kilomete…