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From Rifugio Martina to Monte San Primo (Bellagio)

Monte San Primo. Agile hikers aren't the only ones to climb up here in summer because the tell-tale aroma of ovine and caprine droppings invaded our nostrils long before reaching the top. Our intent was to go up then return on the mainly forested trail (right side of photo) that commences behind Rifugio Martina, but the ascent is so steep (average 14% grade) that I wasn't too keen on going back down through the bug-infested environment again. The top photo was taken looking back at S. Primo as we descended to connect with sentiero 1 and continue on a loop trail to the starting point. For those who may have ended up here for trails near Bellagio, take a look at this site to see what the fuss is all about and tell me that ain't gorgeous (scroll to bottom). Unfortunately, it was a hazy experience for us this past Sunday and thus the wait continues until a clear weekend comes along. In the meantime I've set our hiking goals to explore more of the area that is just 30 minutes drive from Bellagio (lightened square in the photo below).

Rifugio Martina to Monte San Primo - nearly 600 meters straight up

It is supposed to take only 60 minutes but whoever calculated that figure must one of the ungulati (hooved ones). We slowly made our way in an hour and 45 minutes in the humidity and I advise sturdy boots/shoes and even hiking poles for this trail. It almost felt like a hike in a tropical forest with all that foliage scratching across my legs, plus you can't see the very peak and just keep trudging along, expecting to get above the treeline any minute. Avoid it if there has been recent rains because it will be muddy and slippery.

View enlarged map (A = Monte San Primo)

Rifugio Martina (english). Open from mid-June to mid-September.
Google map from Bellagio to rifugio parking (B). 20-minute walk to reach the rifugio (C).

All pain and no gain is plain rubbish in my book and we try to end a day of hiking with a reward of gelato. Eupili Cafè (Via Mazzini, 68 in Pusiano) has some of the best gelato that I've ever devoured and the guy behind the counter has always been great to give us little taste samples. Here: fragola (strawberry), pistacchio and fiori di sambuco (elderflower).


K and S said…
man that first photo brought back some Mt Fuji flashbacks...I agree that rewards should be gelato :)
Rowena said…
And you know as much as I do how the descent would've been on the knees!!! In some parts, the height distance between each step was at least a foot and a half! I had the hiking poles, but there were a lot of small stones along the path and I knew that I'd end up on my butt more than a few times if we had taken the same trail to return. We met some people coming down and they were wearing just sneakers...that's just plain crazy, unless they were born as billy goats in another life.
K and S said…
aw man, coming down on Mt Fuji, we had no trail, just sandy about no can walk for a week because knees and thighs in pain!
Jude said…
Sigh, this is soo awesome! I absolutely love your scenes of Italian life (if I weren't hanging in the UK so much, I'd have been right there in Italy!)
RONW said…
Maddie must have ate the comment that I left here very late last night.
Rowena said…
Jude - you know, I never was that into hiking in the islands, so this has been a complete turnaround for me. A good thing we're surrounded by mountains!

RONW - is THAT what Maddie farted out of her butt just now?
Elizabeth said…
Ooooh, and I will be on Lake Como in one week! Sounds like you can park at the Rifugio which is great.
Jude said…
I'm just catching up on some posts -- that's awesome you've gotten into hiking now, with such gorgeous mountains around you!!
Elizabeth said…
We did make it to Madonna del Ghisallo with a car, and drove a little higher up yet, but not to the Refugio Martina and no hiking. It was too bloody hot!

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