During 10 days spent in Italy, we visited quite a few cities (Como, Lecco, Milan, Morbegro, Sondrio), discovered amazing mountains, managed to rest one day on the shore of Como Lake (Colico) and tried countless times Italian ice cream, which by the way are for me the best in the world :) I will try to briefly highlight the possibilities each city offer tourists and give you also some practical tips.
Como was our first stop, we spend there one intense day and I think it was enough to discover this city. We found a room located very close to the city gate tower (Porta Torre), a few minutes walking distance to the heart of the city, Piazza del Duomo with the impressive Cathedral of Como. To visit this cathedral you need to purchase a ticket (1 euro) which will be a donation to support the renovation of the church. It’s very low price for visiting such a stunning cathedral. I know literally anything about different architectural styles, italian painters but I was impressed with the sculptures, paintings and overall unique atmosphere. I like how the cathedral looks outside, with its white marble facade and splendid dome overlooking the city.
After walking through the narrow streets of the old part of the city, we finally reached the lake! That was a stunning view :) We walked on the pier to see the city from an other perspective. Then we just started to walk along the shore, enjoying the impressive combination of water and mountains :) We quickly reached the park with the building looking like a greek temple. It was a museum dedicated to scientist and inventor, Aleksandro Volta who was born in Como in XVIII century. His tools, equipment and experiments, which led to the invention of the electrical battery, can be seen here. The museum is relatively small and during our visit the exhibition on the first floor was closed. For those with a keen interest in the history of science this is a good place to visit, others might want to skip this one (4euro entrance fee).
While walking in Como, we noticed a cable car going up the hill. According to my map it was Brunate, which turned out to be a wonderful village on the mountainside above the lake. My first obvious idea was to walk uphill instead of taking a cable car. Indeed, MAPS.ME had a path marked, leading to the top. We decided to try it out. On the wy there we found amazing view point just on one of the streets (Salita Peltrera), see next two photos below :) It wasn’t difficult to find a starting point of the path but it got worse really fast. The path was full of rocks, narrow and with the weird smell, along some old fence. After a while we decided to come back since we were actually suspicious if we can ever get to the top this way.
Funicolare, the small cable car takes tourists to the peak of the hill from where you can admire a view of Como Lake and the city. However, for us the view was not spectacular, maybe we just didn’t find a right viewpoint. On the way back to funicolare we notice posters advertising a shuttle bus to the lighthouse with “the best view”, maybe that was the place to go. You can find there few cafes, souvenirs shops and small church so I think it’s still worth to go. We had to wait like 30min in the queue to get down and it was horribly crowded and warm inside the cable car, yeah still high travel season.
Morbegno - Caspano - Cadeipicco - Dazio - Morbegno
Since my boyfriend needed a rest day without hiking, taking a bus to the highest village nearby and walking all the way down back through vineyards sounded reasonable enough that he agreed :) We took a bus from the bus station in Morbegno (next to the train station) to Caspano village. Bus ticket was 2.60 euro per person and we bought it in the information office, just next to the bus station. The plan was to hike down through the villages but obviously not along the road which was extremely narrow and without any sidewalk. There was some path marked on MAPS.ME but we were really not sure how it looks in reality. We got out of the minivan close to the church San Bartolomeo in Caspano and started to walk through the village which was pretty nice with its narrow streets and old houses. It was so incredibly quiet and the view of the mountains put us in a good mood :)
We first walked on the road until the next village, Cadeipicco where we found a path leading to Dazio through the forest. It was marked with truly beautiful wooden plate decorated with flowers :)
Dazio is much bigger and in front of the church we found a map with explanation of hiking trail in this area. It confirmed our belief that we should be able to hike all the way down without being on the dangerous road. Now we started to follow small metal plates with red and white stripes what you can see on the photo below. We are actually not sure what Colmen Trail means but it followed the path we took, almost until Morbegno. It wasn’t difficult to find a path, it crossed few times the main road and we didn’t meet any other tourists. Not demanding, very pleasant and relaxing walk.
The weather forecasts in the mountains were pretty bad and we had to look for another destination for the last day of our stay, before heading back to Milan. We decided to check Sondrio, the capital city of the province. I noticed two castles on the map so we just decided to be spontaneous and check them out! The first one, Castle Grumello is located around 3km from the train station but last part, just couple hundreds meters through the vineyards was really steep (200m up!). First we noticed closed gate and got really scared that we can’t enter. But we walked around and there was another entrance with the box where they kindly ask to put entrance fee for renovation of the castle. Actually, there are only ruins of the castle but I think it’s really pretty place where you can sit on the bench and enjoy the surrounding mountains and the view of the city.
This is the view from castle Masegra in the centre of Sondrio and it was the only positive thing we can say about this castle ;) It didn’t resemble the castle at all, just big building under repair so we quickly decided to head back to the city for well deserved pizza and ice cream :D It’s very easy to visit the cities along the railway line, you can just relocate from one to another quite quickly and in fair price.
Our knowledge of Milan was limited to two basic facts: it’s full of shops with luxury designer brands and its impressive cathedral attracts huge amount of tourists all year round! To be honest, shopping is not my thing, especially with so many expensive shops around so I have no tips for you regarding shopping in Milan, sorry! :) We definitely wanted to visit famous cathedral and Sforza Castle, these were actually our only ideas.
I’m not really sure what to think about this city. The cathedral is definitely really impressive and worth to visit but the overall style of the city didn’t attract out attention. Maybe we should visit the museum in the castle but we are not big history enthusiasts, more like a plants/animals/nature enthusiast (Monika) and technology/robots/space (Sebastian) enthusiast :)
Entrance fee to cathedral and rooftop by stairs (DUOMO PASS STAIRS) - 13 euro per person but if you want to use elevator then higher fee applies. Tickets can be bought in the office next to the Cathedral
Train from Colico to Milan - 7.30 per person
Since we had very early flight connection next day, we spend the night in Gallarate assuming that it would be easier to get from there to the airport. The train is only around 25min from Gallarate to the Airport but it runs unfortunately only unce per hour (modern and comfortable train, 6euro per person).
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