From Cavargna to San Lucio

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A walk among pasture fields to the church of San Lucio (alt. 1542 m.), which stands on the mountain pass between the Val Colla (Switzerland) and Val Cavargna (Italy). In the past this was an important trnsit route. Near the church stands the Rifugio San Lucio.

From the bus stop at Cavargna (alt. 1071 m.) go right; despite its old origins Cavargna doesn’t preserve many traces from its past: even the parish church was rebuilt in 1967. Take the track on the left side of the leading steeply uphill to the “Colonia” (holiday camp), a useful lodging for those who follow “Il Sentiero delle 4 Valli”, a trekking tour of 50 km divided in 3 stages starting at Breglia (above Menaggio) winding through the Val Sanagra, the Val Cavargna, Val Rezzo and the Valsolda and ending at Dasio above Lake Lugano. The path then skirts a beech wood called”Bosco Sacro” which forms a natural barrier against snow- and land slides before leading into the narrow and steep Val Marda. Having crossed the bridge over the stream, the trail ascends to some ruins. Continue 50 m. and then turn right and follow the track through the pastures to the top of the slope to the settlement Monti Colonè (alt. 1.400 m 1.30 hrs) from where the view embraces the whole valley of Cavargna. At the fountain in the middle of the settlement, you turn right and go up the steep slope over the pasture fields to the church San Lucio (alt.1542 m.) The church is of the XV century and it has always been a cultural as well as a devotional point of reference for the people from both sides (Swiss and Italian). Inside there are paintings from the XV up to the XVII century and a wooden statue of the XV century which represents Saint Lucio. The 12th of July is the feast in honour of the Saint, but he is commemorated on the occasion of the feast of San Rocco on the 16th of August. The Rifugio San Lucio is an ex barracks of the Customs Service (built in 1903) The Customs Service patrolled the border, barred by a long metal fencing to control the passage of smugglers. The barracks were closed in 1960’s and was left abandoned till in 1999 when the town government of Cavargna decided to turn it into a Rifugio.

Detour: From the San Lucio Pass you can reach the top of Monte Garzirola (alt. 2116 m.) continuing on the grassy ridge in about 1.45 hrs. Tel.

Note: in front of the parish church is the ” Museo della Valle” which gives a good idea how life used to be in the valley.

Opening times: Sunday 14.00 17.00 Other days on request. For information 0344 63261

ITINERARY: Cavargna – Monti Coloné – San Lucio

TOTAL WALKING TIME: 2 hrs. (one way)

ASCENT: 471 m.