One of the routines Bob and I are establishing is hiking about twice a week. We can’t get to the Alps every day, so our goal was to find hikes that don’t require a guide or a car. Once again, Verbania, Italy does not disappoint. Monte Rossa, The Red Mountain (not red however) is smack dab in the middle of town.
Situated toward the top of Monte Rossa is a 15th century town, Cavandone, so that became our destination. The hike started at our door step and we headed south along the lake to the small community of Suna (great restaurants in Suna.) We turned into town at the sign for Cavandone. The hiking signs tell the hours and minutes, not the distance. We started the ascent pronto. It’s an even, but noticeable upward walk. I call it a walk at this point because we are on cobblestone streets through town on our way to the trailhead. After 20ish minutes and an underpass, it starts to feel like a hike. The trail is a Roman footpath complete with remnants of stone paths. Occasionally, dry-set-stone walls guide us up Monte Rossa.
In fall, the chestnuts cover the trails. The crazy surprise with chestnuts comes with their outer layer. It looks like a creature from Star Trek. (Kip, Find the episode for me! See the picture) I put one in my backpack, forget about it, and had quite the scare when I reached back in. My hand never moved faster. Laughter took over, and I’ve since eaten roasted chestnuts.
Anyway, hiking this clearly marked trail is stunning. We past an medieval watchtower, Maddona Del Buon Rimedio Oratory (small 17th century chapel), and hike up a long cobblestone stairs to enter Cavandone. I felt like I stepped back in time. As we wandered the deserted streets we remembered it was siesta. We came across a tiny restaurant with five people enjoying their siesta.
We were a bit tired and needed to hike back, so we decided to explore more on our next visit. We just reversed the hike to return home and ended back in Pallanza for a gelato for Bob and a vino rossa for me. Again, a perfect day!
Later that week, we hiked Monte Rossa again, but started north walking 20 minutes to Madonna Di Campagna Church, an octagonal Renaissance church. We turned toward the mountain, as the plan was to hike around the mountain instead of up and back. The dirt trail was also well marked and mostly took us through beautiful wooded forest with an occasional overview of the city. This side of the mountain was much steeper and it took some focus. We refueled with oranges and almonds and keep moving toward Bieno, a small town on the trail. When we got to the town, we enjoyed our lunch in a tiny piazza next to yet another ancient church. Happy and somewhat rested, we headed straight up and the trail dropped us off in Cavandone. Here we repeated the descent from the first hike and ended in Suna. After a 15 minute walk back to our door, we completed circling the Monte Rossa. These two hikes will be repeated again and again. Verbania has the hikes!