Jane's Travel Blog

New Chapter: Explore the World

Ghiffa Hike


Ghiffa Hike

Bob discovered a hike on the internet from Ghiffa to Verbania. The website stated, “perfect for families and children.”  It sounded like a perfect 3 hour hike. You take a quick bus ride, hike up the mountain, and hike on an old goat trail back to town. Simple, easy. Hmmm, NOT so much.

It was 60 degrees and we were off. Bob, our friend Dave and I take the 7 kilometer bus ride from Verbania to Ghiffa. The plan, as explained on the hiking website, was to follow an old trail to Sacro Monte of the Holy Trinity, a natural reserve and UNESCO World Heritage site (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.)

We believed we were the best prepared for any hike with printed directions in hand. Well, we quickly discovered the website was WRONG! The directions sucked and at times the trails were quite arduous.

Finding the trailhead was the first clue that the directions, as I said, “sucked.”

“Go to the hat factory/museum and follow the stone stairs.” Sounds clear, sounds easy – Nope, no stone stairs at the hat factory. They should say, “go south from the hat factory, past the parking garage, and look for the stone steps and a sign for Monte of the Holy Trinity.” The directions were about 2 football fields off.

We are feeling wonderful now. The trail is ancient stone, with stone walls on both sides and honestly radiates  holiness.  All goes well for about 15 minutes and we meet an asphalt road. The directions are not helpful. Is it a left? Is it a right? Do we turn three times, and click our shoes together?  Our instincts prevail  and we find the next major landmark, a church.

At the church, the directions, say ”walk up the steps past the church and follow the internal road until you reach the mule track that rises to the Holy Trinity of Ghiffa.” Again, sounds easy. Going up the stairs was as obvious as the yellow brick road. We get behind the church and you guessed it,  turn left? right?  Hmmm. And where’s the mule track? As if we’d know a mule track if we saw one.

At this point we are practicing our oral reading and listening skills. “OK, listen to me read this and you guys tell me what it means.” We choose right and keep walking. A few more dead ends, a helpful woman walking through the woods in a business suit talking on the phone (haven’t figured that one out yet) and two somewhat angry construction workers later ( we got busted cutting through some construction), we make it to Sacro Monte of the Holy Trinity.

The crazy hike was well worth it. The peace, the quiet, the view! We eat our picnic lunch sitting on an ancient stone bench overlooking Lago Maggiore, and explored a bit of the sanctuary.

OK, now we think all is great. There’s a trail marker and it looks crystal clear for the second half of the hike.  Again, after about 20 minutes of clear trail, nothing is obvious.  We run into many forks, trails that just end, and sometimes no trail at all. We read the useless directions, trust our guts, hit many (albeit beautiful) dead ends, and just keep hiking south.

Eventually we found our way back to the road, had a somewhat hair-raising walk on a highway, and arrived safely back in Verbania happy, a bit tired, and satisfied with a day of unexpected hiking.

We will be commenting on their website with a few suggestions on their directions. BTW, NOT children friendly.


Author: janeelizabethmarko

Jane travels the world with her husband Bob. They are always looking for long-term house sits. Contact Jane if you are planning on traveling and need someone to care for your pets, garden, and home.

8 thoughts on “Ghiffa Hike

  1. Arduous is never a word I want associated with my hikes anymore although I did find the true meaning hiking in Zion when I was younger. I also feel your pain in wondering what a mule track would look like. We got lost in the desert once when the directions for the path we were hiking said turn left at the arroyo. Arroyo….hmm…I now know what that is but didn’t then, and spent some time hiding from the mid day sun under rocks with the snakes.

    • Funny. So what is an arroyo? It was in an ABC book I used once, but I can’t remember what it is.
      The views were amazing and I’d do it again and again if I could. The snow will soon fly so that hike will be out.

  2. I REALLY enjoyed your humorous descriptive writing about the Hike Adventure.
    You will always remember the Ghiffa Hike and it will make a great story to tell!
    Go forth my friends. More photos of beautiful Jane please!! LOVE

    • I’m on it with pics of me, but I’m the one behind the camera. I’ll work on that. We will be trying the griff a hike again in a few weeks. We have talked to a few people so we have more knowledge and screw the map!

  3. All the photos look serene…arduous? Well captured in words and in scenery.

  4. I am absolutely loving all your posts!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s