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Sighignola, the balcony of Italy

One of the most beautiful places in Italy, elected "Place of the Heart" by FAI, represents the flagship of Val d'Intelvi.

On a clear day from Sighignola you can admire a spectacular panorama, especially looking west, where the view ranges from the nearby Ceresio to the Alps. The highest visible peak is Monte Rosa, but you can also catch a glimpse of the Matterhorn.

This natural area on the border with Switzerland is called the “Balcony of Italy” because of the enchanting panorama it offers. Since the beginning of the twentieth century the Italian Touring Club has promoted the tourist vocation of the Sighignola, subsidising the construction of the road.

This splendid belvedere is a natural terrace that is literally set between the rocks and offers a unique view.

The Sighignola is a destination easily accessible from Lanzo. There are several possible routes to reach it.


Walk for everybody

Road for bike or car

From Lanzo you can easily reach the top of Mount Sighignola by road.

To reach the Sighignola by car and by bike, it is necessary to take the historic carriage road built in the early 1900s by Vittorio Bertarelli, geologist, speleologist and founding member of the Italian Touring Club, who wanted to make easy the access to a unique panoramic point.

Starting from Lanzo: proceed northwest from Via Fontanella towards Via C. Goldoni, turn left into Via C. Goldoni, go straight on for 280 m, continue straight on Via Sighignola until you reach your destination.

Short walking path – suitable for children
If you wish to walk along the path, leave your car in the car park in front of the “La Baita Restaurant” and take the path (marked by a large sign) which leads to the “Balcone d’Italia” in about twenty minutes. The path is slightly uphill, in the middle of a grove, which can also be walked with children.

At the top of the mountain you reach the square called “Balcone d’Italia” where you can take a break and enjoy the beautiful view. Here we recommend a picnic (there are a couple of tables with benches on site), children can play in the equipped park just below.

A billboard explains the history of the cable car that from Campione d’Italia was supposed to take you to Sighignola, but until 2011 it remained only an unfinished project due to various vicissitudes.
Luckily the ecomostro (a tourist facility with an abandoned cable car since 1969, in the mountains of Lanzo d’Intelvi) has been demolished, and now there is nothing to spoil the view.


Trekking ways to reach the Sighignola peak

How to reach the starting point for the trek:
Once in Lanzo follow the signs that lead to the “centre” and reach the Church of San Siro, located in the centre of the village.
Take the road to the left of the church and continue on via A. Sweep until you reach the old ski lift, located just after the cemetery of Lanzo.
It is possible to park your car at the old ski lift.

From the car park you can take 2 routes:

  • the mule track (trail 8b): 1 h and 40 min to reach the summit
  • trail 8 – 8a (signpost on the left): 3 h and 30 min

Trail n° 8 – “BÜIS E GROTA DI GAI”

Departure: Valle dei Saraceni
Length: 8 K  – Walking time: 3h 30
Vertical drop: 415 metres
Difficulty: E (Hikers)

Trail for trekking, Nordic walking and snowshoeing

Description: Starting from the “Valle dei Saraceni” and following the signs towards Büis, you will reach a crossroads from which you can go right towards “Büis Alto” and the “Vetta Sighignola” or left towards “Büis Basso” with possible diversion to the “Grota di Gai” (cave built during the First World War); from here you can return via “Mara”. Instead, going back to the path towards “Büis Basso” you will reach the deviation for the trail n° 8a that leads to Arogno; taking the path on the right, after a rapid ascent, you will reach an observatory on Lake Lugano and continuing on you will meet two forks that lead to the ski slope and the mule track that leads back to the start.

If you continue uphill you reach the “Vetta Sighignola” with a possible excursion to the little church of the Alpini, from here you take the path for the return that leads first to a hairpin bend of Via Sighignola and then, one hundred metres after the house, to a diversion on the left towards the “Meriggio” and finally to the right you take the path that goes down to the “Funtanin de Piasc” and then to the starting point.


Trail n° 8a – “Circumnavigation of the Sighignola peak”

Departure: Valley of the Saracens
Length: 14 Km – Walking time: 6h
Vertical drop: 820 metres
Difficulty: EE (Experienced Hikers)

Trail for trekking

Description: Starting from the “Valle dei Saraceni” and following the signs towards Büis, you will reach a crossroads from which you must continue to the left towards “Büis Basso”; continuing on you will reach the diversion to Arogno; once you reach “Garavina” continue to the right towards “S. Vitale” and from here take the path that leads to “Alpe di Pugerna”; following the path you reach the locality “Alpetto” and then “Alpe di Trevino”; continue along the path until the locality “Meriggio” and from here along the last part of the trail n° 8.

Have a look to the map of Lanzo D’Intelvi’s paths


The Sighignola

The Sighignola is a 1320 m high mountain of the Luganese Prealps.
It is located between the Italian municipality of Lanzo d’Intelvi (where there is the summit) and the Swiss municipalities of Arogno and Lugano.

The eastern side (Italian) is gentle and wooded; the western side (Swiss) is much more pronounced and steep with a vertical drop of over 1000 m.
The peak represents the culminating point of Val d’Intelvi, and can be reached by car starting from Lanzo through a road, built just before the outbreak of the First World War, as part of the construction of the Northern Frontier (the Italian defensive system towards Switzerland, known as the Cadorna Line).

On the top of the mountain there is a small chapel in memory of the fallen Alpine soldiers during the Great War. The main attraction, however, remains the panoramic terrace located right on the border, but still on Italian territory. From here you can enjoy a view that stretches from Lake Lugano to the Graubünden Alps, Monviso and the Apennines.

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