The Greenway of Lake Como that winds for about 10 km through the villages and hamlets of Colonno, Sala Comacina, Ossuccio, Lenno, Mezzegra, Tremezzo and Griante offers countless “versions” to meet everybody’s requirements: from the experienced walker to the one that just wants to enjoy a leisurely stroll.
The route I would like to suggest you definitely suits people who, like me, are not experienced walkers, but who don’t even want to deprive themselves of the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent sceneries surrounding this area.
You leave from the car park of the hamlet of Ospedaletto, in Ossuccio, next to the well-known bell tower, one of the most famous and most photographed symbols of Lake Como. While here, before you even start walking, a stop is required. I would actually suggest you to go down the stone steps that lead to the Romanesque church of Santa Maria Maddalena, part of an antique medieval complex, once used as a hospice for the poor and the pilgrims and today as the Comacina Island Antiquarium Museum.
Keep going down, until you reach the landing stage for the Comacina Island, the only island of Lake Como that will now appear right in front of you, in all its luxurious beauty. This also marks the starting point of a pleasant walk by the lake that will take you back to the Via Statale Regina.
Carry on walking for about 10m to your right and, right in front of the Post Office, you will join the Greenway of Lake Como, which you will recognize by its blue and yellow trail marks and by its metal plates on the ground.
Keep walking, until you reach the gate of Villa del Balbiano, one of the lake’s five oldest villas and at all times one of the most courted and most wanted residences in the whole world, today property of a young and rich Russian heiress, from where you will be able to admire its elegant Italian gardens.
Cross the bridge over the Perlana torrent towards the historic hamlet of Campo, an ancient Roman encampment, from where, along narrow alleys and descents towards the lake, you reach Villa Monastero, yesterday and old historic residence and today a much-desired location for exclusive weddings.
Follow the path and continue along the side of the peninsula of the Lavedo, until you reach Lenno’s Lido, from where you can easily reach Villa del Balbianello and from where Lenno’s lakeside promenade begins, running all along the Gulf of Venus, named so because of its exceptional beauty, passing by the picturesque square, with the Church of Santo Stefano and the Baptistery of San Giovanni, until it reaches the boats landing stage.
Cross the small bridge over the Pola torrent, follow the path by the lake close to the San Giorgio Hotel and go up the cobbled lane until you reach the Via Statale Regina.
At this point, I would suggest you to leave the Greenway of Lake Como and to turn right, towards the park of Mezzegra, which often hosts some of the most popular village festivals and fairs in Tremezzina. Carry on walking along the path on the right side of the entrance to the park, Via Andrea Colombo, and, when on your right you will find an open gate, don’t hesitate to cross it to access a terrace on the lake, right in front of Villa Le Fontane, from where you will be able to enjoy an absolutely incredible panorama.
Go back on the path and keep going until you reach the charming square of the hamlet of Azzano, in Mezzegra, by the lakeside, where you will be able to admire an imposing centuries old magnolia, which is 16 m high and with a 1,3 m large trunk: a real monument!
At this point, leave the lake behind you, go up the cobbled lane on the right side of the square, reach the Via Statale Regina again, cross the road and start walking along Via XXIV Maggio. This is the point from where you start your way back, along which you will be able to see everything all over again, but this time from a different point of view: from above.
First of all, after about 100m, once you’ll have reached the hamlet of Giulino, in Mezzegra, on your right you will find the entrance to Villa Belmonte, marked by a black cross and a showcase displaying the photographs of Benito Mussolini and Claretta Petacci to commemorate the place where they were killed at the hands of the Partisans on 28th April 1945.
Keep walking and, at the first hairpin bend, take Via Pola, right in front of you, along which on your right you will have a succession of pretty small villas and residential estates and on your left a wonderful view of the lake, in particular of the Gulf of the Lily in Tremezzo, of the Gulf of Venus and the peninsula of the Lavedo in Lenno and of Bellagio on the opposite side of the lake.
At the end of Via Pola, walk down along the cobbled lane through the farmhouses, where, for a moment, you will have the feeling to have stepped back in time, cross the stone bridge over the Pola torrent, climb the stairs on your right and you are back in Lenno.
At the end of the path, pass the “Cooperativa di Lenno” that for years has hosted fairs and gastronomic festivals, walk through the pretty hamlet of Masnate and reach viale Libronico, along which you can find the detour to reach the Acquafredda Abbey.
At the end of viale Libronico, once you’ll have reached the historic hamlet of Molgisio, characterised by an ancient washtub, keep to the right, walk down and then climb back up, crossing the Perlana torrent again while admiring its waterfalls, and you will reach the first of a series of fourteen chapels that represent the Mysteries of the Rosary and that lead to the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Rescue: a walk and a scenery not to be missed!
You are now back in Ossuccio; keep to the left and carry on walking until you reach the end of the road; turn left and start going downhill. On the way down you can find the small but absolutely noteworthy Church of Sant’Agata that keeps an ancient Roman votive altar, dating back between II and III centuries, which passed on the place-name of the old site and of its inhabitant: the Ausuciates.
Keep walking downhill, the Comacina Island is in front of you again, and, when the unique bell tower will only be a few steps away from you, just before reaching the Via Statale Regina again, on the last bend, look to your left to admire Villa Leoni, realized by architect Pietro Lingeri at the beginning of 1940s, a monument of great artistic and architectural value, integrated in what is considered to be one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world. Cross the road and that’s it: you are now right back to where you started from!
In brief: a leisurely stroll, suitable for everybody, with the opportunity to admire elegant villas and old hamlets, well-tended parks and flourishing gardens, historic sites, luxuriant vegetation…the past and the present perfectly blended, surrounded by beautiful sceneries and wonderful views.
It is only a suggestion: don’t forget your cameras!