As I’m lucky enough to live on one of the mountains behind Salo, I can walk out of my front door and have a fantastic walking experience whenever I want, which is usually four or five times a week. I usually take one of two routes, both only around 90mins duration, one slightly more hard going than the other, both with some fantastic views and interesting nature. As it’s only a 10-15 minute drive from Salo, I think it’s worth sharing them with you….

In the last post I described the route to a zone called Cuel, an now I will tell you about the route up to a pretty little church on top of the mountain called The Madonna della Neve, which translated means the “our lady of the snow”. The 15th century church was damaged by an earthquake in 2004 and undergone a restoration, which strengthened its foundations and returned the building to it’s former glory. The works included a new roof and retouching of the beautiful fresco’s.  A ‘feste’ was held last August (2012) to celebrate the completion of the restoration and re-opening of the church.

Don’t worry if you arrive and the church is locked because the peace and tranquility of the Madonna can be experienced outside where a picnic area has been constructed. There are a number of tables to sit at depending on which of the breathtaking views you wish to stare at, the lake to the east, or mountains to the west and the north.

To get there you need to find your way to Tormini, which is a couple of km west of Salo. At the roundabout at Tormini take the exit to Milan/Brescia, Gavardo. Careful now, you only need to drive 50m then turn right over the bridge to Ponte Pier. Once over the bridge you follow the road round to the right, then follow it all the way up the mountain, to Peracque/Prandaglio. There is only one junction which is shortly after the Canneto, where you need to turn left.

You will know when you arrive at the top because the road turns into a track and there is a small car park, which is also an observation point with fantastic views of the lake.

View Cuel-Maddona della Neve in a larger map

Park your car and (with your back to the lake), walk back down the road for a few meters, until you see the sign

The walk up is fairly steep from the start until you reach the top. The route is well trodden but because of loose stones it can be quite slippery, especially when the weather has been very dry, so make sure you take a stick, which will be especially useful for the walk back down.

The walk has different offerings at different times of the year. During the spring the pathway is lined by a colourful display of pretty flowers, which include  Periwinkle, Lilly of the Valley, Snowdrops, Primrose, Peony and others that I have forgotten already, but which I will endeavour to learn the names of. During the autumn the views from the top give a magical display of reds, oranges yellows and browns on the mountains opposite.