We did this walk last April but it’s worth posting to give an example of the walks/hikes that can be found in this enchanting region. We found this walk in a guide book called Brescian Trails-Hiking In the Province of Brescia. We chose this particular walk because it was our first walk of the season, and the guide book alluded to it being a reasonably easy walk by stating ‘if you have children, watch out for some rather exposed stretches’. If it’s ok for children then it would be ok for our first walk of the season….we ignorantly thought.
The peak of Cima Comer is 1,279m and the guide book gives the option of doing a long walk which starts in the beautiful lakeside town Gargnano, at the elementary school at 90m, or a shorter walk which starts at a village called Sasso at 546m.
If you choose the longer walk you need to follow sentieri 37, which starts at the elementary school (I will add a google map at a later date). If you start here you get to see the lemon houses of Quarcino and then pass through the Musaga district before arriving at Sasso approximately 1hr15mins after you set off.
We chose to do the short walk so drove up to Sasso. You can get to Sasso by car by taking the left turn up to Valvestino as you drive north through Gargnano. We parked the car in the main square at Sasso, where I was pleased to note was a quaint looking bar. We sought out the village fountain, where the guidebook said the trail began, and followed the signs to San Valentino along sentieri 31. It was fairly easy going to start with, but the path became steeper as we went.
After approx. 30 mins we arrived at a fork at San Valentino and took the detour down to the old Hermitage, ‘an almost 400 years-old, whitewashed chapel which at a height of 770 meters is nestled on an overhanging rock. According to tradition it was built in 1630 as a refuge for the survivors of the plague. In the 19th century the hermit Jeremiah Paladine retired there for many years, extended and decorated it with a portrait that is still preserved. The small hermitage with its tiny rooms, quaint chapel, a fireplace and a natural cistern is because of its intimacy, unique location and stunning views a place of fascinating beauty’-Garda Plus Magazine.
It was a fairly steep climb down a portion of the gorge to the Hermitage, but well worth it to experience the aura of the quaint little building. From the hermitage there is an option to follow the gorge up to a point further along the route, but it is recommended only for expert hikers (EE). We returned to where we had taken the detour and followed the route up. The climb continued to get steeper but the scenery took our minds off our aching calves. The last twenty minutes were particularly steep, rather rugged and exposed. It certainly wasn’t the ‘walk’ I expected and my hat goes off to any children that have achieved it, but when we arrived at the top the hard climb had been well worth it because the views, spanning the entire lake, were spectacular.
Sticks are recommended for the walk back down, we hadn’t taken any but found some makeshift ones that helped us safely back to the well-deserved beer in the quaint little bar, the thought of which had kept me going when things got tough.