An Amazing Hiking Adventure with Nadia!
Varenna is an ancient little village perched on the hillside of Lake Como. Everything is perfect and charming. You can see beautiful lakeside villas, botanical gardens, visit a hilltop castle, explore the historic old town with several churches and colorful old houses while enjoy stunning views of Lake Como. Our walking tour included hiking to Castello di Vezio in Perledo, stopping at the Sorgente Fiumelatte, the shortest river in Italy, and ending with a walking tour of gardens of Villa Monastero. The Garden is rich in rare and exotic botanical species which stretches 2 kilometers along the lakefront from Varenna to Fiumelatte. We met Nadia at the picturesque San Giorgio Square in Varenna. In the front of the main church of San Giorgio. A perfect example of 14th century Lombard Architecture. As we walked in you can marvel at the flooring of the church which is in the black Varenna marble. The church is open every day from 8:30-7:00pm. Interesting enough the village center has four churches. The oldest The Church of San Giovanni Battista, the Mother Church of Varenna dating back to the 11th century, The Little Baroque Church and Church of S. Marta. Lake Como has many churches. Some are simple and humble while others are real works of art. Each one is exquisite and charming. Definitely worth visiting as many churches as you can while in Como. My son, his girlfriend and I were fortunate to have Nadia as our “private” tour guide for the day since no one else had booked the tour that morning. We knew it was going to be an awesome adventure. In fact, upon learning we were from Florida, the flattest state in the US, Nadia gave me essential instructions on how to use my hiking poles correctly. As we walked through the center square, several locals greeted Nadia fondly as if she were family. I loved that because I felt we were going to see the Best of Varenna through the eyes of an amazing local. I would say the hike is somewhat challenging. You hike up a steep “rocky” paved path mostly in the shade. The cobblestone walkway is a bit of an incline. I learned that although it is a shorter route to get to the castle, it is by far the steepest. It was certainly worth the cardio challenge! The Views at the Top are stunning! I loved the multiple Ghost Statues that haunt the grounds of the castle on the Lake. The ghosts of Vezio are made of plaster casts. It is linked to the legend of Theodelinda, she was the queen of the Lombards. It is said her heart and souls are buried within the walls of Vezio, and that her soul wanders its halls on moonless nights. Nadia's English is Excellent so we didn’t miss out on any of the numerous facts and historical stories. Very personal and flexible. I felt like I’ve known her all my life. Nadia walked up the steep terrain with grace and ease. Amazing!!! Nadia gave us fascinating information throughout our walk. Nadia has intense local pride of her village and it showed when she saw The Lucia in the harbor. The Lake Como Traditional Boat, The Lucia or “batell”, which literally means boat. Lucia named after the character in the novel The Betrothed! Since the 16th century the fishermen of Lake Como used this particular boat to move through the waves of the lake in order to approach the shores without the risk of damage. It has a circular wooden structure above it. It was used for fixing a tent to cover fishermen from elements during fishing trips. Entirely made of wood, the hull and the circles were in chestnut wood; the oars of fir and the oarlocks in oak. It was amazing to see the beauty of it. Love traditions and history. . Nadia was very patient as I was cautious climbing the steep ascent with some tricky footing along the way, but at no time did she rush us. We took the panoramic walk on an ancient cobbled path overlooking Varenna. We hiked up to the Castle of Venzio. It has a central tower, a functioning drawbridge, and surrounding olive trees, all of which make this castle one of the most picturesque in the area. They even have falconers who work with trained birds of prey. Afterwards, we walked to the The Sorgente Del Fiumelatte. The shortest river in Italy springs out of a cave in the rock. Interesting enough, Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the first to discover the river. The name means “river of milk” referring to the foaming and frothing milky color caused by speed at which is gushes down the mountain to the lake. After reaching the waterfall, we marveled at how delicious and cold the water was. We made our way back in the direction of Varenna. Loved the beautiful gardens of Villa Monastero. This was undoubtedly a highlight of our trip. The views of Lake Como were unmatched. If you're on the fence, just do it! You won't regret it! You have the Best Tour Guide with You!!! We Loved our Amazing Hike. Thank You Nadia!