Helen in Europe travel blog

donkeys along the way

Proof! On the way to Monte San Martino with its peak beckoning...

lovely chapel about two thirds of the way along

about two thirds there, view of the city

view of Lake Como almost at the top

my route, image borrowed from adelinatiziano.blogspot.com

Today was to be my 'catch-up' day, time out to respond to all those work emails and messages from family and have a rest before pondering the next 7 days I have left in Lecco. I had thought to alternate day trips with excursions as there are plenty of places to visit in North Italy that are only an hour or so away, and so very accessible with the affordable Italian public transport system. Seek out the imagined space where Romeo serenaded Juliet in Verona maybe? Or have a parma in Parma (couldn't resist, sorry)?

After sitting down for an hour or so I thought it time for a 'break' to stretch the legs. I packed my backpack with the basics: charged mobile phone, house keys and a bottle of water and off I wandered off in the general direction of the mountain I had been peering out at and photographing every night I spent in Lecco; I realised that I had not even walked that side of the house yet, always walking the same 2-3 routes down town. Even if I just venture into new neighbourhoods for ten minutes, it would be some exercise and a different environment to experience. So with no map, no directions, no research about hikes, and no informing my hosts that I was possibly about to walk up a mountain, I sought the unknown. After walking upwards several blocks, I ended up feeling like I was in a different town altogether, passing either large private yards or quite smaller houses on the outskirts of town, several with donkeys in paddocks. The rich smell of donkey manure was somehow reassuring, making me feel of those familiar smells of Australia. As I neared the mountain, I thought I may as well ascend. For a hike, that was where the visible wildlife ended; from then on all I saw were those little lizards that scampered away just in front of me as I marched on through the forest. It was hard to drop that habit of just slightly keeping a watchful eye out for snakes. But - I'm in Italy! No snakes! And no rubbish either.

After forging on ahead for two hours, experiencing all types of walking paths from rocks you need to grab onto to stones and gravel I ended up in Monte San Martino - I only know this from the signs that eventually appeared and by cross checking the visual appearance of the mountain with its distinctive vertical cliff when I returned.

About San Martino: The mountain San Martino belongs to the Grigne group and together with Resegone is the rocky natural background for Lecco.

Alessandro Manzoni the writer (see previous blogposts) mentions it in The Betrothed: “The bank, formed by the deposit of three large mountain streams, descends from the bases of two contiguous mountains, the one called St. Martin, the other by a Lombard name, Resegone, from its long line of summits, which in truth give it the appearance of a saw”. And it does indeed visually resemble a saw. Having returned home (and stretching those calves) I researched a little further where I had been. This blog is pretty close to what I did except that I didn't go where the large cross was.


So four hours of walking, and according to the Health app: 10.3 kms, 145 floors an 15,635 steps later, I am feeling absolutely elated at having made it to the top of the world (I mean Mount San Martino). Where to next?

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