July 3 – 4, 2015
From Varenna we hiked the ancient costal trail north to Dervio. You can pick up a brochure in the Varenna tourist office that describes the trail and sights along the way. Actually we did this hike on two consecutive mornings, hiking to the midpoint, Bellano, twice. The first morning we spent more time at the sights along the way – although we passed by the Castle di Vezio, located just above Varenna, before it opened.
Since we still made good time to Bellano – about 2 hours the first time, we decided to walk all the way to Dervio the second morning. The sky was much clearer after an overnight thunder shower cleared the air. Still, the rising temperatures caused the Lake Como Haze to buildup rather quickly as the morning wore on.
The walk from Varenna to Bellano is mostly shaded – a godsend on a hot summer day – on a good path that meanders above the lake through sections of forest, small towns and open fields. Views over the lake are relatively frequent and the trail is dotted with churches and shrines. However, it’s more than just a casual walk with a fair amount of up and down. That said, for those used to hiking it is not difficult.
In Bellano we took a spin through the l’Orrida where a torrent of water forces its way through a deep narrow gorge. Worth the 3 Euro admission price for the walk along the catwalks through the gorge above the water. There is a pretty park area at the top.
The tourist office in Bellano advised us to walk through town for the first part of the walk to Dervio to avoid the track up and over a hill. I’m not so sure that this was the best advice as walking along the road that leads straight out of town from the cemetery (instead of trudging up the hill) was not so pleasant as there was too much traffic even on a Sunday morning.
About half way to Dervio we caught up with the main trail again. As between Varenna and Bellano the trail consisted of forest sections interspersed with towns and open fields. Nice views overlooking the lake. It took us about another hour and a half to reach Dervio from Bellano via the road for the first part of the journey.
Once in Dervio we walked across town to the train station. I still don’t know where you are supposed to buy train tickets as the station was totally shut down on a Sunday morning. We hopped on the train anyway for the 11 minute ride back to Varenna.