Hiking to the top of Monte San Primo above Lezzeno

Monte San Primo of the ski area with ​​the same name is the highest mountain in the Lariana triangle, high above Lezzeno and Bellagio. A compact walk with some intensity, but above all a fantastic view of Lake Como.

Hike to the top of Monte San Primo… The wind is gently blowing away this morning’s rain showers. The low-hanging clouds creep carefully over the ridges. And yes, the sun breaks through. We just walked through the narrow and cozy streets of Bellagio with a city game from Secret City Trails. Although we often avoid Bellagio because of the crowds, today we have to admit that we enjoy the atmosphere in the popular pearl of Lake Como.

From under the arcade arches we watch the passers-by while sipping a prossecco on the terrace of Bar Pasticceria Rossi. Il conto per favore… Time to start our next activity, which today is the climb of Monte San Primo.

At 1682 meters altitude, Monte San Primo is the highest mountain peak in the Lariana triangle. The mountain is located between Bellagio and Lezzeno, not so far from the Colma di Sormano with its famous Muro di Sormano. Well-known and infamous, among cycling enthusiasts of course.

About fifty years ago, Monte San Primo was a thriving and popular ski resort in the region. There has been no skiing in the area for a decade. The limited altitude and global warming have given the shot in the neck. Some rusty pylons of ski lifts are still silent witnesses of what the Monte San Primo ski area once was

Yet some people have a dream of reopening the ski area. Attracting wealthy tourists in the winter season would of course make the cash register ring even more. And it doesn’t stop at just a dream. There are concrete plans on the table to redesign the ski area with an investment of around 5 million euros, and if possible, to turn it into an Italian Courchevel.

There is strong opposition to these plans from other organizations and nature lovers. The amount of natural snow that falls on average today is ridiculously small. And no one wants such an artificial ski area that would completely disrupt the natural balance in the region. It reminds us a bit of the story of that crazy Italian entrepreneur who, not much further away, also returned from a bare-bones trip in the 1960s with his artificial city of Consonno.

Monte San Primo
Het startpunt ligt aan Ristorante La Baita
Monte San Primo
Monte San Primo, here we come!

By car you go from Bellagio via small lanes with a few hairpin bends to Ristorante La Baita. About twenty minutes later we arrive at a spacious parking lot just at the foot of what were once ski slopes. You cannot start higher than this point. We put on walking shoes, stuff a sweater in the backpack and start our hike.

We dive into the forest via a winding concrete track. The forest path soon takes us to a rough and relatively steep mountain flank. The ski slopes we assume. The higher we go, the more beautiful the view becomes. In the upper right, the top of Monte San Primo is hidden in a cloud.

Monte San Primo
Een bospad leidt ons naar boven
Monte San Primo
De top van de Monte San Primo verstopt zich in de wolken
Monte San Primo
Wandelen over de skipistes van Monte San Primo

The hiking trail then flattens out a bit and we reach a small plateau of Monte San Primo. At the same time, two puffing gravel bikers cycle onto the plateau from the other side. Funny, more than a year ago we were standing here leaning on our bicycle handlebars, puffing away during our epic bike ride of the Sartoria Cyclistica. We have a chat and continue on our way.

Monte San Primo
Een eerste plateau met uitzicht op het Comomeer

Once again the walking path becomes a bit wider and runs slowly up the flanks of Monte San Primo.

The air becomes a bit thinner and the temperature drops. Every now and then we walk through a cloud. Yet we have a beautiful view of the valley below us. Many trees with different shades of green. Our noses are open and we breathe in the healthy mountain air while chatting.

Monte San Primo
Het mooie wandelpad brengt je gestaag naar de top van Monte San Primo

The walk seems very accessible to us, except perhaps for the starting climb. Yet the walk is described as rather technical. Would the devil be in the tail? The last two hundred meters become a bit steeper again, but before we even touch the ground we are already at the top of Monte San Primo.

We are lucky, the clouds open and we are amazed by the beautiful view of Lake Como. Here you are looking straight at the point where the left and right arms of Lake Como diverge. The perfect branch of the ypsilon-shaped Lake Como! With clear weather you can see the Po Valley and the Milanese areas. The contrast is great: the hustle and bustle of Bellagio below us and not a living soul to be seen here.

Monte San Primo
De top van de Monte San Primo is 1682 meter hoog

But there is not much time to enjoy the beautiful view. The flags on the cross at the top start to flutter a little louder and every now and then a big rain drop falls. We cool down a bit and decide to descend back quickly.

But that quickly goes to the trash bin. We have to descend along a challenging and narrow path strewn with large stones and roots. Due to the damp and wet weather of recent months, the path is treacherous. We carefully go down so as not to slip. We literally hold on to the branches of the trees.

In some passages it becomes a muddy slide. It suddenly gives the walk to Monte San Primo a different label. Indeed, just stick to it technically.

While descending we ask ourselves whether we prefer to ascend or descend via this path. We still haven’t quite figured it out. What we do know is that this flank is less beautiful because you are constantly walking in the forest and between the branches and therefore have few or no views.

When we walk out of the forest we arrive at Ristorante Rifugio Martina where an Italian family is just throwing a birthday party. By the way, it looks quite nice for a snack or a drink. Via the winding concrete lanes you eventually return to the parking lot of Ristorante La Baita.

Monte San Primo
Het wandelpad om te dalen ligt er verraderlijk bij

We walked for more than two hours and conquered about 600 meters of elevation. It might be faster if you can take the descent a little more smoothly, but that doesn’t really matter that much. It remains a compact and fun walk that rewards you with fantastic views. The route runs in a loop and you can have a drink or even a bite to eat at both the start and end points. That just sounds like a win-win, doesn’t it?

Monte San Primo
Ristorante Rifugio Martina

Are there alternatives to this eight kilometer long route? Definitely. You can attack Monte San Primo from many directions and you can combine numerous combinations with other walks or loops. A visit to Bellagio, climbing Monte San Primo and ending in Osteria il Governo 1801, a no brainer as far as we are concerned…

Picture of Liselotte en Paul

Liselotte en Paul

Enthousiaste schouders onder onze blog Amiamo Lago di Como. Onze passie voor het Comomeer uitschrijven, dat is wat we graag doen!
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