Monte Resegone refers to the ridge of mountains located east of Lecco and Lago di Como. It’s name comes from the word for “saw” in the local Lombardian dialect (resegà). The highest of this saw-toothed range is Punta Cermenati, but there are fourteen other peaks, all with stunning views over Lombardia. There are several sections of pseudo-ferrata, that made this trail quite the physical challenge. You don’t need all the equipment, but you’re pretty dependent on chains for these portions. My knees, quads, achilles, and triceps were screaming at the next day, and I couldn’t have been happier about it! It was exactly the kind of adventure I had been looking for in the Milano/Como/Lombardia Area.
Prior to my last-minute trip to Italy that also included Brescia and Bergamo I tried to do some trail research. I found several trails, but none with pretty pictures. And with only one day to explore the mountain region I didn’t want to gamble on it and be stuck with a dud of a hike. The past few adventures I had in Poznan, Bled, and Dresden were all plagued with rain, and lots of it. Luckily, the weather on this trip to Italy more than made up for it, so I really wanted to hit the outdoors. The people at the Lecco tourist information desk were very helpful and set me up for an epic day conquering a mountain.
At the end of this post I’ve included a more detailed section on how to get to the trailhead. This trail is not one you want to do if there is any chance of rain. The pseudo-ferrata sections and the slick rock surfaces would completely suck out the fun of the trek, not to mention make it pretty darn dangerous. If you still want to make it to the peak, talk to someone in the information desk in Lecco, they might be able to help you find an alternative route.
Unlike many US trail designations, when this one says difficult it means it. I wouldn’t do it if you have bad knees, injuries, or any special conditions. At four miles, it’s not a long hike distance wise, but you’re climbing almost 2,000 vertical feet. Again, it was one heck of a trail but 100% worth it.
Pay attention to the red, white, and yellow flags painted on rocks, these trail markers will keep you safe and on the right path up to the top of the ridge.
It starts pretty simple, overlooking a lovely alpine meadow with trees and mountains in the background. You’ll head into a forest, passing some cabins along the way (which would be pretty cool to stay at). Once you come out of the forested area you’ll see why this hike kicked my butt, You can see yoru destination for most of the hike, but it’s up. Almost straight up. Don’t worry, you can do it.
Warm up your ankles as you walk along the flat-ish section of the trail, because once you get a bit farther along you’ll be confronted with slipping, sliding, scree-like rock fragments. Keep your camera around your neck if you dare, but if it’s a nice one I would put it away. With such a steep climb you’ll want any excuse to take a break and pull that sucker out for some snaps while you gasp for air. You’ll also want access to both hands for when (not if) you slip.
On the rocky part the trail gets a bit confusing as there are many small rock slide areas that look deceptively like they could also be trails. From one trail marker 99% of the time you can see at least one, if not two markers ahead.
Like anything truly Italian, Jesus always has your back.
Towards the top of the hike you’ll pass by a metal relief of Jesus that’s been permanently attached onto the rock wall. Take a deep breath, mutter a soft prayer, and get ready for the final push up the mountain. And I mean UP. After trudging through this almost vertical section of the trail you’ll see the crest of the ridge ahead of you, take comfort knowing it gets a bit easier after that!
Almost the End
Once you finally reach the ridge on Monte Resegone, catch your breath. If the hike didn’t take it out of you, the view sure will. Looking out over the valley on the other side of the mountains you can choose to either go right to the summit, Punta Cermenati, or take a detour to Cima Pozzi (left). I actually preferred Cima Pozzi (left). While it wasn’t as high as the summit, I had it all to myself and there was no evidence of human activity, it was just pure nature. The sheer drop-offs sure made it more exciting too!
At this point the trail markers get a bit convoluted, just follow any trial marker you see. There will be a combination of the familiar red, white, yellow, mixed with just red and white, and a couple of yellow and white. Several trails have merged at this point, so follow anything; you’ll see the summit ahead of you. There are several offshoot trails on this section that take you to other, smaller peaks.
Welcome to the highest point on Monte Resegone, Punta Cermenati! Climb up the cross on the summit and take a look around at the various plaques and small monuments. And of course: take some pics. If it’s clear you can see to the end of the world, if it’s foggy you’ll feel like you’re on top on it.
Go ahead and shout “Veni, vidi, vici“, I’m sure the ancient Romans would appreciate it.
Also on the peak is a refugio where you can spend the night if you are so inclined. These do need to be reserved and i have no idea the process in which to do that. I’m sure some internet sleuthing will turn up all the information you need.to turn this into an overnight adventure. I bet the night sky looks pretty amazing from up there!
To be honest, I was a bit nervous attempting the descent. I was running late to catch the last funiva down the mountain, it was getting foggy, and in November, at 1600 hours it’s already getting darker. But once I started, I was having so much fun relying on all my circus training I forgot to be nervous. Hanging off chains, catching my balance, pointing my toes as I jete’d across small ravines; I had a blast.
If you’re coming down from Monte Resegone in the evening like I was, another reason to go slowly is to catch sight of the alpine chamois (mountain goats).
If all of sudden you hear something that sounds like a dying vulture, slow down! That’s what they sound like.
I scared off two of them before I realized what it was and then creeped along the ridge for a bit until I was able to catch some pics of one of the less skittish ones. I don’t think they see many people up there, which is awesome, but a challenge to photograph. Sliding rock gives away your position and they are much more sure-footed than I am!
My advice is take your time and go slowly. The middle section of the hike was pretty tricky for me as it was getting foggy, and most of the markers are meant to be views from below, so I had to rely on my memory a bit. The rocks slip even more when you have the downward force of your weight on them so be ready to sit back on your butt and slide a little.
You came all this way, you may as well pop by the town before or after your hike. Most of the shops, restaurants, and cafes are located along Via Roma and Piazza XX Settembre. Sadly, right next to the water is a very busy road, so Lecco is not the town for quaint, lakeside dining. The main focus of my trip was the climb so I didn’t see much in the town besides the lake and a giant bowl of pasta with red wine. And gelato, always gelato.
If you’re making a day trip from Bergamo there is an easy, cheap,and frequent train that will get you there. From Milano or other areas you’ll have to do some research; the Trenord website is very easy to use. Don’t forget to validate your train and bus tickets!
Once in Lecco make your way to Piazza Mazzini. On your way stop in a tabaccherie/tabacchi (marked with a giant white and black “T” outside), and pick up your bus tickets there. Buy it for both ways as it is cheaper to buy in a store than on-board the bus (1.30 v. 2 at time of writing). You are gong to the “funiva” or cable car, tell them this so they give you tickets for the appropriate zone of travel. Once you’ve gotten them and are at Piazza Mazzini, hang out and wait for the number 5 bus. Settle in for about a 30/40 minute ride; it will be very obvious when you’ve reached the base of the cable car as you will have been winding your way up the mountain for a bit and then will pop out right in front of it.
From here, you technically could hike up to the top of the funiva, but I wanted to save the time and energy and spent the extra cash for a super speedy way up. If you are taking the funiva pay attention to the schedule so you don’t miss the last ride down.
From Piani D’Erna
Once you’ve reached the top of the funiva either head over to Pizzo d’Erna for a free view over the valley or head straight to the hike at the bottom of Monte Resegone. It’s a bit complicated finding the start of the trail as there are may options when you get off the funiva. I’ve included my tracks below to help you out.
You’re looking for trail number 10, noted by a red, white, and yellow flag sprayed on various rocks and trees. Head down the hill slightly and take the lower trail that turns left. You will be walking against a giant retainer wall and you should see your first “trail 10” spray paint marker at the end of said wall. From there it’s pretty straight forward. Once you’ve found the trail, buckle up and get ready for a great hike!