Here is a suggestion for a relatively physical outing by foot, funicular and boat taking in a rich variety of settings. To compensate for the stiff downhill walk I include two recommended eating places en route.
The stages of this outing are as follows:
- Funicular from Como to Brunate with spectacular views guaranteed
- Walk up to the Faro Voltiano at San Maurizio with even more spectacular views
- Follow Path 1 up to Baita CAO
- Continue on to the Baita Boletto to eat and/or drink
- Descend to Monte Piatto
- Continue down to Torno
- Eat on the terrace of the Hotel Vapore – looking over the lake assuming you did not eat earlier at the Baita Boletto
- Return to Como via boat
A visit to Como must include one trip on the funicular to Brunate so why not take a one-way trip and carry on towards the Faro Voltiano – just one of the many Como monuments to her famous scientist son, Alessandro Volta. From there you follow the ridge of the mountains up to a total height of 1100 metres above sea level to (or just before) the Baita Boletto.
A baita is a mountain chalet or cabin but one that typically offers simple mountain food and drink. On this route you will have already passed the Baita CAO and Baita Carla – alongside a trattoria or two. I only have experience of eating at the Baita Carla which I cannot recommend or the Baita Boletto which I can – particularly the pasta ai funghi porcini from the Valtellina when in season towards the end of summer. And the difference between the two baiti? Boletto feels genuine, a true mountain hostelry with the advantage of even more stunning views – but this time looking south over the remains of the glacial moraine to Lake Montorfano and onwards over Brianza towards Milan.
The real effort on this trip is in the descent from 1100m to 250metres by the time you get to the lakeside terrace of the Hotel Vapore in Torno. Ensure you are wearing stout walking shoes that can absorb the strain of such a long descent over stone, cobble or steep step.
On the way down you will pass the small community at the top of Monte Piatto before continuing your way down through the mixed pine and deciduous woods offering the occasional glimpse through the trees to an azure lake or the gleaming villas in Moltrasio on the opposite side of the lake.
You will certainly have earned a rest on the lakeside terrace of the Hotel Vapore if you have not already eaten at Baita Boletto. I can particularly recommend any of the local dishes at their restaurant including the perch fillet risotto or the pasta with missoltin and roe. The restaurant offers as beautiful and tranquil a location as you will find on the lake and, if you are based in Como, it is just a short boat ride away.
And that is how you will return to Como – taking one of the regular small boats (those with the names of birds – Civetta, Cormorano, Fenicottero etc) that will get you home in less than half an hour.
If you do intend to eat along your way, the Baita Broletto is open on Fridays, Saturday and Sunday throughout the year but may be open more regularly during the summer. Give them a call on 031 220307 to check. To guarantee a lakeside table on the Hotel Vapore’s terrace, call them to reserve on 031 419311 and visit their website.
Here are some rough timings to help you organise your outing so that you take up your lakeside table at the right moment:
- COMO to BRUNATE – 45mins
- BRUNATE to FARO VOLTIANO – 40mins
- FARO to BAITA CAO – 20mins
- CAO to BAITA BOLETTO – 30mins
- BOLETTO to MONTE PIATTO – 75mins
- MONTE PIATTO to TORNO – 45mins
Distance: 11.7 km
Time: 4.49 hours
Climb: 810 metres
Descent: 860 km
Difficulty: Intermediate – Good fitness and sure footedness required