Hike to Rifugio Venini from Menaggio.

Hike to Rifugio Venini from Menaggio.

Rifugio Venini

Distance

10.1 Miles

Elevation Gain

4462 Feet

Activities

Chillin, Photography, Mountain Biking, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Advanced

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Type

Point-to-Point

Added by

Sophie Justinak

Adult Beverages
Bathrooms
Forest
Lake
Scenic

This challenging trek offers spectacular views of Italy's Lake District. Summit Monte Tremezzo at 5,577 ft (~1700 m) and experience Italy's rural culture.

First and foremost be prepared to feel lost because the trails/roads are not well marked. Open your heart to the uncertainty and remember you are in the awe-inspiring lake district of Italy, so it doesn't really matter where you end up! If worst comes to worst, just follow one of the cobble-stoned/dirt roads back to Lake Como. The locals are friendly, and will laugh at your bad Italian, but don't count on them knowing any English.

Compressed Route: Start in Menaggio, Italy at ferry dock; (1) 2.0 km south on Via IV Novembre/Regina; (2) 0.6 km west on Via Indipendienza; (3) 0.75 km on Chiesa di San Martino trail; (4) 2.3 km on Sasso San Martino trail; (5, 6) 2.0 km Unnamed trail and road; (7, 8, 9, 10) 8.5 km on Monte Tremezzo road/trail; End at Refugio Venini near Monte Tremezzo Summit. 

Directions and Check Points: 

  1. From the Menaggio Ferry landing walk east to Via IV Novembre. Follow this South 2.0 km (turns into Via Regina about 2/3 of the way) to Via Indipendenza in the town Griante.Checkpoint: A small beach shack, Al Puunt, is a great spot for a bathroom break and water refill before you start the trail. 
  2. Walk up Via Indipendenza, 350m, and stay right at the fork. Follow for 250m more to the Chiesa di San Martino  trailhead (the trail will be on your right and dip into a tiny valley). There is also a spot to fill up your water in the dip of the trail.Checkpoint: Small, stone, Christian shrines adorn the trail.

  3. Follow Chiesa di San Martino for 750m, and 200m of elevation gain, until you reach a big fork. Take a left at the fork following the flank of the ridge. The left fork is not marked well, but it is called Sasso San Martino in Google Maps.Checkpoint: The right fork will take you to San Martino church. If you have plenty of time this can be a beautiful detour.

  4. Follow Sasso San Martino trail for 2.3 km across switchbacks as you ascend 360m. Checkpoint: You should come upon a field, with 3 empty buildings and picnic tables at the top. 

  5. Follow the trail that is left of the buildings (going west) for 1.1 km. This portion meanders a shrubby ridge for a bit before climbing switchbacks to a crest. From the crest follow northwest through woods until you reach a farm residence and unnamed road.Checkpoint: The latter half of the trail roughly follows the telephone line from the crest to the farm and road.

  6. Follow the Unnamed road south, which is left of the farm, 850m to Monte Tremezzo pathway.Checkpoint: The road cuts through a second farm. We had to open a gate and walk past some very curious cows. 

  7. At the end of the Unnamed road stay right at the fork onto Monte Tremezzo road in the very small town of Monti Brente. Follow Monte Tremezzo for 2.0 km, along switchbacks for 260m of elevation gain to the entrance of a tunnel.Checkpoint: Follow the red/white plaques. Near the end the road passes straight through a cliff inside a large WWII tunnel. **There is a water hole near the tunnel entrance, but I wouldn't drink it without a filter!

  8. When facing the EXIT of the war tunnel take the foot trail (Monte Tremezzo) to your right. It will start switchbacking (240m gain) over the tunnel and take you into a wooded area. Most of this 2.1 km stretch is shaded, but will open up near the end.Checkpoints: You will come out of the forest into pastures, where summits and traverse trails become visible, and Lago di Como stretches far below. You will also see a path that climbs to the summit of Monte Crucione.

  9. Follow the left path, Monte Tremezzo for 2.4 km. It follows a long traverse that heads west. At 2.0 km in, the traverse will turn sharply south with the ridge. Take the very steep trail that leads west and up the mountain from this turn, most of the elevation gain will be this 0.4 km stretch. If the steep portion of the Monte Tremezzo looks too daunting there is a traverse that goes around the ridge and ascends on the western side. Checkpoint: A small cheese farm sits at the top of your climb. You might see cows, hikers, and mountain bikers on the summits/traverses above and below. 

  10. From the cheese farm take the main Monte Tremezzo road northwest 2.0 km to your final destination; Refugio Venini. The Monte di Tremezzo summit trail connects to this final leg. If you decide to summit Monte Tremezzo, you will be at approximately 1700 m elevation.Checkpoint: Around the Refugio there are many paths offering striking views of Lago di Como and Lago di Lugano. 

Refugio Venini will most likely be busy with locals, tourists who drove to it, hikers, and bikers. They offer local food and drink, much needed after your hard work. It is adorned with country flags, large picnic tables, and even has lounge chairs. The food is only served until a certain time (call ahead, and know Italian to ask), but if you spend the night you are treated to an Italian style dinner with the host family. **It was the best steak I've ever had, and the home-cooked spaghetti couldn't be beat throughout our Italy travels.

Getting down: Go back whence you came or follow the recommended routes into the town of Osuccio, Lenno, or Bene Lario . From Lenno you can catch a ferry to the larger city of Lake Como, or keep exploring the Lake District. You could also stash a mountain bike/car at Venini hut before the hike, so you have an easier way down post hike.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Stunning views, a test of endurance, and authentic Italian hospitality at Rifugio Venini

I hiked this with my twin (the writer) and brother. Be sure to have lots of water because it's no fun running out...like we did, especially with the tantalizing lakes far below. Despite our thirst nearing the end, the hike offers a variety of quaint shaded paths, steep switchbacks, flat trails across the peaks with epic views of the surrounding mountains, a historic military road/tunnel, and even local cows. End at Rifugio Venini, full of Italian visitors before sunset and local neighbors at night. The best, most authentic spaghetti and beef I have had thus far, including from other places in Italy. Fresh butter and milk comes right from the local cows. We lucked out that one of the neighbors knew English (her daughter attended Purdue) but I recommend knowing some Italian to make communication a little easier and to fully enjoy some banter with the beyond friendly Rifugio hosts and guests.

Distance

10.1 Miles

Elevation Gain

4462 Feet

Activities

Chillin, Photography, Mountain Biking, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Advanced

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Type

Point-to-Point

Added by

Sophie Justinak

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