This is the first stage of a trail that will take you to Malcantone and through high nature value areas in Varese province (Parco Campo dei Fiori, Val Veddasca, Parco del Fiume del Ticino).
The trail picks off from stage 9 of the Mendrisiotto Emerald Trail. In Caprino take a boat to Caslano. On the Piazza Lago further information can be found at the Tourist Office of the Malcantone. From the Piazza start your excursion to the Monte di Caslano Park. Proceed along the via Stremadone and get to the starting point of the educational trail. Fifteen information panels disseminated along the way will give you the most relevant nature and geological facts. Proceed towards Cimalmonte and Cappella. Follow the sign posted trail to the summit, with a fine view of the surroundings. Then head back through the dry meadows. After completing the high trail, walk down to the village where you can choose to walk along the lakeside promenade around the Monte Caslano or visit the local Fishing Museum. It is an easy walk with a wonderful view of the lake towards neighbouring Italy. After completing the walk around the Monte Caslano, you are back in the Piazza Lago from where you can walk along the lake in the direction of Magliaso. Once you get to the beach (Lido) take Via Bosconi and continue to the Magliasina River. The mouth of the river in Caslano and the lake shores in Magliaso were recently revitalized, with the restoration of the river nature dynamics and the reed beds, respectively. Information panels will give you the main facts concerning river dynamics, fish species and the restoration work that was conducted in the area.
After that, head back and out towards the reed beds. The lake walk continues along a narrow passage between rows of houses back to via Lago and via Fiume, until it crosses Via Pastura, in the direction of the Magliaso Station. Make a left at the roundabout and proceed along Via Cantonale towards Caslano to the next roundabout, where the road branches. Take the branch climbing to Pura, where you can visit the local fish breeding farm. After arriving at the end of the road, continue to the right, by the water purification plant. The path then climbs into the wood. After a while you will meet a paved road, Follow the signs to Contrada Bornago. By the post office, the road starts climbing into the village centre and then branches. Take the road to the left through the houses. You will find yourself in the woods again on a track leading to a wider road heading to your right, Follow the signs to Ponte Tresa. The trail continues on a paved road with a scenic view of the lake and the town below. At the end of the road, walk on to the train station. You can find accommodation in Ponte Tresa or choose to continue along the lake, cross the border into Italy and spend the night in Lavena Ponte Tresa
Trail description: Edita Uckar, Manuela Varini.
AMBIENTE, NATURA2000, AREE PROTETTE
Environment and nature
67% of Malcantone is covered by forests. Diverse climatic and landscape differences created a very high natural diversity. The mountain areas are basically beech woods and pasture, with extensive birch patches bordering clearings and common whitebeam. In seldom used pastures bracken fern and scotch broom prevail. Dry acidic grassland also occurs frequently and is dominated by matgrass. Two predominant plant associations exist, from 800 to 1400 amsl and from 1400 to 1700 m respectively: on poor acidic soils the snowy woodrush prevails. On less acidic soils, in shady locations the sycamore maple prevails among trees. (source: Roland Hochstrasser, Geografia del Malcantone).
The Natural Park of Monte Caslano is a protected area sheltering 600 plant species and 150 species of moss and liverworts. For this reason it was included in the Federal List of Landascape, Sites, and Natural landmarks of national importance (1805 IPF). From 1975 the Park is included in the canton’s lists of high nature value areas. It also enjoys municipality level protection. The park is divided into two areas: one is a nature reserve, with a very high protection status; the other area enjoys lesser protection. (Source: caslano.ch/monte.asp).
Environment, NATURA2000, Protected areas
- Monte Caslano Nature Park
- Mouth of the Magliasina River, recently restored protected area
- This area is part of the Priority Conservation Area of the WWF European Alpine Programme
Fauna, Emerald species
Fish: Landlocked shad (Alosa fallax lacustris), Danube roach (Rutilus pigus), savetta (Chondrostoma soetta)
Amphibians: Lataste frog (Rana latastei), Italia crested newt (Triturus carnifex)
Birds: Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), Grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea), Common redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Rock partridge (Alectoris graeca), Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), Black grouse (Tetrao tetrix), Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), Firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus), Common krestel (Falco tinnunculus), Eagle owl (Bubo bubo), Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), Dipper (Cinclus cinclus), Black kite (Milvus migrans), Green woodpecker (Picus viridis), Black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), Common whitethroat (Sylvia communis), Great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus), Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)
Bats: Greater horseshoe bat (Rhynolophus ferrumequinum), Greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis)
Other species of interest
Mammals: fox, badger, chamois, red deer, wild boar
Other information on the region’s wildlife
- Roland Hochstrasser, Geografia del Malcantone: study of the nature and landscape of the region
- Detailed information on the Monte Caslano habitats: caslano.ch/monte.asp
WWF’s tips for hikers
Plan each stage carefully, purchase a 1:25000 map, use light but sturdy equipment (hiking boots, rain cape, binoculars…). Be sure to carry a small supply of water and food. We suggest you taste local food (possibly organic) at resting places and restaurants.
Do not litter, do not pick up flowers or rocks and in no way disturb the local fauna. It is unsafe for inexperienced hikers to leave the marked trails and it may cause disturbance to wildlife.
Museo della pesca (Fishing Museum)
Casella postale 254
Tel. 091 606 63 63
Next stage: Emerald Trail Ticino-Varese Province: Stage 11
Stage before: Emerald Trail Ticino-Varese Province: Stage 9