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The Mera River in Chiavenna - picture by M.Belardi

The Mera River in Chiavenna - picture by M.Belardi

Chiavenna - foto: Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

Chiavenna - foto: Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

Soapstone - Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

Soapstone - Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

S. Maria church - Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

S. Maria church - Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

Signame tower - Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

Signame tower - Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

Door in Chete - Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

Door in Chete - Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

Chapel - Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

Chapel - Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

S. Andrea tower - Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

S. Andrea tower - Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

S.Pietro church - Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

S.Pietro church - Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

Tour description

Chiavenna lies at the foot of the Rhaetic Alps, where the Spluga and the Bregaglia valleys meet. Along the towns alleyways you will find many vestiges of the past. The Museo del Tesoro, housed in the San Lorenzo parsonage, is of outstanding interest. The Bottonera Mill, in Chiavenna’s old industrial neighbourhood, is an extremely rare example of industrial architecture where the life of XIX century millers can still be experienced. In the Comunità Montana della Valchiavenna the Valchiavenna Museum can be found. The trail described herein is currently not completely marked: carry a good map of the region or download GPS data for better safety. Trail marking should be completed shortly.
Head south from Chiavenna and, in Mese, you will find the ruins of the 1190 Castello dei Peverelli (also called Castle Piperellum) , with the nearby church Madonna delle Grazie rebuilt in the 13th century. Continue to Gordona and find the Torre di Segname, an 18th century recently restored watchtower. A short visit to the historical brewery is definitely worth the detour. The old breweries have been reopened after more than 50 years and now traditional varieties, such as chestnut or buckwheat beer are once more brewed. The local restaurant offers traditional food, among which the Gordona pizzoccheri. After the break, walk through the Chiavenna flats, a Natura 2000 site, to Samolaco. Its name derives from the Latin, Summo Lacu, “at the top of the lake”, a reference to the small settlement of fishermen that existed until 1520, when catastrophic floods carved out the Novate Mezzola Lake from the northernmost portion of Lake Como.

Here the Lepontine Alps flatten out into the lower valley of the Mera River. On the eastern side of the valley the Rhaetic Alps show their wildest and most rugged face. The mountain slope of Samolaco is extraordinarily rich in water courses and springs that, together with the quaternary glaciers, shaped the landscape of alternating dales, gorges and hills. In this area G. Giacomo Trivulzio started a new breed of andalusian horses that was then mixed with the Avelignese breed of South Tyrol to produce the new Samolaco-Avelignese breed, a source of local pride and particularly appreciated on mountain trails for its docility and resilience.
After the break continue towards Casenda, from where you will get to Novate Mezzola on public transportation (please look up the timetable in advance). Accommodation is available here. The name of the village derives from the Lake, an appendix of Lake Como north of the Adda River delta. The lake has been constantly shrinking over the centuries and is now less than 50 metres deep. In the future it will dry out completely and will turn into a simple river bed winding its way across the plain. The lake is protected by the Regione Lombardia as an important stopover site for migratory birds and belongs to the Nature Reserve of Lake Mezzola and Pian di Spagna. From here head to
S. Fedelino where you will find a small Romanesques church, the most ancient of the whole Valtellina, after that you will get to Dascio and the Reserve.

Information: valtellina.com, webalice.it/massimodeicas/samolaco

Environment, NATURA2000, Protected areas

The Pian di Spagna Nature reserve is on the Spluga migratory route for birds and is one of the of the Alps’ shortest crossing points. Here many migratory routes cross and, during winter, the area is a refuge for several wetland birds. Wetlands are of crucial importance for the serviva of many animal and plant species and particularly for birds, as a stopover site during migration. The area constitutes a unique example in Lombardy of the complex interaction of humans and animals in building a biodiversity-rich habitat.
Many wetland species of continental interest are present in the area. Also very significant is the presence of wetland birds, both nesting and wintering. Of outstanding interest is the nesting colony of mute swan. The otter has been observed in the area. (Information: minambiente.it)

For further information, please contact:
Consorzio Riserva Naturale Pian di Spagna - Lago di Mezzola
Sede: Via Della Torre 1/A - 22010 Sorico (CO)
Tel: 0039 344/84251
Fax: 0039 344/94556
E-mail: piandispagna@libero.it

Fauna, Natura2000 species

Insects: Cerambix cerdo
Amphibians: Bombina variegata
Birds: Bubo bubo, Aquila chrysaetos, Tetrao urogallus, Lanius collurio, Tetrastes bonasia, ...
Bats: Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, Myotis blythi, Myotis myotis

Other species of interest:
Mammals: roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), pine marten (Martes martes), Eurasian badger (Meles meles), least weasel (Mustela nivalis)

Extra information
Website: riservanatpiandispagna.it

Protected areas, proposed Emerald sites, Natura 2000 sites
The Lake Mezzola and Pian di Spagna area is an internationally protected wetland area under the Ramsar (Iran) Convention and, as an important stopover site for migratory birds, it is also a recognized IBA site (Important Bird Area).

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.


To visit

- Peverelli Castle ruins, in Mese
- Chiesa Madonna delle Grazie, in Mese
- Segname watchtower, in Gordona
- S. Giovanni all’Archetto church, in Samolaco

Further stages

Next stage: Emerald Trail Grisons-Lombardy: Stage 8
Stage before: Emerald Trail Grisons-Lombardy: Stage 6

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Places along the route: Chiavenna - S. Vittore - Coloredo - S. Pietro - Casenda. Please follow officially marked trails.


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Tour history (B01359)

First published: Dienstag, 25. März 2008

Last updated: Dienstag, 11. Februar 2014

Tour published by: GPS-Tracks.com powered by GEO-Tracks GmbH

Tour characteristics

Distance: 14 km | Time requirement: 4½ h
Ascent: 313 m | Descent: 426 m
Highest point: 410 m.a.s.l.

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