This stage will take you from the village of Novaggio, through Astano, to the Monte Lema summit, from where you will be able to enjoy the breath-taking view of the southern valleys of Ticino and Lake Lugano; the valleys of the Luino region and Lake Maggiore. Farther away you will see Grisons and Bernese Alps, the Valais summits, the Po River Plain and Milan.
From the church square in Novaggio (Via Fausto Buzzi) take the via Giuseppe Bertoli to your right and the alley called Al Funtanòn. After that turn right onto the alleyway Ara Ca d’La and left on the narrow Ra Streccia lane. Follow the signs directing you to the “Pissarotino”. At the end of the village the first official panel can be found with directions to the “Alpe di Paz”. The paved road ends and turns into a dirt track leading into the woods. At the end of the track, where it meets the paved road again, follow the signs to “Astano-Necco-Bombinasco”, walking down on your left for approximately 200 metres. Thus you will arrive at the “Alpe di Paz” pasture, a nice clearing bordered by chestnut and beech. Continue into the woods in the direction of Astano. The path will take you up and down through three valleys to Astano, in the Ronchi area. From here walk to the village centre, to the Restaurant Elvezia, where you will make a left turn for a short detour to the Astano pond. All you have to do is follow the signs to “Laghetto” (small pond) and you will find yourself in front a small natural lake From March until October it is possible to rest awhile on its shores. If you want to go in the direction of Monte Lema, walk back to the Restaurant Elvezia and take the alley on the right: follow the signs to “Forcola – Monte Lema”. Leave Astano behind you and follow the scenic path heading into the woods. Walk past the Bergin area to where the track branches. Take the road on the left leading to Forcola. Here starts the most demanding part of the trail stage: after a long and steep uphill walk you will get to the summit of Monte Lema with its majestic panorama. If you still have a little energy is left, you can climb to the top of Monte Lema where a large cross was erected on 10th August 1934
Trail description: Cinzia Summermatter
Environment, NATURA2000, Protected areas
Landscape 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).
Protected areas, proposed Emerald sites, Natura 2000 sites
- This area belongs to the WWF European Alpine Programme designated Priority Conservation Areas
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, Geography of the Malcantone, nature and landscape study of the region
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.
History and ethnography
Museum of the Malcantone
Tel. 0041 91 6063172
Next stage: Emerald Trail Ticino-Varese Province: Stage 13
or: Emerald Trail Ticino-Varese Province: Stage 13a
Stage before: Emerald Trail Ticino-Varese Province: Stage 11