Friday, May 11, 2012

Stresa Walks: The Chestnut Route

In our spare time, Luca and I love to go walking (well maybe it's more like rambling). Some of our preferred walks are further afield at Alpe Devero and Macugnaga, but there are some great walks around Stresa that don't require you to have your own transport.

We often only have a Sunday afternoon to spare, so on these occasions the Chestnut route between Stresa and Belgirate is a firm favourite. We pack a couple of sandwiches and a bottle of water and off we go!

Luca the explorer!
You can do the walk in either direction, or both if you have the time, but we tend to go from Stresa to Belgirate and catch the train back.

Basic Walk Information
  • Height difference: 171m
  • Time approx: 2½ hours
  • Difficulty: T (Tourist)
  • Walk number: L2 on Tourist Office map
Walk Description

You depart Stresa along Via de Vit (access from Piazza Cadorna) and Via Manzoni, which basically takes you along the rear perimeter wall of the Villa Pallavicino (listen out for the animal noises!). After you have gone 280m along Via Manzoni you will come to a junction by a little pink chapel. Turn left and you will see a cobbled path and a wooden sign saying "Sentiero dei Castagni". Take the cobbled path.

You will shortly arrive in the hamlet of Passera where you will find a tiny church and a handy park bench to have a picnic lunch!

The tiny church in Passera dates back to
1675 and is dedicated to the Presentation of the 
Blessed Virgin Mary.

Carry on past the tiny church and you will find the path that takes you into the woods which are full of chestnut trees (marked L2 and with red/white striped markers painted on rocks and trees). You will exit the woods in the hamlet of Brisino. Follow the road towards the S. Albino cemetery. Continue along the path which goes along the right hand wall of the cemetery which takes you to Falchetti.

On the Chestnut Route
In Falchetti you cross the road and enter the woods once again where the path leads you to meet up with a cobbled road. There are signs pointing you in the direction of Belgirate.

The path is very well marked and you will find yourself coming into Belgirate by the beautiful Old Church "Chiesa Vecchia"

The "Chiesa Vecchia" in Belgirate is Romanesque and 
it still has it's original 11th century bell tower. The portico
dates back to the 16th century and the terrace area
in front of the church has wonderful views across Lake

Follow the lanes down to the centre of Belgirate where you will see the train station, ferry station and several bars for well-earned refreshments!

View walking down into Belgirate
I've given the walk time of  2½ hours which allows for a leisurely pace and plenty of photo stops!

Practical Information

At the time of writing (updated July 2014, valid until 13th June 2015) there are trains back from Belgirate to Stresa everyday as follows:

13.09 Belgirate - Stresa 13.15
15.09 Belgirate - Stresa 15.15
17.09 Belgirate - Stresa 17.15
19.09 Belgirate - Stresa 19.15

The fare is currently €1.90 per person. If you can't get a ticket at Belgirate station make sure you find the "capotreno" or train conductor / ticket man when you board the train and inform him you need a ticket. 

You can pick up a walking map from the Tourist Office in Stresa (next to the ferry station). It has the Chestnut Route and many other walks around Stresa and Mottarone marked on.

The Stresa Tourist Office Walking Map
Have you been on any of the walks around Stresa? Let us know which one you preferred.

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