Excursion on the western side of Grignone from Rongio, upper hamlet of Mandello del Lario. A steep trail in the lush greenery Val Meria to the foot of Sasso Cavalllo and Sasso dei Carbonari. On the way the grotto described by Leonardo da Vinci in the Codex Atlanticus.
Departure: Rongio, fraz. Mandello Arrival: Rifugio Elisa
Beautiful hiking trail on the Northern Grigna, called Grignone by the locals, walking in the lush greenery Val Meria, starting from Rongio, upper hamlet of Mandello del Lario.
Due to the great difference in altitude this isn’t an easy excursion, it requires a very good training. Not suggested to who is not used to hike on mountains or who has not the proper training.
Despite the first part of mule track is quite flat, then the climbing to Sasso del Cavallo and Sasso dei Carbonari starts on the western side of Grignone and the difference in altitude is clear.
The most of the trail has sun exposure, so it’s not suggested to take it in the hot summer hours.
This trail worths for the naturalistic and geological point of interest, indeed along the walk we see the Grotta Ferrera or grotta “of the white water” as Leonardo Da Vinci describes it in the Codex Atlanticus: “the biggest is the one in Mandello that has in its base a hole to the lake, that goes down 200 steps and there everytime it’s icy and windy…”
Well…ready? We start from Rongio where we can park near the sport centre, then we go over the Rongio’s little church and we take path n.14.
We walk along the mule track with a slight slope for about 10 minutes, going over some farmsteads and a little bridge, then we enter in Val Meria. The trail runs along the left side of Meria creek. After crossing another bridge, the iron bridge, the real steep path begins, bringing us to Rifugio Elisa.
After 40 minutes of walking we arrive to Grotta Ferrera (540metres), where we can drink at the source. If you’re curious you can get a look, but keep attention if you’re not well-equiped and prepared.
Let’s continue waking for about an hour and an half along the path, that looks like a series of staircases.
When we are at half the way, the refuge starts to come into view. After 2 hours of walking, just one hour divides us from our destination. The trail flats for other 600 metres and then the climbing starts again.
Another half an hour and we get near Baita Ares: from here to Rifugio Elisa it takes about 20/30 minutes.
At the refuge you can eat and sleep in the weekends from May to October or everyday in August.
The trail is really well-signed, the crossroads are rare and always signed.
On the walking there are indications for Bietti and Ferrata.
From Rifugio Elisa you can take other interesting hiking trails:
- to rifugio Bietti (1719 m) path 16 – 2 h
- to rifugio Brioschi (2409 m) path 16A/7 (via dei cinghioli) – 2.30 h, or path 14/7 (via buco di Grigna) / 3.15h
- to Ferrario bivouc (2177 m) path 14/7 – 2.15 h
- to rifugio Rosalba (1730 m) path 14/7/11/10 (val Scarettone) – 3.00 h
- to Sasso Cavallo (1920 m) path 16/16B – 1.30 h
Opening: everyday in August, weekends from 1st May to 31st October.
During summer it’s fine to contact us by telephone.
Contact person: Mauro Balatti
Tel. : 0341 735649
Mobile: 366 9791655
Lunch seats: 20
Outdoor table seats: 20
Cover’s image © Rifugio Elisa