Heading off from Madesimo there are a number of options for short, gentle walks, ideal for those with limited time available or who want to take a pushchair or four-legged friend along.
Walk Along the River
Altitude Change: 100 meters
With the calming sounds of the Scaloggia stream in the background, this walk is reserved exclusively for pedestrians with an easy and mostly flat trail.
This particular walk leaves the centre of Madesimo along the valley bottom following the course of the Scalcoggia stream. The path is reserved exclusively for walkers and is a gentle walk for the most part, with the occasional slight inclines. The first stretch leads to Dogana Vegia and has a paved surface (providing a gentle stroll) and is also illuminated at night. The route than continues along a pathway through meadowland until the end of the valley (follow the signs indicating “Passeggiata per fondovalle – Tec dal Luzi”.
At the end of the walk, the C6 trail then heads off from Alpe Macolini towards the Lago Emet (2,144 meters above sea level), beside which you’ll find the Rifugio Bertacchi.
Walk Along the Andossi Bike Trail
Altitude Change: 150 meters
This walk begins with the same opening stretch as the “Walk Along the River” (see above) until the point of the so-called “Ponte Romano” which you must cross.
After crossing this bridge, there are two paths heading off, both climbing towards the Andossi (an large limestone plateau situated on the right hand slope of Valle Scalcoggia), but in different directions: one heads up towards the right and leads to the Valcava Alpine Garden. The other moves up towards the left and runs along the “Andossi Bicycle Trail”.
On the Andossi plateau itself you’ll find pastures, clutches of mountain dwellings (baite), the charming San Rocco Church, and a range of places to relax and eat. Lodges include Ristoro La Baitella, Ristoro Magnum, and Rifugio Mai Tardi.
The route along the bicycle trail reaches its greatest height at Mottaccio, near the Ristoro La Baitella (1,706 meters above sea level), where the descent takes you back down to Madesimo arriving at Scalcoggia near the tunnel.
Walk Along the Golf Course
Altitude Change: 50 meters
This engaging walk begins in the Arlecchino area and climbs along the slope up to the golf course from which you are rewarded with a splendid panorama over Madesimo and the Valle Scalcoggia. Continue down the road towards the valley bottom to return. The trail consists of a gravel path for the most part with steps in some stretches.
The Loop: Madesimo - Motta - Lago Azzurro - Alpe Gropera - Alpe Pianello - Madesimo
Altitude Change: 310 meters
A slightly more challenging walk that will take you to one of the most beloved and photographed places in the entire valley: the Lago Azzurro. The Nobel Prize winning poet Giosuè Carducci was among the admirers of this beautiful alpine lake.
Start by heading off on the road for Motta (Via Per Motta) in Madesimo. Take care the as the road is used by vehicles heading Motta itself (1,720 meters above sea level) which is part of the municipality of Campodolcino. You can get there by walking up along the asphalt road or better still by following the so-called “Chapel Trail” which moves through beautiful woodland. Madesimo to Motta is around 2.5 kilometers with an altitude change of about 170 meters.
Once in Motta, follow the signs for Lago Azzurro, a beautiful little alpine lake situated at 1,860 meters above sea level. From Motta to Lago Azzurro is about 1.8 kilometers with an altitude change of about 140 meters.
From the Lago Azzurro you can continue along the shore as far as Alpe Groppera (1,908 meters above sea level) and then begin the descent towards Alpe Pianello (1,743 meters above sea level) until you arrive at back in Madesimo on Via Emet.
Note: the entire loop can be completed along the road (at some points asphalt and at others dirt track). Hence the walk is also suitable for pushchairs.
The Old Road to Pianazzo
Altitude Change: 150 meters
The walk heads off from Madesimo to Pianazzo (1,400 meters above sea level) along the old road was once used by vehicles. After the opening of the tunnel (1974) it became a thoroughfare reserved exclusively for pedestrians. It’s a gentle walk, suitable even for walkers with pushchairs and illuminated at night. Along the way you’ll enjoy the sight of two waterfalls:
The first, the Cascata del Catino has a drop of around 100 meters and is fed by the waters of the Scalcoggia stream. The name derives from the shape adopted by the rock following the erosion process.
The second is the Cascata di Pianazzo with a drop of 180 meters. It’s the highest waterfall in Valchiavenna and is also fed by the Scalcoggia stream. The end of the walk is the is the lookout point of the waterfall though walkers can continue and explore the town of Pianazzo as well.