Today, in the company of my trusty dog Chicca, I decide to explore the mule track from Pognana to Palanzo and the little church of Madonna del Soldo, located on a beautiful viewpoint in the middle of the lake.

These places are embedded in the so-called Strada Regia, a long route dating back to Roman times that connects Brunate to Bellagio.

  • Height difference: about 250 meters
  • Trail type: easy mule track, suitable for everyone
  • Duration: about 1 hour , plus various stops to visit the village of Palanzo and the famous Torchio.

From Cernobbio, by car, one must drive along the SS583 in the direction of Torno, arriving as far as Pognana. It is possible to park after the Meridiana Restaurant on Aldo Moro Street, or on the rise from the town hall to the cemetery.

Alternatively, starting from La Corte di Zizi, one can either take the bus toward Como (C10) and change at the terminus in Piazza Sant’Agostino (C30), taking the direction of Pognana, or take the boat which, directly from the pier in Cernobbio, will take you directly to Pognana in less than an hour. If you decide to use the boat on the outward journey and the bus on the return, tickets can be found in Pognana at Peppo’s Bar, below City Hall, on SS583.

Passing behind the cemetery I go right, following the signs indicating the Via Regia, thus reaching the nucleus of Canzaga, an upper hamlet of Pognana, a beautiful hamlet. Still straight ahead, I see a large barrel on the left and arrive at a square (on which the Sagra degli Gnocchi is held in August), immediately I see the Church of San Rocco,where I stop for some panoramic photos of the lake and the village of Pognana.

I descend the steps and find myself on the Strada Regia, (as I pass under an archway on the way back), keeping to the left, after encountering a small bridge, I begin a not-too-demanding climb. The mule track is quiet, after a few bends I encounter some steps and in a short time I arrive at the Chapel of Our Lady of Loreto. They are now in Palanzo.

I follow a stretch of paved road and, keeping to the left, enter this well-preserved medieval village, arriving at the square of the Church of St. Ambrose. To the left of the square is indicated the Via del Soldo, a path that between meadows and vegetable gardens becomes a Via Crucis, all the way to the Church.

The church is set on a scenic terrace, with benches and a large lawn. I reached my destination and, satisfied, I stop here for my break admiring the view.

If I wanted, I could continue on the paved road for about 20 minutes, going up toward Lemna for a good lunch at St. George’s Restaurant.

On the way back, having reached the Sant’Ambrogio Church, a visit to the giant monumental 16th-century Torchio , also known for the festival held around it in October, cannot be missed. It is located in one of the narrow streets below the Church, and is always open for visits.