This linear itinerary goes along the ways that have been walked for centuries to reach Esino Lario in the hearth of the namesake valley starting from Varenna on the shores of Como Lake. The proposed route is about 6.5 km (4 miles) long and includes a minor variation.
Trekking shoes are recommended. It is suggested to bring some water. The route includes path and unpaved ways which can be an obstacle for disadvantaged people.
For illustrative purposes the route is described to start at the railway station Varenna-Esino-Perledo, located in Perledo just close to the border with Varenna, and to go uphill to Esino Lario but it can be done downhill as well starting from Esino Lario.
- 1 Railway station Varenna-Esino-Perledo - Start.
- 2 Vezio (castle).
- 3 Vezio (parking).
- 4 Pianche Chapel.
- 5 Stonebridge over Esino creek.
- 6 Washtub of Saint John - Esino Inferiore.
- 7 Pietro Pensa square - Esino Lario city hall.
Starting from railway station of Varenna-Esino-Perledo go south into the street "per Esino", which is aside of the namesake creek, toward the lake. At the end of the street, turn left into Giovanni Polvani street and after 50m turn left into Vezio street and finally turn again left into the wood. Keep following the path until the built-up area of Vezio.
In Vezio a short detour on the right allows a visit to the castle. Otherwise, to proceed towards Esino, just follow the way until reaching the parking area. Just before the parking area, on the right, there is the starting point of the variante alta del Sentiero del Viandante (Italian for high-up variation of the Path of the Wayfarer). Keep the path until the first fork. Turn right and, at the next fork turn left along the path running halfway up the slope until reaching the Pianche chapel (Gesuolo delle Pianche). This building marks the border between the territories of the municipalities of Perledo and Esino Lario. Local population used to meet up here in drought periods to pray for rain.
From the chapel follow the ancient mule track to reach the gravel of the creek next to the ruins of a dam which was operative until late 1920s to produce electric power for Esino. Going ahead, after the point where Vigna and Ontragno valleys join, Esino creek can be crossed over the 'old stonebridge, which is supposed to be built by ancient Romans. Nearby the bridge the ruins of a few mills can be seen.
After a short but steep rise the way enters Esino Inferiore (Italian for Lower Esino) in front of the washtub of Saint John (Lavatoio di San Giovanni) an old fascinating drinking trough. Following the road, you can reach the main square with the church of Saint John the Baptist (San Giovanni Battista). To reach the city hall of Esino skirt the church and take Dante street on the left. Walk on the street until crossing the main street.
To come back to railway station, it is suggested to use the bus service between Esino and Varenna.