Italy on the road
Guilt-free tastings: gastronomic cycling tour of the Lecco area of Brianza
Cycling itinerary in the Lecco area of Brianza, a tasteful area yet to be discovered, within everyone’s reach.
The culinary tradition in Lombardy has one characteristic that is common to practically all the provinces: the richness of the dishes and the intense caloric content of the ingredients they are made with. But there is good news, the Lecco Brianza area offers plenty of ideas for cycling routes, so you can plan gastronomic cycling tours with instant energy usage!
Without necessarily travelling hundreds of kilometres, the lower Lake Como area offers mountain views and breath-taking sights, without ever straying too far from the water.
We leave early (8 a.m.) from the city of Lecco, where there is no shortage of sweets for an energy-packed breakfast: look for a slice of Resegona cake in the bakeries, a delicious dough made from buckwheat and maize flour with blueberry jam and icing sugar, which despite being created recently has become the undisputed queen of local cakes.
We head south, following the Ciclabile laghi Garlate e Olginate (the Garlate and Olginate lakes cycle trail), which runs along the water: this flat road, mostly shaded, is the ideal starting point to discover this part of Brianza, with all its cultural, naturalistic, and gastronomic delights along the way.
Before arriving in Calolziocorte we reach the Valletta Sanctuary, and from here a path leads to the Rocca, the highest point of the town (180 metres above the lake) where we find the remains of a fortification known to all as Castello dell’Innominato. Tradition tells us that it was one of the residences of Francesco Bernardino Visconti who inspired Manzoni fo the character of the Innominato (the Unnamed) in his novel ‘I Promessi Sposi‘ (The Betrothed).
Just enough time for a rest and to take a few photos while immersing into the most famous novel in the history of Italian literature, and off again towards the Pozze di Erve, small natural springs where one can cool off especially on hot summer days. Several, more or less deep, are located along the road and all have the Gallavesa stream cool and clear water.
Stop at the first ones, or reach (abandoning the bicycles for a moment) as far as the plateau, up to Gnett (633 m), where there is a very green view of Mount Resegone.
At this point it is almost lunchtime: however, as always, the best things must be conquered.
Pedal a few more kilometres towards the Fattoria e Azienda agrituristica da Simone, which offers a fixed-price menu with an extensive selection of typical dishes, ranging from risottos to braised meats, pizzoccheri and grilled meats. All of course accompanied by their very own wine. And if the cuisine is not enough to convince you, the wonderful view over the valley will do the rest. But spare the desserts because the tasty stop-offs are not over yet.
On a full stomach, head back towards the lake and cross to the other side at Olginate: here a stop at the park of Villa Carmen (also known as Villa Schiatti) is an absolute must with its Roman arch – or rather a structure built in the Middle Ages on the remains of an ancient Roman bridge – and early 20th-century Art Nouveau style. The Villa is private and not always open to the public, but a look from the outside is already enough.
Continue on towards Garlate, still along the cycle path, and recover your strength with an ice-cream at Il Gelapo parlour: the flavours are varied and always in season and finding delicious ones from the old days like mulberry ice-cream is not unusual.
Time to head back towards Lecco, continuing north, always along the lakeshore that then takes you back across the lake over the historic Azzone Visconti bridge, the last piece of history on this intensely ‘tasty’ itinerary.
[The total is 36 km, just under 3 hours at a relaxed pace, but this is an itinerary that takes up a full day with the stops, and rest].