San Martino Mountain – easy hike or via Ferrata from Lecco
San Martino is a mountain with a fantastic view that is easily reachable by foot from Lecco. It is a mountain with a vertical rocky wall that is observable from all around the city of Lecco!
The most famous spot on it is the White Church with a beautiful panoramic square in front. There is as well a rifugio Piazza with delicious local food, which is though not always open. You can reach it following the via Ferrata (relatively simple and super panoramic!) or from the white church. From both of these sites, you can continue walking to arrive at the top of San Martino mountain.
1. White church and mountain summit from Rancio –
This path is the easiest to follow, though it can be challenging if you are not trained since it is long (especially to reach the top). The starting point is at Rancio Superiore. It is easily reachable by foot from Lecco. Still, you can also arrive there by car (park at via Antonio Bonaiti in front of the cemetery) or bus #1 (direct to Laorca, till Ponte di Malavedo). On the map, you will see another path to go from Lecco from the cross of streets Roncio Inferiore and via Montebello. DO NOT follow it since it is closed because of the risk of stone falls!
Total climbing: 704 m
The path goes through a forest on a quiet rocky trail, so good hiking boots are strongly recommended, especially if it is slippery. From the parking, search for indications for route n.52. You will need to go up steep stairs and continue walking along the trail. The very first part is quite plain, but then the trail is steep and rocky. Usually, there are many people following this path, so it is hard to get lost 🙂
At the square in front of San Martino Chapel (White Church), there are some seats to enjoy the fantastic panorama and a table for a picnic. From the White Church, you can decide to go up to the top or go to Rifugio Piazza.
From the White Church you can continue walking to the San Martino top – a peak with a large cross. The trail is relatively easy, though rocky and steep, and may be tiring if you are not well trained. On the map you can see the complete path from Rancio to the top through the White church.
Otherwise, from White Church, you can go to rifugio Piazza. See the path below.
2. Rifugio Piazza (via ferrata) –
The via Ferrata of San Martino (path #53) is a wonderful alternative to go up for those who are ready to climb a bit. The via Ferrata is relatively easy and well maintained. It is a good place to start if you want to challenge yourself with a “via ferrata” for the first time. The climbing harness is not obligatory but recommended, especially if you are new to doing ferratas. Good anti-slippery shoes are a must!
On the map below you can see the complete path through the via Ferrata to the summit through rifugio Piazza.
Total climbing: 877 m
The path starts near the cross to via Santo Stefano and via Monte Spluga in Lecco. It is easily reachable from the center of Lecco city or the lake. If you decide to go by car, the only possibility is to park along the street (it is risky and there is not much place) or leave the car closer to the city center.
The first part goes through the forest. It is easy, though quite steep. Do not miss the turn to the left with stairs at some point (see pictures)! There will be steep stairs to go up. Keep left since you will be turning around the mountain from the left side. After half an hour of walking, while you are exiting the forest and start enjoying the incredible panorama of Como lake, you will start seeing the first chains. Continue going up, there is only one street, so it is hard to get lost.
At the end of the path you will see the rifugio Piazza. It is not always open since it is managed by volunteers, and normally they do not have much choice of what to eat, though the quality is good. If you plan to eat there call in advance to be sure that the place is open.
From rifugio Piazza, you can go up to the San Martino top (about 1h), go to Piani Resinelli (about 2h), or to the White Church (30min).
It is recommended to do this street only going up. Descending from the same path is more complex and can be risky. Instead, you can make a beautiful path to the white church and Rancio (see explanations above). From there you can go down to the city on foot, or take bus #1 to the Lecco train station. Below is the complete suggested round trip:
Total climbing: 830 m
Some tips before you go:
Take some water, the path is exhausting. You can refill your bottle close to rifugio Piazza.
A large part of the Ferrata path is exposed to the sun. Take a hat. The path from Rancio instead goes through a forest.
The path is rocky. Proper hiking shoes are highly recommended for the street from Rancio and absolutely obligatory for the via Ferrata.