TheTuscany of the Lake

The Tuscany of the Lake
The itinerary we propose will take us through charming landscape that we can well call “the Tuscany of the Lake”, because from many points of view, it’s similar to that idyllic surrounding, just outside our door. The start of the tour is from a spot named S.Carlo (67 above sea level), an ancient monastery from which arose the Caserma Magnolini, a huge, old structure used some time ago as a military barracks, just opposite Feltrinelli Naval Shipyard, halfway between Villa and Bogliaco and therefore easily reachable from both places. On the left, the building is bordered by a stream (Rio Varini) which, passes under the main street, and goes directly to the lake. Following the lane uphill on the left, we walk between stone walls climbing the hill. The climb, which started fairly steep, now is gentle and we pass two small valleys, whose light is obscured by laurel trees. In the uncultivated fields we can occasionally see cattle grazing among gnarled olive trees. After 500 meters we end on a tar road that we follow for a few meters uphill, before turning right,along a road bordered by cypresses, to the cemetery. Once there, we pass it on the left and cross the tar road again , guarded by a XVIII century shrine of the Holy Mother,continuing along a stone path that leads us into Fornico (207 a.s.l.). Entering the little village we find old fountains; at a crossroad slightly further on , there is another Holy Mother shrine, painted in a niche on a house. Going straight ahead, we pass some interesting rural houses. At the next intersection with a crossroad, we keep left heading west to the little church of Supina (warning: in the village, you will find signs to Supina: don’t follow them because they’re for cars which don’t follow our path). We just follow the way entering the fields while leaving the village center; at the first it will be flat, and then uphill, nestled between the red rock and stone walls. At the point where the landscape opens out on the slope of the hill, we can see the Holy Mother of Supina (250 a.s.l.) a little church, the first stop on our tour.The church is built with a single aisle, and a roof with an unusual shape. Alongside , is the small house of the hermit-guardian who, in the past, took care of the church. Now, even without a guardian, the VIth century church is kept open by praiseworthy volunteers. The interior, with a decorated caisson ceiling, numerous frescoes and oil paintings, is a little treasure that is worth the visit. The churchyard overlooking the lake, gives us a beautiful view framed by two further steeples: S. Giorgio silhouetted against the lake, and S.Pier d’Agrino that we will visit on our way back. We now continue along the lane, heading west to the intersection with a larger road. If we are tired, we can simply go back by turning left: the beautiful road will lead us back to Fornico and from here, the way that passes in front of the “fountains”, will take us to S.Pier d’Agrino and the last part of the hike. If we’re still fit, it’s surely worth going on: the unpaved road continues flat and offers us a charming view over the lake and the hills. Slightly further on, beneath a hedge-lined boulevard, overlooked by pines and cypresses, the road takes us to the beautiful farmstead of Cervano (230 a.s.l.), on a cultivated plateau. 200 meters more and we meet an intersection. We take the left, definitely going downhill along via Scarpera, at the beginning quite rambling. Below, in front of us, we see the sharp edged steeple of the church of Cecina, a characteristic country ward of Toscolano (140 a.s.l.).Going towards the church, we reach the road that takes us below the churchyard; from here, always on the same road, we pass along the golf course for a hundred meters and then we take left, on the way to Mornaga (the path cuts across the golf course and takes us to the other side of the hill, proceeding on a road that is parallel to the one from Cervano we already followed but in the opposite direction and at a lower altitude). Mornaga (135 a.s.l.) is an old medieval yard, lined by houses and a high wall which encloses an internal courtyard. The whole structure has been restored for holiday apartments but the external part remains unchanged and right in the center of the facade, along the road, we can find a charming fresco dated 1489. At the end of the village, at the next intersection, we take the lower road, crossing broads olivegroves and grassy meadows normally grazed by sheep or horses. Straight ahead, we arrive at a small valley with a little stream. We take the shady uphill path on the left and after 300 meters we arrive at S.Pier d’Agrino , flanked by the young’s oratory of Bogliaco (141 a.s.l.). The main church is dedicated to S. Pietro protector of the lemon crops (agrumi) and it’s flanked by another small church dedicated to the Crucifix. Inside both churches, there are a lot of XVI and XVII century oil paintings. Continuing on our walk, we descend the steps at the side of the churchyard and we must stay on the path untill we reach a shrine called “ Four Saint’s” because of its square shape and the four niches at the corners. Right below, we can see the roofs of Bogliaco and the bay of Gargnano. Downhill south for a hundred meters on the tar road, we get to noticeable kerbstones that mark a junction with a stone lane: we take this.Surrounded by stone walls, lined by rural restored houses, surmounted by a gothic window tower, we arrive directly in Bogliaco (65 a.s.l.). This Gargnano ward has a particular charm, with its narrow roads and it’s very wide central square. Through the central Via Trento, we reach the port, famous for the Centomiglia Sailing Regatta. Normally the square is almost deserted, with empty houses and a few shops. In summer there’s life only during the sailing contests but when the competition is over, the visitor has the unreal sensation of being in an fascinating abandoned town. Majestic and exciting is the view from the dock, especially during a storm, when the rage of the waves whips it from side to side. Bogliaco has several important buildings ( in the main square or in the old Via Trieste) but aboveall, the huge Palazzo Bettoni (XVIII century) stands out, Counts Bettoni’s noble residence, that we can see from the main square jetty, or by going back to the main road Gardesana, from where we can also admire it’s Italian style gardens. From this point, 200 meters towards Gargnano, we reach S.Carlo again, the starting point of our little trip.
Text by Franco Ghitti
 

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