A wonderful thing about the end of April and the beginning of May in Italy are two holidays – April 25, La Festa della Liberazione (Liberation Day) and 1 May, Labour Day. If you’re unlucky, both of these days, being six days apart, will fall on days like Wednesday. If it’s a lucky *leap* year, you’ll get two long weekends instead.
On a absolutely breathtaking sunny day, we headed out of Milan by car to the Province of Lecco, and to a regional park named Monte Barro. This park is also an archaeological site and protected area as it has some late Roman empire ruins, in the Parco Archeologico dei Piani di Barra, just below the picnic area.
Two asides: The DMBLGIT galleries are now complete with this month’s entries. Why not give Page 1 and Page 2 of the gallery a look? I also updated Snapshots of Italy with what I believe to be the picture of the world’s smallest car (and no, it’s not a Smart Car).
The park is relatively simple, with the main attraction being Mother Nature and some incredible views. There are also free-access barbecue pits which make it a great place to come with friends for a picnic lunch.
Afterward, you can lay down and look up at the trees and the impossibly green leaves while digesting. You can do this all afternoon, or if you feel up to it, go hiking on the numerous trails and paved roads up and down the mountain. Your butt will thank you (as mine still is).
After a brief disco nap, you can head down to see the first of many breathtaking views – here is the Lago di Annone (closest), and further out, the Lago di Pusiano. Heading down from this overlook, there are the Piani di Barra ruins mentioned above.
We decided to head higher than the picnic area, mostly because of parking availability, but I am so glad we did. We stumbled on an even more spectacular view of Lago di Como and the city of Lecco (opposite shore) and Malgrate below. I walked along a narrow path on the side of the mountain, and the wind was so fierce, it pushed me back against the slope. Luckily it wasn’t going in the other direction as there were no handrails and there was a straight drop ahead of me. But it was exhilarating and I stood there for some time until a father and daughter came down the path and stopped to stare at me. Perhaps they thought I might jump!
I walked around alone for a while, just enjoying the fresh air and the mountains that I didn’t know I missed until I was surrounded by green. The Monte Barro park is also protected due to its botanical diversity, and according to the website, “is the protected area in Lombardy with the greatest flora diversity.” I definitely saw some wildflowers I hadn’t seen before, and some large ants everywhere.
We stayed all day, until the sun started to hide and the reflection on the lakes was blinding. Here you can see the furthest lake out, Lago di Alserio. If you go even higher on Monte Barro, you will see the Lago di Garlate, too.