Around the hotel there is a variety of routes: mountain walks, beaches on Lecco Lake, historic villas, various museum such as the Moto Guzzi Museum in Mandello del Lario and the Silk museum in Abbadia Lariana.
We would advise you to go in the milder season (best from May - October).
The path of Viandante runs for 35 Km which in order to enjoy it to the full should be done at a slow pace and as it is arduous in some parts should by done by the hardy. This path starts in Abbadia Lariana and finishes in Colico. It runs on the eastern side of Lake Como.
This antique path was used as part of the way from Milan to Switzerland. It was here in this part of the lake path that commercial traffic was made since 1500. It takes us up and down the mountain and in and out of the villages till it reaches Colico which then takes you to the foot of Valtellina.
In the middle ages the path was used by merchants, pilgrims and wayfarers; along the way there were guards and tolls to pay, there were also places to stop for refreshments. The path was witness to mercenaries coming from over the Alps: Sadly famous for the Lanzenecchi invasion (1629 war of Monferrato) who brought the plague to Lombardy. With the passing of time this path was used less and less in favour of other means of transport. Left at the edge of other more popular ways, the path was only used by the local inhabitants to travel from one village to another.
THE PATH TODAY
The Viandante Path is used for long, suggestive walks. The Wayfarer path has been restored and equipped in 1992 and is maintained by local authorities. The walk is quite, but not too easy with signs and orange coloured arrows to indicate "Viandante" along the way so as not to get lost. Anyone can walk this path with only two tracts that are quite difficult because of the difference in height of about 400 meters which is on the mountain side with beautiful views of the underlying lake and the chain of mountains surrounding it. The path between Bellano and Varenna winds its way along a slender mule track which then moves on to chestnut woods and soft, cultivated slopes which are about 100 meters from the lake side.
HOTEL AL VERDE
Along this path you can not only admire the beautiful, enormous panoramas the singular botanic and geologic finds but you can meet up with antique hamlets, a small castle, little chapels, fields, farm houses, vinyards and olive groves. En route you will find our Hotel Restaurant which could be a good starting point. In every season of the year it offers views of our mountains still to discover.
Varenna is an important tourist resort located on a headland at the mouth of the river Esino, below the rough mount St. Defendente (1315 mt).
This mountain was famous for its beautiful white-black marbles, whose extraction used to employ most of the population.
This ancient village offers an enviable landscape, in fact in front of it depart the two branches of the lake and the sight ranges from the green headland of Bellagio to the most far away towns of Menaggio and Cadenabbia.
It is a picturesque village characterized by an almost uninterrupted succession of low and regular houses, sometimes with frescoes or coats of arms, leaning against each other and linked together through long and narrow alleys descending steep and straight down to the lake.
If you arrive in Varenna in the evening you cannot help being fascinated by the “Walk of Love” overlooking the lake.
Church of San Giorgio
The parish church was built in 1313 on the present main square. The last restoration works were made in the 50s but were not the only ones, in fact the religious building underwent several modifications even in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The main facade, flanked by the majesty of the bell tower dated 1653, develops on three portals from the 18th-century, highlighting in the middle one an old and faded painting from the 14th century with St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers.
The interior comprises three naves placed on cylindrical pillars and sharp arches and preserves several works of art such as an altarpiece depicting the Virgin, St. George and St. Peter by G.B. Brentani (1468), a carved Baroque confessional by Giovanni Albiolo from Bellagio (17th-18th century), a large wooden crucifix dating back to the 16th century, an altarpiece dated 1494 with four Saints and Maria, the marble altar of the Chapel of the Rosary and a “Deposition from the cross” carved in the stone.
Oratory of San Giovanni Battista and Oratory of the Madonna delle Grazie
Both buildings are located in the main square near the parish church.
The first one is of Romanesque origin, and according to an inscription from 1750 it was enlarged and consecrated in 1151.
During the restoration of the years 1964-1967 they found in the nave some frescoes probably made in the 14th century.
It preserves a funeral sepulcher of Romanesque origin and interesting frescoes in the apse, that should go back to the early 16th century.
The Oratory of the “Madonna delle Grazie” is a small building from the 17th century. Its interior in Baroque style preserves a magnificent wooden altar with gold decorations as well as polychrome wooden statues and paintings from the 17th century.
Villa Isimbardi or Villa Cipressi
The villa, of ancient origin, is located on the southern shore of the headland.
It belonged first to the Serponti and in the 19th century to the Isimbardi family. It was repeatedly restored until the second half of the 19th century, when Enrico Andreossi reconstructed and gave it its present Neoclassical form.
The name by which it is commonly known derives from the centuries-old cypress trees that characterize the terraced garden sloping down towards the lake.
For some years it has been a public property.
On the shores of Lake Como Villa Monastero represents nowadays one of the most interesting examples of residences in eclectic style where the interventions carried out between the late 19th and early 20th century have added functional and decorative elements without destroying the traces of the original appearance of the building, thereby obtaining a villa with a garden of a great scenic effect and symbolic value.
Villa Monastero arises from the continuous renovation of the ancient female Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria, whose first documentary mention dates back to 1208.
It was built between 1808 and 1810 by Giocondo Albertolli upon commission of Francesco Melzi, Chancellor of the Kingdom of Italy and a great friend to Napoleon. The villa, among the best known on the lake, was realized in the neoclassical style of the first decades of the 18th century and originally used as a summer residence.
It is entirely surrounded by an enchanting garden in English style descending to the lake, in order to achieve the desired effect a large removal of soil was required.
Nothing you can expect in a patrician garden is missing: the kiosk, the chapel (by Vittorio Nesti, that houses the funeral monument of Francesco Melzi died in 1816), two Egyptian statues from the 14th and 13th centuries BC, the pond with water lilies, the tub with the statue of Cupid and another chapel with a Renaissance portal by Bramante.
The interior, mainly neoclassical, preserves valuable works of art, there are stucco walls decorated by Albertolli, paintings and sculptures by Canova and frescos by Giuseppe Bossi, one of the brightest neoclassical painters of Lombardy.
Guests of Villa Melzi were in the past Eugene Beauharnais, Franz I of Austria, Stendhal and Liszt, famous personalities from the world of culture and politics.
Current owners by inheritance are the Gallarati Scotti, and the Duke Tommaso, diplomat and scholar.
It extends on the promontory of Bellagio where, according to tradition, Plinio the Younger owned a villa called "Tragedy"; in the same place in the Middle Ages a castle was built, then pulled down by Galeazzo Visconti in the 14th century.
The original building dates from the late 15th century, when the domestic economy was based on fishing and the cultivation of vines and olives.
Built upon request by the Marquis Stanga, the villa was enlarged and rebuilt in the following century by the Sfondrati family.
The villa remained their property until 1788, when it was inherited by the very rich and powerful family Serbelloni.
It was them who enriched the vaulted halls with precious decorations and works of art from the 17th and 18th centuries, and designed the huge park, one of the most beautiful in Italy, with rare trees, rhododendrons, redwoods, beeches etc
During the years of the Risorgimento the house was abandoned and in the late 19th century converted into a hotel.
Since 1959 the villa has belonged to the Cultural Foundation Rockefeller of New York that organizes conferences and meetings.
Its park, considered as one of the most beautiful parks on the lake and in Italy, is rich in ancient trees, exotic and rare plants that pay especially in autumn a unique spectacle of colors. There are caves, sculptures, remains of medieval walls and, on the top of the promontory, the ruins of a Romanesque church dedicated to St. Peter the Apostle.
A very long time ago the river Meria and the glacier Abduano decided to join their forces and, year after year, they moulded a true work of art: the river dragged down stones and gravels, while the glacier formed the moraine layers that have generated the current hills.
The result is a natural pedestal, which now proudly houses the town of Mandello del Lario with its several hamlets.
Located between 200 and 2,409 Mtr above sea level, Mandello is a picturesque small town in the province of Lecco in northern Lombardy, with approx. 11.000 inhabitants.
Thanks to the beautiful and varied scenery resulting from the union of lake and mountains, Mandello is a fully equipped sports resort, well known for the awards won by its Olympic Rowing Team.
Who loves the great heights can reach in about 3 hours the Pian dei Resinelli or face the demanding climb to the Grigne.
The town was founded by the Romans and the local historical events of the following centuries were troubled: in the Middle Ages it had the appearance of a fortress, continually disputed between Como and Milan.
The village soon began to cultivate olive trees and vines for internal use, while the hamlet Maggiana stood out for the cultivation of the white mulberry trees and the breeding of silkworms.
The silk was produced in the local spinning mill, now become a private home.
You can still re-experience the charm of the art of silk manufacturing visiting the Silk Museum Monti in Abbadia Lariana (5 km from the hotel).
During the 20th century, with the introduction of synthetic fibers such an activity has gradually disappeared and today Mandello del Lario is mainly based on the industry, although there are small natural, artistic and historic jewels to be admired that attract tourism both in summer and winter.
In terms of artistic and architectural point of view particularly fascinating is the low part of the village coasting the lake with its picturesque maze of narrow alleys, stone houses and a small pier.
Walking along the shore you meet impressive natural coves with small pebble beaches for those who want to relax in the sun and swim in the clear waters of the lake. Quite popular is the equipped public beach at the mouth of the river Meria.
The city center is full of interesting buildings, rich in history and tradition, such as the Church of San Lorenzo, founded in the early Christian period and restored in the 9th century and in the Roman era. On its side stands a high bell tower, built in the course of centuries.
The interior is enriched by works from the 17th century ascribed to Giacomo Antonio Santagostino and his school.
At least two other churches are worth visiting. The first one is the church of San Giorgio, located in the district with the same name, that dates back to the year 1000 and was rebuilt in the 14th century.
The only original piece left is a precious holy water with a geometric floral decorative pattern.
Inside you will be amazed in front of paintings from the 15th century preserved in the presbytery such as the Crucifixion.
The second building is the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Fiume (our Lady of the river) in Baroque style, with fine frescoes by Giacomo Antonio Santagostino.
As far as natural beauties is concerned, you can visit the Cave Ferrera, in the locality “Acqua Bianca” (= White Water), a huge cave that houses a small stream and a waterfall.
The entrance is on the edge of an old mule track, but inside the ground is muddy and the rock is full of crevices. Beyond Mandello there is the hamlet Maggiana, an evocative township with the atmosphere of a medieval fairytale.
In the centre there is the “Torre del Barbarossa” (= Barbarossa Tower), who in the 12th century had as a guest Emperor Friedrich I.
Now the building houses an interesting museum devoted to the farmers’ work that can be visited by appointment or during certain festivities of June.
Many events are organized in Mandello all year round.
In May a rich concert season begins in the hamlet of Maggiana, while July is completely full initiatives such as the "Palio" of the neighborhoods, the flea market, the Feast of the “Alpini”, the traditional swimming crossing of the lake and the festivity of San Lorenzo, the patron saint of the city, that takes place on August, 10th.
Moto Guzzi Museum
Not to be missed: a visit to the Moto Guzzi Museum, located in the heart of the historic factory that gave birth to the Eagle myth back in 1921.
In the museum unique pieces are displayed, such as the first motorcycle built by Carlo Guzzi in 1919: the only GP (Guzzi-Parodi) signed piece, along with motorcycles among the most celebrated in the world such as the extraordinary Eight-Cylinders 500 from 1957 created by the genius of Giulio Cesare Carcano.
For the organization of guided tours in times and / or days different from the opening, you can contact the Secretary of Museum. Tel. +39.0341709111
The weather is generally pleasant, characterized by cold but not very strict winters and by hot but breezy summers. The average temperature of January, the coldest month, ranges from a minimum of -2° to a maximum of 6°, while in July it goes from 17° to 28°.
From early summer to late autumn there is a long rainy season with more than 110mm average rain per month.