Stage 5 – From Gajum to the Canzo – Asso Trenord Railway Station
Go down Via Gajum keeping to your left; at the intersection with the asphalted Via Monte Rai, asphalt, walk downhill, again keeping to the left. At about 130 metres from the junction you will come across a small chapel with a wooden statue of Saint Rita. After another 60 metres, cross the entrance of Via Lunate (please be careful as there is no zebra crossing) and, immediately after, cross the Punt da Sigur on the Ravella stream (limited by a low 30 cm wall onto which stands an iron railing of about 1 metre), rebuilt in the seventies of the last century. We are a little below the place called Maj (mallet), which refers to the presence of a mallet active from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century for processing iron from the mines in the hamlet called Tampa o Roncaiolo.
After the bridge you cross the road (please be careful as there is no zebra crossing), passing on your right the entrance of the cobbled Via Paradiso, marked by two hollow ghiandone granite “pillars”, made from sections of pipelines that brought water to feed the underlying “Filatoi”, i.e. work places for spinners. Take the asphalted Via Sombico, keeping to the left of the roadway (compatibly with any cars parked in the first stretch). At numbers 31-33 you will meet the big five-storey building known as the “Filatoi” of the Sormani family, later turned into a male youth club and now only partially in use. At number 27, where there is the gate of the male youth club Theatre, active until the Eighties. We are in the old Quarter of Sombico (Cuntrada da Sumbìch), whose name probably refers to its raised position. After approx. 250 metres from the beginning of the road you come to a clearing, the Cipilöö da san Ròcch, which overlooks the Chapel of St. Roch, separated from the road by two high steps and enclosed by an iron gate. Inside, above the small altar, stands a painting of Our Lady with St. Roch and, below, on the left, a plague victim, which carries the signature of Colombo and dated 1868. The chapel is still used nowadays during the month of May for the recitation of the Rosary.
Turn right into the asphalted Via Castello; at the end of this road turn left into Via Alcide De Gasperi in the hamlet of Crusett, a stopping point during Rogation Days. Rogation Days were one of the many examples of a religion close to the needs of ordinary believers: they were processions that took place at dawn, usually in the month of May, marked by the Litany of the Saints and requests (the Latin term rogare means “to ask”) for God’s protection from bad weather, famines, plagues, and wars. After 20 metres turn left again in Via Torre: on the hillock to your right, in a place called Castèll, overlooking the village, the Spaniards established a military garrison, called the Castle, in the second half of the sixteenth century. In one part of the old structure, still in existence and incorporated into an former hotel and restaurant, until a few years ago you could read a cryptic inscription: «Non te fidar de femina nesuna che tutte sono della casa di Maganza (Do not trust any woman as they all come from the house of Maganza)». Gano Maganza betrayed the Franks of Charlemagne at Roncesvalles; the inscription refers to the alleged betrayal of a maid working at the castle, who, by poisoning the well water, decimated the garrison stationed there, which was guilty of harassing the people of Canzo.
Across, one can see the outline of Villa Rizzoli, formerly Magni, built by the architect Pietro Fenoglio from Turin for the Canzo entrepreneur Magno Magni between 1903 and 1906; surrounded by a large park, it has now been transformed into an elegant reception and conference centre.
After about 120 metres, ignore for the time being S. Anna’s stairway and continue for another 10 metres along Via Torre where, at number 10, on the left, stands a building flanked by a small tower, rebuilt in the last century on the site of an old tower already present in the Teresian Cadastre (1722-1723 surveys).
Turn back up and walk down S. Anna’s Stairway, formed by 60 low cobbled steps. In three sections (at the start, in the middle, and near the end) an 80 cm high iron handrail has been placed. Halfway along the steps, where the stairway turns to the left, there are two stone benches which can be used for a rest. At the end of the steps, a short 40 metre stretch of bumpy asphalt road (with remains of steps on the left, separated by an iron railing) allows you to reach Viale Rimembranze, at the point where you can see an aedicule with a twentieth-century effigy of Our lady Immaculate. Cross the road (please be careful as there is no zebra crossing), turn right and continue on the asphalted pavement.
On the opposite side of Viale Rimembranze you find Piazzale Giovanni XXIII, the new market square, with large areas used as car parks. This is overlooked by a Sports Centre (with restaurant and bar, athletics track, tennis courts, and a basketball, five-a-side football, and volleyball court); this location is called Camp da Miro, which, however, does not refer to the Saint, but to the name of the last tenant.
The relief in front is the Costa di Cranno, the hillsides of which until the end of the 19th century were terraced and cultivated with La Veronica vine, which gave a rather sharp local red wine.
Continue on the sidewalk up to the Cemetery’s gravelled yard, cross it and go down the six steps that connect it with the asphalted Piazza Caduti Alpini, a square used as a car park. Cross the square and, on the left, enter Via De Gasperi (please be careful as there is no zebra crossing); turn left in Via Laguccio and climb on the sidewalk (which is interrupted after about thirty metres by the entrance to another parking area), and continue for about 300 metres. Then cross at the pedestrian crossing and climb onto the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, which runs along the parking lot of the EFFE3 supermarket. After another 70 metres, at the junction with Via Verza, turn right, and continue along the sidewalk for about 80 metres, up to the Marli ice-cream shop. Cross Via Verza on the pedestrian crossing at this point (there is also a pedestrian traffic light), climb onto the sidewalk on the opposite side, turn right, and, after a few metres, you will reach the asphalted square of the Trenord Canzo – Asso Railway station, dominated by the large building which is the terminus of the Milan – Erba – Asso Line of the former Northern Milan Railways, built in 1922. In the square there is a bar-tobacconist with restaurant, two telephone booths, and the stop for the C35 Asso Onno Bellagio, C36 Civenna Bellagio Asso, C37 Asso Sormano and C49 Asso bus lines.
On the opposite side of Via Verza the former spinning mill of Villa (Cà) Verza is till recognizable, despite the radical transformations. It is the most important mansion in Canzo, built in the second half of the eighteenth century by entrepreneur Carlo Verza. Part of the complex (of which you can still see the old brick chimney) was purchased by Salvatore Fiume, the great Italian twentieth century painter, who used it as his workshop and residence; since his death it has become the home of the foundation carrying his name.
For information on mining activities in Canzo:
Website of Associazione Ad Metalla
Point of departure Canzo, Gajum
Point of arrival Canzo-Asso, Trenord Railway Station square
Path type tourist
Total length approx. 2100 m
Travel time on foot 30 min
Maximum height 485 m
Paving asphalt, porphyry cubes, cobbles, gravel
Public transport to the point of departure -
Parking at the point of departure yes
Points of Interest
In this Stage you can find the following Points of Interest: