Stage 3 – From Piazza Prepositurale to the bottom of via Crotto Rosa
After the visit to the church, walk back to Piazza Prepositurale, cross it on the right hand-side, and reach the other side of Via Majnoni at the pedestrian crossing, taking the ramp that connects it to the large stone paved sidewalk in front of Villa Majnoni. At the end of the ramp, turn right, and, after a few metres to the left, walk through the wrought iron gate (please mind the 80 cm high movable barrier in the middle) of the Majnoni public park, originally the private park of the villa, designed by architect Achille Majnoni. By following the concrete tile path you will be able to see the side of the small baroque temple transferred here from the Royal Villa park in Monza, and donated by King Umberto I to the Majnoni family. After 30 metres, turn right and follow the path.
After a further 20 metres or so, a short 15 metre detour on a concrete tile surface leads to the Memorial dedicated to «the Alpines of today» «the Alpines of all times». It is a reinforced concrete structure consisting of a base wall with two wings, giving rise to a tall and slender oblique pinnacle. The base wall carries a bronze panel carved in high relief with the image of a member of the Alpine troops, surrounded by four other panels with allegorical images on the courage and heroism of the representatives of this glorious Army Corps made by the sculptor Giuseppe Abramini (Abram).
Retrace your steps, and continue by passing under the branch of a majestic Cedar for another 30 metres, then take the staircase of small cobbled steps with a stone rise (there are two iron handrails, one on each side). After the first 22 steps, next to the central flower bed, the staircase forks in two flights of 9 steps on the right and 9 on the left, which then join together again. After a further 22 steps, you will come to a flat cobbled surface, about 5 metres long, that you have to cross in order to exit the Park gate leading to the sidewalk of Corso Bartesaghi.
Alternatively, should you wish to avoid the steps, continue on the detour that leads to the Alpines’ Memorial. The surface of the driveway is initially made of concrete tiles, followed by asphalt. Once you reach the children’s playground keep to your left, and, after an extensive tour of the Park on a concrete tile surface, you can walk through the gate leading to the sidewalk of Corso Bartesaghi.
Turn right and continue slightly downhill for about 30 metres, encountering a C40 Como – Erba – Lecco ASF bus stop on the way, then turn left and cross the road at the pedestrian crossing. Climb the sidewalk on the opposite side and turn immediately to the right, and walk for about twenty metres on cobblestones which lead to the base of the long staircase of the Erba War Memorial, in the hamlet of “Clerici” (named after Villa Clerici, located nearby). Designed in 1926 by rationalist architect Giuseppe Terragni, and built between 1928 and 1932, the Memorial is made up of a large stone staircase with four linear flights of wide low steps, flanked by two rows of cypress trees. The staircase leads to a memorial chapel surmounted by a panoramic terrace, on the bottom of which there is a semi-circular double-winged stone portico. It is said that it was Terragni himself who wanted the climb to be exhausting, almost a sacrifice for those who came to pay homage to the soldiers who gave up their lives for their country.
Walk back for about twenty metres until the beginning of the cobbled section. On the undressed stone wall on your right, opposite a granite parallelepiped, a concrete slab bears the inscription: «Laid down by the Municipalities of Erba, Fellbach, Tain l’Hermitage, Tournon on 9 September 1989, wishing peace to the people of United Europe on the 200th anniversary of the Human Rights Declaration»; the towns mentioned are those twinned with Erba. Keep to the right and climb the stairs made of low cobbled steps with a stone rise, protected on the left by an approx. one metre high iron handrail: you will find 17 steps at first, then a small landing, followed by another 17 steps and a clay plateau with a stone bench. After a further 8 stone steps, turn right and take the asphalted Via Crotto Rosa (alternatively, after continuing for about a hundred metres along the sidewalk of Corso Bartesaghi, turn right and take Via Crotto Rosa directly) and follow it uphill, bordering a stretch of the War Memorial staircase after the first corner. After about 140 metres you find a staircase to your right, which is one of the entrances of the Licinium open-air theatre, built in classical style in 1928 according to the plan of Fermo Bassi and Giacomo Pozzoli, and commissioned by Alberto and Federico Airoldi of Erba. Named after the Roman consul Licinius, commander of the ancient colony that gave rise to Erba. Throughout its history, the Licinium has experienced moments of great fame and splendour (the highly celebrated representations of the “Passion” and the shows by big names of Italian theatre) and others of total abandonment. From Via Crotto Rosa you can also catch a glimpse of some of the columns of the stage.
On the left side of the road, opposite the entrance of the Licinium, you can see Villa Candiani, an elegant three-storey building in eclectic style characterized by the marked contrast between the two colours used, ochre and brick-red. It was built by architect Luigi Broggi between 1880 and 1890 for the Candiani family of Milan; it is currently owned by the Municipality of Erba.
As you continue to walk along the street, on your left you can enjoy a nice view of the Pian d’Erba, the alluvial plain created by the River Lambro at its outlet from the Valassina valley, with the lakes of Alserio (on the right) and Pusiano (on the left), greatly celebrated by poets and painters alike.
Immediately before number 2 of Via Crotto Rosa, on the right side of the road, you find the main entrance to the Licinium Theatre, followed by a boulevard.
After a short stretch, at number 6, again on the right side of the road, you will find the Crotto Rosa, a large four-storey building covered by Virginia creeper. It is named after Pietro Rosa, a bizarre painter in love with the Brianza, who had it built around 1850 as a theatre. Some thirty years later Rosa turned it into a luxury hotel and restaurant, and it was used as such until the early 50s of the last century. Subsequently, several renovations led to its present appearance, converting it into a facility for receptions, events and exclusive holidays. Moreover, it was chosen in 2014 to shoot some scenes of the movie Suddenly Komir by Giulio Baraldi and Rocco Ricciardulli, starring Gaia Berman Amaral. After about 500 metres from the entrance of the street, the road narrows and becomes cobbled as you enter the core of Upper Erba. At number 10, on the right, there is a beautiful three-storey mansion in baroque style, with a beautiful arched portal and wrought iron balconies, which used to be the dwelling of the Counts De Carli.
At number 11 stands the palace once owned by the Counts Archinto, feudal lords of Erba, nowadays turned into the “Christ the King” House, run by the Sisters of Charity. Historian Giorgio Mauri describes it as follows: «It is one of the oldest houses in Erba: nowadays drastically altered and refurbished, it was built according to a U-shaped plan, with wings facing the garden and the Erba plain. From 1647 to 1799 it was the seat of the Counts Archinto from Milan, feudal lords of Erba further to their investiture by Emperor Ferdinand III of Habsburg, and magistrate’s office of Erba; it was then transferred to the Counts Barbiano di Belgioioso». We are now at the very core of Upper Erba.
Point of departure Erba, Piazza Prepositurale
Point of arrival Erba, Via Crotto Rosa
Path type urban route
Environment urban area
Total length approx. 900 m
Travel time on foot 25 min
Rise approx. 50 m
Maximum height 340 m
Paving stone setts, stone slabs, concrete tiles, cobbles, asphalt, dirt track
Public transport to the point of departure ASF bus service in the surroundings
Public transport from the point of arrival –
Parking at the point of departure yes
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