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Golden Day Seventy-Eight: Hike in Bergamo with Rowena Castelli

August 19, 2012

For a beautiful experience of country life, check out Rowena Castelli’s Rubber Slippers in Italy blog. Rowena is originally from Hawaii, now enjoying life in the Province of Lecco, north of Milan, on the southeastern side of Lake Como. Her byline is, “You can take the girl out of the island, but you can’t take the island out of the girl.”

Rowena’s posts lead us to discover off the beaten path spots around her home province and beyond, such as one of my recent favorites about a Sagra del Riso  in Valle Lomellina. She also gives great restaurant advice and her recipes are fab.

“Go take a hike!” is Rowena’s advice to visitors. The hiking directions on her blog are wonderful, and I’m so grateful to have found this one she’s written about a trail on the outskirts of the village of Parre in the Bergamo province.

Thanks Rowena, for letting me adapt your words for…

A Golden Day Hiking from the village of Parre:

In the province of Bergamo, specifically the mountains and valleys up north, cheese, pasta, polenta and even the language take on a flavor all its own. From what we’ve experienced, the vast Bergamo Alps is still largely untouched by foreign tourists, as most everyone heads directly to Lake Como from Milan.

Here’s advice for a hike starting from the village of Parre. It’s a 1627 foot climb to the rustic church of Sant’ Antonio:

From the church on via Monterosso at the upper part of Parre (there’s a small parking area behind the church), continue along to via Monterosso 6 until you see an arched passage with a large fresco painting above. Walk under the arch and veer left–almost immediately after that there will be a rock path on the right that leads through the woods. Follow this path and continue forward and upward until you reach a parking area and fountain. From here the trail is on paved cement that continues downward to a hairpin bend.

Continue on the pavement for a short distance until you see a trail on the left with indications to Rifugio Vaccaro. From here on the thigh–burning begins.

There will be 2 crossroads along the way, both with large stables to the right (beware the cow turds). Keep moving forward and upwards, where finally you’ll reach an asphalt road that leads to Sant’Antonio. It took us 90 minutes on the walk up, and 60 on the return. I suggest hiking poles for this because it’ll really be tough on the knees getting back.

Since this hike definitely inspires our appetites, Rowena’s perfect spot for lunch is Albergo Ristorante Belvedere, (Via Roma 35, Parre BG, 035 701107).

Here you can discover two specialties of the region. Scarpinocc, a filled pasta (grana, bread crumbs, cinnamon, nutmeg) that resemble those medieval, pointed shoes worn long before rubbah slippahs and sneakers were conceived–think elf footwear and you should have an idea. It is supposed to be the leaner version to Bergamo’s meat-filled casoncelli. Well, leaner in theory perhaps, but certainly not when it comes swimming in a pool of browned butter and doused with more grated grana cheese!

Another dish is capu, tiny cabbage rolls in tomato sauce on polenta (they don’t look like cabbage leaves, but that’s what the waitress said), filled with bread crumbs, cheese and herbs. Delicious.

As a starter, we both shared a plate of the house special–a smorgasbord of crunchy, creamy, salty and tangy tastes from land and sea.

Grazie Rowena—for another delicious Golden Day in Lombardy!


P.S.- 2013 UPDATE: Rowena is now blogging at L’Orto Orgoglioso…delicious!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. carlae permalink
    August 25, 2012 3:58 am

    I’ve enjoyed Rowena’s blog for quite a while now, I am so happy she is getting this great attention!

  2. August 23, 2012 4:59 pm

    Lovely blog!
    Rowena is one of my favourite bloggers. I’ve only had the pleasure of visiting but Rowena’s blog gives me a little insight of what it would be like to live among the gorgeous landscape, food and culture of Lecco and other regions of Italy. Now I have her to thank for showing me this little gem of a site!

    The Wanderfull Traveler

  3. August 20, 2012 6:28 pm

    Susan, what more can I say? It is a pleasure to be a part of the traveling fun and I thank you again for including me in your Golden Days posts. Speaking of scarpinocc…this weekend (24, 25, 26) will see another edition of Sagra degli Scarpinòcc in Parre. We HOPE to be able to make it this year.


  1. Golden Days in Italy | Rubber Slippers In Italy

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