North of Milan lies Lake Como, a beautiful alpine lake lined with charming villages and luxurious villas. Its beauty is such that it has become the haunt of the super-rich and famous, who are just as enamoured by the glorious scenery as the hordes of tourists that visit the lake every year. It is also a very popular hiking destination, with a multitude of trails leading off from the gelaterias and pizzerias of the shoreline villages and up into the mountains. After all, these peaks mark the beginnings of The Alps.
By alpine standards, these are not high mountains. By British standards, they are. Monte Barro above the town of Lecco I would liken to Keswick's Latrigg. It's the small peak near the town. Like Latrigg, it is overshadowed by loftier peaks nearby. However, Monte Barro is 922 metres high! That's higher than Blencathra. Higher than Great Gable. Higher than The Cobbler. Higher than Tryfan. If it was in Scotland, it would be a Munro. If it was in England, it would be the fifth highest in the country. But here it is just a baby. I climbed it one morning and it was a pleasant hike. However, my main reason for hiking to the summit was to get a view back across Lecco to a much more monsterous mountain.
Resegone (1875m) is said to be the most famous and dramatic of Lombardy's mountains and it is easy to see why. To say it had a distictive profile would be an understatement. Resegone means The Saw. Its summit ridge is lined with jagged peak after jagged peak, each of a similar height, giving it the appearance of a colossal upturned saw. As the dawn sun battled its way through the scattered storm clouds from the previous night's thunder and lightning, I stood on the summit of Monte Barro and knew that I just had to get up there.
And so a couple of days later I hiked to the summit of Resegone. Once again, thunderstorms were due, and to save time, I took the cable car to Piani Erna to begin the ascent. From there, it was pure adventure through forest, under gigantic rock towers and across lush grassy shelves. After a final scramble to reach the summit, I was there. The Saw did not dissapoint. Stupendous views back down to Lecco and Lake Como were mixed with dramatic sightlines across the ridge. What a place. When I arrived back to the cable car station and the welcome pint of German beer, I was buzzing. Like a saw.