Discovering Natural Wonders: let’s find out Lake Como’s Protected Areas.

Lake Como, nestled among the majestic mountains of Lombardy, is famous for its breathtaking beauty and crystal-clear waters.

In addition to the sumptuous palaces and picturesque villages that overlook its shores, Lake Como is also the guardian of precious protected natural areas.

Together, let’s discover these oases of tranquillity and biodiversity that contribute to preserving the ecological richness of this Italian jewel.

Pian di Spagna and Lake Mezzola Natural Reserve 

One of the most extraordinary protected areas around Lake Como is the Pian di Spagna and Lake Mezzola Natural Reserve.

This area is a bird lover's paradise, with numerous migratory species stopping here on their journey.

Scenic trails offer spectacular views of the surrounding landscape, providing an immersive experience in nature.

The Pian di Spagna and Mezzola Lake Natural Reserve was established by the Lombardy Region in 1983 in implementation of the directives contained in the Ramsar Convention (IRAN, 1971) to ensure a suitable environment for the rest and nesting of migratory avifauna to protect and maintain the natural landscape characteristics of the classified humid area, to regulate and control the use of the area for educational-recreational purposes and to enhance the socio-economic activities present in the area.

The territory of the Pian di Spagna - Mezzola Lake is recognized as a Site of Community Importance (Sic). It is part of the European Ecological Network "Natura 2000", which aims to preserve the survival of a group of areas characterized by various habitats and species of animals and vegetation. 

The area extends between the provinces of Sondrio and Como and includes five municipalities: Sorico and Gera Lario (Como), Dubino, Verceia, and Novate Mezzola (Sondrio).

Spina Verde Regional Park

Spina Verde Park - Castel Baradello 2018

The Spina Verde Regional Park extends on the western slopes of Lake Como, an area that combines scenic beauty with a fascinating history. Here, well-maintained paths lead through centuries-old forests and green meadows, offering views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

A place of nature but also culture, animated all year round by local events and initiatives: guided tours in nature, excursions on beautiful paths, also ideal for school trips.

Inside the park, the Baradello Castle stands out with its tower and houses some of the finds recovered during the archaeological investigations conducted in the area.

The origin of the Baradello Castle dates back to the early Middle Ages (5th-7th century AD), a period in which a defense system ("limes") was created in the border areas, consisting of fortifications, barriers, watchtowers, and castles, including Baradello.

Albano Valley and Adda River Natural Reserve 

Valle Albano park landscape

The Albano Valley and Adda River Natural Reserve represent a unique river environment. The banks of the Adda River are a refuge for various species of flora and fauna, while the hiking trails allow you to explore the fascinating natural surroundings.

The protected area of the Valle Albano Park is located in the territory of Gravedona ed Uniti, in the province of Como, on the northwestern side of Lake Como.

It is a protected natural area of primary importance for protecting biodiversity and the mountain territory.

The Albano Valley Park is home to numerous animal and plant species typical of the Alpine area. It is a popular excursion destination for trekking lovers, mountain bike trips, and horseback riding.

Northern Grigna Regional Park

The imposing peaks of the Northern Grigna Regional Park form the backdrop to the scenery of Lake Como. This park offers a unique experience for trekking and climbing lovers, with routes leading to unforgettable views and welcoming mountain refuges.

The park overlooks the lake’s eastern shore, just above Varenna, and is immersed in an area of beautiful sites to discover.

Some areas of this large park aim to provide an alternative integrated tourist offer compared to the traditional way of enjoying the pre-Alpine areas.

The actions envisaged by the project that protects the park territory are:

- study and monitoring of the Moncodeno ice caves, an area of extreme scientific importance, as well as great potential for nature tourism;

- study of fossil finds in the Pialleral area;

In addition to being the perfect place to welcome various species of animals, both water and land and numerous birds and insects, it organizes initiatives and excursions to make nature known and experienced all year long.

Activities for adults and children, accompanied by park keepers and guides: green and agricultural weeks, trekking, outings with palaeontologists, geologists, and speleologists, educational activities and games for children, evenings in nature, magical excursions into the most hidden corners of the protected area... for those gets excited walking in unique nature!

Val Sanagra Park, our local park

Valsanagra Park 2016

Val Sanagra Park is plunged into a beautiful valley that wedges into the heart of the Lepontine Pre-Alps.

The valley’s name derives from the Sanagra stream, known to all as Senagra, which flows from the slopes of the summit mountains to its mouth at Menaggio (200 mt).

To let you figure it out better, the park is between Lake Como and Lake Lugano. It can be seen by driving along the stretch of road from Menaggio to Grandola ed Uniti (400 mt), at the well-known creek called "Sella di Grandola" or Val Menaggio. 

An outstanding aspect of the Sanagra Valley Park is the still-wild environment made of typical species, forests, grasslands, and mountain pastures.

The preservation of the valley is the result of a natural “inheritance” of historical events.

The first settlements were exclusively seasonal because they were linked to livestock farming and forest exploitation and, only later, became permanent for artisanal, pre-industrial, or industrial activities, using the stream waters for energy purposes.

Another critical factor is the geological setting of the park, affected by the passage of a fault of regional importance, the Grona line, which crosses a fossiliferous deposit of national relevance here: the carbonaceous outcrop of Logone Alps. 

In this area, you can explore the remains of a continental forest that turns back to 310 million years ago (Middle Carboniferous, Westphalian) in an environment populated by ferns, amphibians, and insects.

The first fossil seeds in the earth’s history were found in the Sanagra Valley Park! It was named the "Trigonocarpus" and was produced by plants, in some respects similar to conifers and others similar to ferns.

Once past the fault, the geological time clock moves forward 100 million years, and the surprises hidden in the rocks of the park continue: warm seas populated by fearsome barracuda replace the lush forest (Saurichthys sp.) together with fishes belonging to species of the Noric soils (Upper Triassic, 210 million years).

Sanagra waters were frequently exploited in the past: the catchments needed to feed the millstones of the mills (still present today), the hammers of the furnaces (that’s why the area is called "Forno" - Cardano), and the turbines for the production of electricity (Seterie and Impresa Venini of Menaggio). 

Although these activities have ceased, the remains of the catchment plants remain.

Spina Verde Park overlooking Como

Exploring these protected areas allows you to connect with uncontaminated nature and contribute to their conservation.

Respecting the local flora and fauna, following the park's rules, and leaving everything as it is are essential to ensuring that future generations can enjoy these natural treasures as much as we do today.

Whether you are a hiking enthusiast or want to immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature, these areas offer a haven of serenity and beauty.

Ask our staff, at Hotel Loveno, the nearest protected area, if you are staying for a few days. If you have more time, plan your visit to the most beautiful natural places and enjoy your time in the open air!

Contact us to discover more

– Sara