La Ferrata del Centenario to Monte Grona – a beautiful mountain to be explored.

What Via Ferratas are and why are they so loved by any climbing and trekking enthusiasts?

A via ferrata is a mountain route equipped with metal cables, brackets, ladders, and fixed anchors that facilitate access to the summit, traversing rock ledges, to any climbing-passionate or simple trekking lover. Always in safety and enjoying the climbing.

An ideal activity for all mountain enthusiasts but also for all those who want to spend a different day than usual, surrounded by nature.

Here, we tell you about a very well-known Via Ferrata, just a few kilometers from our Hotel Loveno, the Via Ferrata del Centenario al Monte Grona, commissioned by CAO Como, which stands for club alpino operaio (the workers’ alpine club).

Via Ferrata to Monte Grona – a little bit of history

It all began with the foundation of the CAO of Como, the workers’ alpine club, born in 1885.

The club, closely linked to the Como area, has always proposed to organize trips and excursions in the mountains, ski races, and mountain running competitions, to promote and support alpine and popular singing, to encourage the study and knowledge of the mountain areas, in particular of the province of Como and to work for the conservation and enhancement of their artistic, folkloristic, woodland, phlogistic and faunal heritage.

Through its numerous initiatives and activities, the CAO, for over a century, has pursued the aim of spreading a passion for the mountains and nature among the people, especially among young people.

But how was this project born?

In 1985, the club felt the need to create a work that would remain over time, to remember its first centenary and all of its men. This work is still today a much-loved Via Ferrata: the “Via Ferrata del Centenario of the C.A.O.” on Monte Grona.

The choice of this beautiful “home” mountain was due to several factors, not least, the active collaboration offered by C.A.I Menaggio, owner of the lodge with the same, which will prove to be a precious logistical base for the implementation of the project.

Once the route had been identified, the two clubs, C.A.I and C.A.O, joined together to fix it, clean it, and make it attractive for every person who intended to follow it.

After years of continuous use, the route begins to deteriorate, and for this reason, in 2001, after a good job carried out with the effort of C.A.I. Menaggio, the Via Ferrata was restructured, replacing cables and anchors, to make it even safer.

The adjustment works continued over the years, in 2006 the cable was entirely replaced with a plastic one, a chain was added along the entire length, a good part of the nailing was redone, ‘help’ steps were added, further anchors were added in the passage sections from a tower to the other.

The last major renovations finally date back to 2015, and today this route is still much loved and beaten by all climbing and trekking lovers.

Monte Grona dominates Lake Como and its surroundings.

Monte Grona rises on the north-western part of Lake Como and is 1736 meters high. It is part of the Lugano Pre-Alps group and, together with Monte Bregagno, they mark their eastern border.

Reaching the summit of Monte Grona is a truly thrilling experience, both for the breathtaking views and for the luxuriant nature along the climb.

You can enjoy one of the most spectacular panoramas in Lombardy which, once you reach the summit, sweeps 360° over the entire surrounding area: Lake Como, Lake Lugano, and Lake Piano up to the Grigne embracing the Alps.

On Monte Grona stands the Rifugio Menaggio, a wonderful panoramic balcony over Lake Como and the surrounding mountains, as well as a resting place for all those who arrive there after long trekking or climbing.

It is from here that the last part of the climb begins, via the Via Ferrata which branches off in two directions: the Normal one and the Direttissima (direct) one.

The Via Ferrata on Monte Grona, how to reach the summit.

From Menaggio, the town where our Hotel Loveno is located, about 30 km from Como, follow the Val Solda state road (Porlezza-Lugano) for about 1 km to reach the ascent to Monte Grona; at the first junction, turn right following the signs for Plesio. Say hello to us at the hotel, then go towards the Chiarella water company. 

Continue to reach, shortly after, the beautiful hamlet of Breglia (about 3km from the crossroads). Just before the church (you will find a sign), a small paved road climbs to the left reaching, after about 3 km, the houses of the Monti di Breglia; the road continues, bumpy, narrow, and then no longer paved, until you reach a hairpin bend where the car park is located.

From here you take a road that subsequently divides at an altitude of 1120m, near a fenced reforestation area. Following one of the two branches, you reach the Menaggio lodge. From there, at 1383m, take the path (signs will be shown) which heads flat towards the southwest reaching the base of the “Denti” of Grona, the series of limestone towers which form the southeast spur of the mountain. After crossing the mouth of the detrital gully, crossed by the “Direttissima” path, you reach the base of the spur where, near a tree, you will find the start of the Via Ferrata (indicator plate).

The beginning is immediately hard, in vertical, then you continue more easily, even if you continue to climb.

In fact, in the last part of the route, the difficulties partially decrease, and you continue on a series of slabs in adherence, at the end of which you come out on top of the mountain Grona-1736 mt.

The descent can be carried out either along the Via Normale, with the path that turns north-east, or along the Via Direttissima: from the top, follow the path that turns north-east, reaching the saddle from which the obvious south gully branches off. Slightly steeper and more exposed route than the Via Normale.

The Via Ferratas are numerous around the whole Lake Como, and especially on the eastern branch, around Lecco but, without a doubt, that of Monte Grona is among the most beautiful and most panoramic.

Contact  us to discover more

– Sara