For over 15 million years the glacial waters of the Pioverna Stream, one of the cleanest ones at a relatively short distance from the capital of Lombardy, dug into the rocky mountainside of the prealps and shaped the ‘Orrido di Bellano‘, a deep ravine between Taceno, Valsassina and Bellano, off the eastern shore of Lake Como. The imposing natural gorge is just 90 km from Milan and 40 minutes from Lecco.

Thanks to numerous well-built and secure catwalks and footbridges attached to the rocks, the gorge can be explored so to enjoy the striking beauty of its plunging waterfalls, natural caves, crystal clear pools, breathtaking views of the canyons, and lush vegetation. At the end of the cavernous corridor visitors’ eyes are caught in amazement by a majestic waterfall which plunges into a lagoon of pure, blue, calm waters.

‘Orrido’ means ‘horrific’, an adjective that references to the howling echo of the noise made by the water running through the caves and the narrower parts of the gorge, and which is also in tune with the 1800s tower guarding the ravine and named “Cà del Diavol” (Devil’s house). The curious little tower stands on a crag of the river and rises up four levels as an irregular hexagon connected by a spiral staircase: legend has it that licentious parties were held inside it, accompanied by evocations of evil. Its name is also tied to mythological figures pictured in frescoes, among which a Satyr that decorates the façade of the towers top floor.

‘Orrido di Bellano’ is open daily from April to September, and on weekends from October to March.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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