Hill of Carona
A big park in bloom, beautiful views of the Lugano Bay. Silence of the woods facing Lake Lugano and a few pleasant stops shaded by outstanding monuments. The walk that from Carona leads to Alpe Vicania (a pasture) and back, offers a new insight into Ticino’s green and silent side. Green like the fields of Alpe Vicania where horses graze free. Silent like the narrow alleys of Carona rich in history including the ancient sanctuary of the Madonna d’Ongero adorned by stuccoes and baroque frescoes or the 13th century Torello Monastery.
Itinerary: Hill of Carona (3h, see map)
The centre of Carona deserves particular attention thanks to its beautiful houses, decorated with frescoes and stuccoes, and for its churches (six of them). One of them, dedicated to Saints George and Andrew, preserves interesting frescoes and a wonderful communal Loggia with an arched portico from the 16th century. The village gave birth to architects, artists and craftsmen that in the past few centuries spread their works all over Europe. Traces of their ability and the creativity of their mastery were part of the great artistic emigration of the Comacine Masters (stonemasons) that can be spotted in the alleys of the village where illusionary paintings, meridians and small decorated balconies are preserved.
In late spring the attention is magically drawn to the vast and well-kept San Grato Park with blooming multi-coloured azaleas and rhododendrons on the foreground of many species of conifers. The trails that cross it allow you to admire a large variety of plants while your gaze extends onto the panorama that embraces Monte San Salvatore, Camoghè, Monte Boglia, Sighignola, Monte Generoso and the villages on the lake.
From Carona a wide and levelled trail takes you into the woods towards the Alpe Vicania in little over an hour. Located here, through the fields where a few horses graze free, is an excellent restaurant worth of a culinary stop. To go back, simply walk around Monte Arbòstora. A detour that leads to the sanctuary of the Madonna d’Ongero, with the large church (if it is open do not miss visiting it, as its interior is rich in stuccoes and baroque frescoes) and a Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross) with chapels in an enchanting setting in the woods.
An additional detour (40 minutes round-trip) allows you to get to the old 13th century Torello Monastery consisting of a church and a manor farm (currently private property). You can still distinguish the elegance of the building by looking at the gate and the two columns whereas the frescoes have almost all disappeared.