One of the most spectacular views of the Greater Lugano area, comprising a series of urban conglomerates, can be seen from Monte Bar. From the top, the view stretches from the Gulf of Lugano to the green interior of the Val Colla valley, with the metropolis of Milan silhouetted in the distance, and from the Rhaetian, Valais and Bernese Alps, to the Monte Rosa massif and the Apennines. The summit is easily accessible by a steep but pleasant two-hour walk through fields and woods, starting from Corticiasca in Capriasca. At the foot of the peak, you will find a welcoming mountain hut, where you can sample an array of specialities from the Ticino area.
Itinerary: Monte Bar (4h, see map)
The small town of Tesserete, lying north of Lugano, is the starting point for the climb up Monte Bar. From here, you can continue on the main road, heading first in the direction of Val Colla and then subsequently onwards to Corticiasca. Park in this typical Ticino village and proceed on foot following the yellow signs found in the centre of the village that indicate the way up to Monte Bar.
After about an hour walk along an easy trail through meadows and woods – with stunning views over the gulf of Lugano, the various ramifications of Lake Ceresio and Val Colla dominated by the jagged peaks of the Denti della Vecchia (limestone columns that resemble teeth stumps) – you will reach Alpe Musgatina, where a herd of Scottish cattle grazes.
Their owner, Guido Leutenegger, offers to who is interested the option of buying a head of cattle. In return they receive a certain quantity of its meat every year. Using a GPS system, investors can also monitor daily details concerning the cow purchased on the slopes of Monte Bar.
From Alpe Musgatina, continue onwards towards the hut of Mount Bar, which can be reached in about half an hour. There you can taste excellent local dishes. Another 30-minute walk and you will reach the top where an amazing 360-degree-view can be enjoyed. Looking west you will discover a new panorama that stretches from the Vedeggio valley in the foreground to Monte Tamaro and Monte Lema, subsequently fading into the Valais and Bernese Alps and ending with the Monte Rosa massif. To the east, you can admire another breathtaking view over the Val Colla valley, dominated by the peaks of the Denti della Vecchia, and glimpse the Rhaetian Alps in the distance. To the south, the view embraces the Lugano-area with the Origlio and Muzzano lakes and the various ramifications of Lake Ceresio, gradually fading towards Milan and the airport of Malpensa, as far as the Apennines.
We suggest you to follow the same route on the way back.
Probably the nicest Trail Running in Europe, it takes place in the area of Monte Bar, during the month of June. The event gathers 1600 competitors, coming from more than 30 countries and running in different categories. The path runs on the ridges of the region, with 3800 meters of difference in height, offering a breathtaking view. In 2015 and in 2016 Scenic Trail received the "Swiss Ultra Trail Awards" as best Trail Running race Switzerland.
The Val Colla Valley
This valley is considered the green lung of Greater Lugano, which originated from a merging-process of different municipalities and was finalized with a referendum on November 20, 2011. The valley offers a natural setting with forests of beech, birch, spruce, chestnut and larch, rich with pastures where farmers used to bring their cattle to graze during the summer months. During the winter months, however, many of them left the valley and travelled far and wide in the Ticino, Lombardy and Piedmont regions as "tinkerers", repairing pots and utensils of all kinds, especially those made from copper. The carriage road was built in the mid-nineteenth century. The river Cassarate flows through Val Colla, boasting a current population of approximately 600 people, and runs through the city of Lugano before flowing into Lake Ceresio.
The Last Supper of Ponte Capriasca
To art lovers who decide to tackle the slopes of Monte Bar, we recommend a short detour to Ponte Capriasca, a village located just a few minutes drive from Corticiasca, the starting point of the walk to Monte Bar. As you reach this point follow the signs to Tesserete and later those for Ponte Capriasca. The church of S. Ambrogio in Ponte Capriasca hosts a beautiful copy of the famous "Last Supper" painted towards the end of fifteenth century by Leonardo da Vinci in the refectory of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. The huge, beautifully crafted reproduction, measuring 5.59 x 3.61 meters, was painted at the beginning of the sixteenth century by an unknown painter. As in Leonardo’s original masterpiece, the characters are depicted in a revolutionary way, following the school of the Master, who expressed the emotions and moods of his charachters through the representation of their attitudes.
The painting of Ponte Capriasca has recently been restored and is in excellent condition. This work testifies the deep bond that existed in the Renaissance period between the Ticino area and the artistic culture of Milan.