The church of San Martino is located at an altitude of 475 m on the steep slopes of Sasso S. Martino above the village Griante. An easy path leads to the church from where you have one of the most beautiful views of the central part of Lake Como.
This walk starts from the ferry boat dock at Cadenabbia in front of the English Church.
Since the end of the 18th century, Griante has been one of British tourists’ favorite holiday resorts. Infact many settled here andfounded a community soimportant that an Anglican Church was built, consecrated in 1891, the first in Italy. Cross the main road and pick up the little street on the right side of the Hotel Britannia and continue along the flight of steps (via Mazzini) which lead to the paved road. Cross it and continue along via Franzani that ends in via Tommaso Grossi where you turn right.
You pass in front of the parish church dedicated to SS. Nabore and Felice that was built at the beginning of the 18th century on the site of anancient temple. Slightly further on the left side ofthe street stands the house where Achille Ratti, a former Pope and well know alpinist, often spent his holidays. One of his favorite walks was the one to S. Martino.
You then enter the historical centre where it is nice to wander through the little alley ways to admire the beautiful palazzi of the 16th and 17th century. Most of these palazzi were built by influent local families, who made their fortune as merchants in the Northern part of Europe. Just outside the historic centre you pass the little church of St. Rocco and at the end of via San Martino you find the beginning of the walk to the San Martino church. Along the cobblestone path, there are several small chapels decorated with mosaics representing episodes of Christ’slife.
Half-way up you will find the “Cappella degli Alpini” dedicated to S. Carlo. Above the altar there is a painting dedicated to the saint, the other paintings represent the Alpine troops during the war painted by the painter Azzimonti of Menaggio. The church of San Martino was built in the 16th century and became a venerated sanctuary after the discovery of a 15th century wooden statue of the Lady with the Child. According to a local legend, the statue was discovered in the 17th century by a young girl in a cave of the mountain. The statue was probably set there by a man from Menaggio about a hundred years before, when Menaggio was invaded by the Swiss, who used to destroy all the statues of the Saints.
When the inhabitants of Griante heard the notice of the finding, they brought the statue to the parish Church of SS. Nabore and Felice, but it miraculously disappeared and was later found again on the mountain called Sasso San Martino. This fact was interpreted as the Lady’s wish to be adored on the mountains, so a niche was built andthen, later, today’s church.
Directions & Parking
Parking in front of the Lido of Cadenabbia or near the ferry dock.
By public transport
To and from Cadenabbia with bus line C10 or by ferry.