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San Lucio in Val Cavargna

Tour around Monte Garzirola


From Buggiolo in Val Rezzo you ascend the dirt road to the church of San Lucio, located on the border crossing between Val Colla (Switzerland) and Val Cavargna (Italy) at an altitude of 1542 m. You can enjoy splendid views of the Alpi Lepontine, Val Cavargna, Val Colla and the Alps. Close to the church you find the San Lucio refuge, a former barracks of the Guardia di Finanza, where you can get refreshments. The itineray continues to  Alpe di Talbano, an alpine farm where during the summer months excellent cheese is made.  From here the dirt track continues into the Valle Segur. Before you reach the head of the valley, a trail leads in the direction of the Garzirola refuge alt. 1974 m that stands slightly below the top of Monte Garzirola. You descend along the grassy ridge of Mount Garzirola in order to  return to the San Lucio Refuge.


Approach by car: from Menaggio follow the main road 340 in the direction  of Lugano as far as Porlezza. At the traffic light turn right in the direction of Val Rezzo. When you reach the town Corrido 451 m, at the crossing, go straight on in the direction of  Val Rezzo. You follow the narrow road to the village Buggiolo 1044 m where, at the beginning of the village,  you turn right in the direction of Cavargna / passo della Cava pass. After 500 m you arrive at the Monti di Dasio 1100 m, where you park the car near the former Guardia di Finanza barracks.

Route: At Buggiolo loc. Dasio leave the road and, on the left, enter the track (trail sign for rifugio  Garzirola) Climb up the ridge (the first 800 m you have to deal with a steep ascent) that separates Val Rezzo from Val Cavargna.  After 1,5 km you reach a small chapel called “Madonna del Cepp” from where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Val Rezzo (fountain – picnic area). Continue along the track that here follows a short section of the 4 Valley Trail. After 500 m at the fork this trail continues to the right to Coloné, you go straight on.
At the next junction, turn right (on the left, the track leads to L’Alpe Colmine) and in a short time you reach the San Lucio Pass (alt. 1541 m).
From the pass, follow the dirt track that after 1.8 km arrives at Alpe Tabano (alt.1669 m). Follow it around the Val Tabano and the enter the Val Segur. Just before arriving at the Alpe Segur at 1.7 km from Alpe Tabano, leave the dirt road and take the path to the left that goes uphill and passes slightly below the Garzirola refuge alt. 1974 m that stands on the slopes of the homonymous peak. Follow the grassy ridge back to the church of San Lucio. Return to Buggiolo the same way you came.

Notes: The fifteenth-century oratory of San Lucio has always been a cultural reference point for the people of both sides of the pass. Inside there are paintings ranging from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century and a wooden statue of the fifteenth century depicting the saint, patron of herdsmen and cheesemakers. The nearby San Lucio shelter was a former Guardia di Finanza barracks in operation since 1903; the military guarded the border, barred by a long metal fence called ramina, to identify any smuggling actions. This activity consisted in smuggling the border with various goods such as cigarettes, in order to avoid customs duties. In the Val Cavargna area, both for its geographical position and for the fact that in the past the villagers led a hard life of deprivation, smuggling was the protagonist of the local reality. The detachment of San Lucio was suppressed in the 60s, the barracks, abandoned, went into degradation, but in 1999 work began to be used as a shelter.

Directions & Parking

Map directions →


Parking possibility just above the town Buggiollo at the locality Dasio.