Lake Como – hiking itinerary in Valle Albano Park: Giovo, Marmontan, Cugn peak, S. Jorio, Giovo

Lake Como – hiking itinerary in Valle Albano Park: Giovo passage – Mount Marmontana – Cugn peak Refuge – S.Jorio passage – Giovo


  • Total length: 8.5 km (round trip )
  • Hiking time: 3.15 h
  • Starting altitude:  1706 m
  • Arrival altitude: 2316 m
  • Elevation gain: 677 m
  • Descent: 18 m
  • Difficulty: High – path with some exposed and challenging sides and a significant vertical drop.


Lake Como - Italy hiking itinerary - panoramic view path through S.Jorio passage

Lake Como – Italy – panoramic view from the path per S.Jorio passage by Carlo Morelli

Longer description

The itinerary departs from the Passo del Giovo pass (1706m), where there is a water fountain.
The first stretch of the route goes along the dirt carriage road, closed to road traffic, which climbs up the western side of the Liro valley until it reaches the San Jorio shelter.
The ascent is quite easy and you can reach the shelter within around 50 minutes. Along the route you can see the signposts signalling the border of the Valle Albano park, put in place as part of the “Confini didattici” [Educational Borders] project, which provide information about the park and some naturalistic facts about the protected area.

Once you have reached the San Jorio shelter (operated during the summer – water available) you must take the wide path that starts on the right hand side. Shortly after, at a fork in the path, keep to the right (the path that forks off to the left leads to the Passo San Jorio pass). The path becomes a track that gradually ascends up the southern side of the Cima di Cugn and Marmontana mountain.

When you reach a summit (around 20 minutes from the San Jorio shelter) marked by a “cairn” signpost (a small pile of stones), the track becomes less clear and runs down through a hardened scree to a ridge that descends from the Marmontana mountain. From this point the hike becomes more challenging as you must climb the ridge, which is crisscrossed by multiple tracks thanks to the passage of grazing animals, in order to reach the eastern peak of the Marmontana mountain (about 40 minutes from the San Jorio shelter).

From here, following the ridge path will take you first to the central peak of the Marmontana mountain (2316m) and then to the western peak. The view in itself is worth the effort it takes to reach the summit, stretching from Lake Maggiore to Lake Como, and encompassing both the Swiss Alps (Canton of Ticino and Canton of Grisons) and the Italian Alps.
The path towards the Cima di Cugn mountain proceeds just below the summit on the Italian side (large stretches of the Swiss side are almost vertical rock faces) on an inconspicuous track, which will lead you to the summit that separates the two peaks. From here, you can either go straight up to the Cima di Cugn mountain or continue along a flat stretch to the Cima di Cugn shelter or “Capanna delle Aquile” (2185m – former barracks of the Guardia di Finanza that were recently restored by the Cermenate CAI [Italian Alpine Club] – unmanaged). The route from the Marmontana mountain to the shelter takes around 30 minutes on foot.

If you climb up the summit that overlooks the shelter you can reach the Swiss side within a few minutes. Here you will find another now abandoned shelter, which was the counterpart to the one on the Italian side during the “smuggling” era.
From the “Capanna delle Aquile” shelter you can go back down to San Jorio by following a track. After around 20 minutes this track re-joins the path you took on the way there to reach the Marmontana mountain. From this point, you will reach the Passo San Jorio pass (2012m) after a further 10 minutes.

For the descent you can go back from the Passo San Jorio pass to the small church of San Jorio, and from there go down along the track that runs along the ridge that divides the Valle Albano and Valle del Liro valleys. You will reach the Passo del Giovo pass in around 35 minutes. Alternatively, you can retrace the route you took on your outward journey, reaching the San Jorio shelter then following the dirt road you took on the way up.

Hiking itinerary - view from Cugn Peak on Morobbia Valley and Lake Maggiore

Hiking itinerary – view from Cugn Peak on Morobbia Valley and Lake Maggiore

Safety first!
The suggested itineraries extend through mountainous surroundings, along trails or paths that are normally traversed by hikers. Each itinerary has been classified according to the complexity of the route, the overall gradient difference and its length in three difficulty levels:
Low: Route suitable for any hiker, without any difficult elevations

Medium: due to length and elevation, itinerary is feasible only for hikers who are in good shape and who have a good level of experience

High: due to length and elevation, itinerary is feasible only for hikers who are in good shape and who have a good level of experience.
However, all itineraries, regardless of the level of difficulty, must only be attempted by people who are used to mountain hiking and with appropriate clothing and equipment.

The itinerary duration is provided for indicative purposes only, and are based on the effective walking time, without rests. These durations may vary significantly depending on each individual’s walking speed.

The itineraries indicate where there are shelters and water sources in the Valle Albano area. However, it must be kept in mind that many shelters may only be accessible on reservation, or may only be open during the summer.
Water supply sources (fountains and drinking troughs) do not work all year round and the quality of drinking water cannot be guaranteed. Hikers are advised to set out on hikes with an adequate water supply.
We cannot guarantee the preservation or accessibility of the routes indicated, nor can we guarantee signposting, where it is present, particularly in relation to weather events or weather conditions that may bring about unforeseeable hazardous conditions or safety risks.

Therefore, those who choose to hike do so at their own risk. In this respect, we recommend that you contact local guides for information and to plan guided excursions.

Stay tuned!

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