It is my pride and joy to tell you about this amazing hike, and I can assure you that it will charm all of you. We went in late summer, on a wave of enthusiasm: friends of ours had discovered it a few days earlier and were raving about it.
Viona di Fondo (910 meters above sea level), a small hamlet after Brione sopra Minusio, is where the trailhead is located. Once you get to Brione, take a right turn along the main road, and then take the first on the left (it goes uphill, while the road that leads to Contra is the wrong one, and goes downhill).
In Viona you will find some parking spaces by the side of the road and a sign saying Monti di Lego (1 hour).
Hiking to Monti di Lego is an all uphill adventure, along a mountain trail, with a height difference of 200 meters; the trail is rocky and full of roots (so do wear suitable shoes!), and is surrounded by a forest of oak and hazel trees.
Everything went smoothly (despite the fact that the walk is all uphill) because the children kept themselves busy collecting acorns and hazelnuts, which we later used to create a beautiful autumn-themed centerpiece and other little crafts … thanks to this little trick, an hour of walking went by quickly.
After walking about 50 minutes, you will reach a clearing with some traditional stone buildings and a fountain where you can fill your water bottles. Do not give up, you are nearly – and when you will arrive, your hearts will fill with awe and wonder! After the clearing, it is back to the forest for 10 more minutes uphill; as you leave the forest, you will find a large pasture with breathtaking views over Lake Maggiore and the Verzasca Valley. Congratulations! You have reached Monti di Lego (1150 meters above sea level)!
This soft green grass pasture is home to a delightful little pond full of tiny animals (frogs, fish, dragonflies, etc.) which your little hikers will love.
The mountain hut Grotto Monti di Lego
There is also a mountain hut/tavern called Capanna Grotto Monti di Lego,it is an old stone building with a stone roof, which used to be a stable. It is open daily from the beginning of April to the end of October. In case of bad weather call ahead: 091 745 41 71 or 079 384 76 58. You can sample local dishes and specialties such as minestrone, salami, cheese, stew, and so on – and you can stay overnight, too – of you want.
We had brought sandwiches and therefore opted for a picnic, which we ate on a comfortable “lake view” bench. After lunch, the kids had fun climbing (barefoot) some boulders, whereas my husband laid down in the shadow of a small church on nearby a hill and relaxed. We all loved the stillness of this place, and its perfumes and smells.
When it was time to go home, the kids made us promise to come back the following year and our eldest daughter declared: “I would love to live here, and play every day in this pasture and on these rocks, even if I had to climb up the mountain every day, coming home from school!! “… She really fell in love with this place, and so did we.
I highly recommend this hike to anyone who wants to spend a day outdoor, surrounded by nature. The trail, though uphill, is not difficult and the pasture offers amazing and has a calming effect.