Como lake best kept secret: the Bellano ravine (Orrido di Bellano)

Discover the Bellano ravine, one of the most mysterious and fascinating places that lake of Como can offer, just a foot step away from Varenna and Bellagio

The Bellano ravine (Orrido di Bellano), near Varenna

The Bellano ravine (orrido di Bellano) is a breathtaking natural wonder, just a footstep away from Varenna. Surprisingly, very few travelers visit it, which is another good reason to visit it. Starting from Varenna Station, you won’t need more than a couple of hours to complete your visit.

What is the Bellano ravine

The Bellano ravine is a natural canyon, formed in 15 million years by the waters of the Pioverana stream, which due to erosion, has dug a deep gorge between Taceno, Valsassina and Bellano. The peculiarity of the Bellano Ravine consists in the possibility of traversing a stretch inside the gorge, walking on catwalks fixed in the rock, in deafening meanders that overlook dizzying precipices.

The Bellano ravine (Orrido di Bellano), near Varenna

The route is very impressive, between waterfalls and natural caves, breathtaking views and rich vegetation, the sun is reflected in the ravines, creating incredible light effects. This makes the Orrodo di Bellano a natural wonder you shouldn’t miss when visiting Como lake.

The Bellano ravine (Orrido di Bellano), near Varenna

The legend tells of a warrior named Taino, who local imagination wants buried right in the depths of the Orrido di Bellano, along with his immense treasure, guarded by a huge stone that covers the burial.

The power of the waters in the past centuries was used for the processing of iron and leather tanning. Today the power of the waterfall is used to power two hydroelectric power plants.

To guard the Bellano Ravine, on a rock of the Pioverana river, rises the Casa del Diavol. It’s a curious tower whose origin or function is unknown, the irregular hexagon tower rises on four floors connected by a spiral staircase. It is said that inside there were licentious festivals accompanied by satanic rites and evocation of the evil one. His name is linked to mythological figures, including a satyr, which decorate the facade of the last floor of the tower.

The Bellano ravine (Orrido di Bellano), near Varenna

Here is the complete photo gallery:

How to get to Bellano ravine

Getting to Orrido di Bellano is really easy: you just take the local train to Tirano and get down at the first stop after Varenna. Getting out of the station, walk right and cross the bridge over the Pioverana river. After a few minutes you will get to the church of the Santissimi Nazaro e Celso (a building built around 1300) and a cobblestone path on your right will get you to the entrance gate of the Orrido di Bellano, where the ticket office is located.

If you are coming by car, the Orrido di Bellano can be reached along the road that leads to the church Santissimi Nazaro e Celso. Here you leave your car in a parking area (paying) and then proceed to the ticket office.

When to visit Bellano ravine

Orrido di Bellano opening Hours:

  • January, February, December and November: opened only holidays and days before from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • March: opened only holidays and days before from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • April and May: opened only holidays and days before from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm; weekdays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
  • June and September:  Open every day from 10:00 to 19:00
  • July and August: opened every day from 10.00 to 22.00
  • October: opened holidays and days before 10:00 am to 7:00 pm and weekdays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Entrance fees:

  • Full admission: € 4.00
  • Boys (up to 12 years): € 3.50
  • Groups over 25 components: Euro 3.00 each
  • Children up to 5 years: free admission

When you are done with your Bellano Ravine exploration, you can continue your visit Bellagio and to Como lake, read my post: day trip to Como and Bellagio from Milan.

Varenna view from the lake

By the way, don’t forget to recharge your batteries by enjoying a portion of Pizzoccheri, the Valtellina traditional pasta. You can only find it here!

Delicious Pizzoccheri, a Valtellina traditional dish

If you are looking for a place to stay in Varenna, which is an ideal location to explore Bellagio and Como Lake, I would recommend the Hotel Olivedo. It’s right on the lake shore, and offers delightful rooms with amazing lake views. It’s just opposite the ferry pier and a very close to both the station and the old town.

Enjoy your visit to the Bellano ravine!

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