A place exists in the Alps where you can treat yourself to a holiday that is both enchanting and regenerating : the Valle dei Laghi located between the Laghi Gemelli - Cancano and of Barbellino. This is magical "triangle" of one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in Italy that is found in Lombardy and offers breathtaking landscapes and atmospheres in every season.
A Vacation in the midst of nature in the Valle dei Laghi
Did you know that the Italian Alpine lakes are the most numerous in southern and Mediterranean Europe? It is difficult to escape their natural charm as they are all different from one another and located in accessible places - more or less - which will surely take your breath away.
Most of the Alpine lakes are in fact hidden amongst snow-capped cliffs and difficult to reach peaks. The imposing beauty of the Alps located in Lombardy are the so-called Valle dei Laghi. It is a place where you can treat yourself to an unforgettable trekking experience to explore one of the most beautiful alpine lakes found in Italy.
These so-called sky mirrors in the Valle dei Laghi are often fed by invisible springs. Therefore, the imagination of tge tourists and within the local communities in the Alpine villages tends to associate their origins with mysterious myths and legends.
Mirror in the Laghi Gemelli
The Laghi Gemelli are located in the Brembana Valley which is in the province of Bergamo. Specifically, they are located in the municipality of Branzi. Despite the name, theLaghi Gemelli were brought together in a single basin following the formation of a dam. Before the construction date in 1932, the two ponds were much smaller in size and when seen from above, they seemed to mirror one another.
Among all of the Alpine lakes in this area, the Laghi Gemelli can be reached by different access routes which start from the neighboring municipalities and flow into the Rifugio Laghi Gemelli. This point is the rest area and refreshment spot for all visiting hikers.
The legend of the Laghi Gemelli
Often, with regard to the formation of Alpine lakes, there are numerous fantastic tales and legends related to local folk traditions and to the history of the territory.
According to the legend, the lakes were born from the tragic goodbye of two lovers: a young woman that belonged to a rich family of Branzi and a simple shepherd from Val Taleggio. Their love was opposed by the girl's father and resulted in a sloppy escape which caused them to end up lifeless in a clearing where the two basins opened. In the center , near their bodies, two water springs began to gush. Hence: the Laghi Gemelli.
Taking a Trip to the Cancano Lakes
In the Valle dei Laghi in Lombardy, you will find another two other spectacular reservoirs. Like many other Alpine lakes, they are also the result of the creation of an artificial dam.
The Cancano Lakes which are fed by the waters of the Adda River are immersed in the Stelvio National Park and are located not too far from Bormio and Valdidentro. These are two well-known tourist resorts located in Valtellina. If you decide to spend your vacation on the shores of these lakes, you will indulge in a wonderful experience of nature-tourism without renouncing to the typical products and delicacies offered by one of the most famous valleys in Italy also known for its gastronomy.
The construction of the Cancano dam was completed in 1956 and it combined the two original reservoirs in order to obtain a capacity of over 187 million cubic meters: today the Cancano Lakes represent an exceptional environment which puts every visitor in direct contact with nature and offers the possibility of trekking and mountain bike excursions immersed in the lush surrounding woods.
There are several paths that can be followed by hikers to explore the Cancano Lakes: you can start from the Towers of Fraele which are two medieval towers in Valdidentro; you can walk along the N197 mule track and go up to the Croce of Monte Scale which offers a panoramic view over the entire Valle dei Laghi; or you can start from the San Giacomo dam and follow Val Alpisella along the N138 and N138.1 paths until you reach the Adda and Livigno springs.
For those who want to venture the Cancano Lakes using a more difficult route there is a path to follow that is 10 kilometers of dirt road and cuts through the woods along the Decauville and the Laghetto delle Scale. This path also leads to the Adda springs and has some steep hairpin twist and turns which true trekking enthusiasts will particularly love.
In the basin of the Laghi del Barbellino
Among the most evocative Alpine Lakes in the Valle dei Laghi there are certainly the Laghi del Barbellino located in the Upper Val Seriana at the foot of the Orobie chain, with the characteristic rocky pinnacles of Pizzo di Coca, Recastello, Monte Gleno and Pizzo Torena.
It is here that five Alpine Lakes are grouped together that are both artificial and natural: two of these are the Laghi del Barbellino which are located near two shelters.
To reach them, you must start from the Case Grumetti di Valbondione and from that town, yo must continue along the entire valley up to the end of the paved road where you will find parking. Here you can leave your car and continue on foot or by bicycle. The path leads through steep woods and leads to the dirt road which is marked as CAI 305. This leads to the rocks below the old Rifugio Curò which is located right at the mouth of the valley and houses one of the two Laghi del Barbellino.
From this point on, the road becomes a mule track - CAI 308 - which runs at a high altitude on the right side of the large water basin. It passes under an iron bridge that is suspended over a stream and continues side by side with the lake until the end. Here you will come across the bubbly Serio torrent which is rich with waterfalls, natural pools, eddies of water and rocky meanders where you can make a pit stop and take beautiful photos; finally, you will reach the second of the two Laghi del Barbellino - the higher one - with its respective refuge set at an altitude of 2150 meters.
What to eat in the refuges of the Alpine Lakes
After having traveled these journeys, you will arrive at the shelters famished. These pitstops have been given the name “refuges of taste”, and rightfully so!
In the Valle dei Laghi there is really so much to choose from, and so many things to taste. The food in Lombardy, as well as the wine tradition were born in the simplest environments and is still alive and present today on the tables in these shelters.
Among the delicacies, you will find locally produced cheeses, main courses consisting of meat, soups, caloric first dishes and irresistible desserts prepared with healthy ingredients. Let's not neglect the fine Lombard wines which are the soul of the entire region and release the flavors and aromas of the Valle dei Laghi. There are also many ievents and tastings to attend which are organized to bring everyone closer to the simple yet excellent flavors of this area.
There are raw materials produced in harmony with natural, fresh and genuine food. The recipes prepared with care and passion fully respecting the typical cuisine that makes the Alpine lakes feel like home for all who visit.
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