Olgiasca and the Abbey of Piona
Cari amici, dear Lake Como friends. Not far away from Colico, driving along the lakeshore towards Lecco, you’ll find the picturesque little town of Olgiasca. It’s on the right side of the street just behind the bay of Piona. Not to moiss the slip road pay attention to the signs.
Olgiasca – narrow streets and many stairs
The narrow, winding main street of the village leads to the piazza at the Hotel Conca Azzura. Here you will find parking facilities, which are not only reserved for hotel guests. The hotel offers comfortable rooms at reasonable prices. Most have a balcony or terrace overlooking the lake.
My tip: definitely take a break and enjoy a delicious cappuccino or espresso doppio macchiato with a piece of the delicious ice cream cake of the Conca Azzura.
A walk through the incredibly narrow streets leading up and down the stairs is a must for photographers.
The path leads past flower-decorated houses, one inside the other and one above the other. New perspectives on the lake and the landscape open up through every gap of the houses and the many archways.
In clear weather you can see Bellagio in the distance.
The way to the Abbey of Piona
From the square in front of the hotel it’s a walk for about a 45 minutes to the Abbey of Piona, which was founded in the 11th century. Take your time for the way, which runs above Lake Como under old trees and leads you in turns to the Abbey of Piona.
Enjoy the flower scent and the ever-changing views of the lake and the west bank. Maybe you will even meet the “Happy Donkeys of Piona”. You can find the whole story about the donkeys in my e-book Comer See Reisehäppchen.
Of course, the abbey can also be reached by car via the same narrow, paved road. Parking is available.
Unfortunately, at the edge of the parking lot, the shady trees were sawn off so that the cars are very exposed to the sun.
If you think driving by car or walking is too difficult on the narrow, bumpy road, you can also visit the abbey with one of the boats on the lake. Departure times are available at the landing stages of the ships.
At the entrance to the monastery garden you will find several signs with the opening hours of the church and the cloister, which are adapted to the monastic daily routine. It is also requested to enter the resort only in suitable clothes (no beach outfit, no shorts). Dogs are allowed in the monastery garden, but not in the church or in the cloister.
Liqueur, Propoplis and cosmetics from Lake Como
Next to the entrance to Abazzia Piona is the monastery shop. The monks produce and sell various liqueurs. The best known is the Gocce Imperiali, which has an appetizing and digestive effect.
Some herbal remedies, such as propolis, mistletoe tea, a very effective plant based rheumatism unction and natural cosmetics are produced in addition.
My tip for all foodies are the incredibly fruity jams originating from the monastery kitchen and also a home-made chestnut cream typically for the Lake Como region.
The monastery shop is open from 9:00 am to noon and from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm.
Abazzia di Piona
Also within the monastery complex several trees were “beheaded” or felled, especially at the grotto of the Virgin Mary. In addition, one has reduced there the seating for the faithful.
I think this is not good for the idyllic and devout atmosphere. Of course, the Abazzia is still worth a visit and anyone who enters this place for the first time will be impressed.
The best seasons to visit Abazzia Piona are spring, late summer or autumn. Especially in the mornings you can enjoy the tranquility of the monastery, the spacious monastery garden and the wonderful architecture of the Roman-Gothic cloister with its frescoes.
Another sight belonging to the abbey is the Roman church from the 16th century, also with medieval frescoes. The original church tower was destroyed by a lightning strike in the 17th century and rebuilt in the 18th century. However, one has kept to the old, traditional construction plans.
The abbey was completely restored at the beginning of this century and has been the property of the Cistercian and Casamari Order since 1930.
The monastery garden
Passing an olive grove, the way leads you to a small grotto, with a decorated altar and a statue of the Virgin Mary. Many believers leave their prayers, intercessions and rosaries here.
In addition, there are various tree species, magnificent camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas and roses in the park-like monastery garden.
Add to that the wonderful view of Lake Como. You can enjoy it with a Gelati from the kiosk in the monastery garden.
You see, cari amici, to visit Abazzia Piona is definitely worthwhile.
Tanti saluti e a presto
Rosa Maria Lamberti