Via Regina

Along with Via Spluga and Via Francisca, Via Regina is the third fundamental Lombard historical road of the "Cammini della Regina" (Queen's routes). The Queen's routes connect Switzerland from north to south and northern Europe to Como, that once was a military and commercial pole of the Padana Valley. Currently the route, although partly coinciding with busy roads, preserves historic sections of great value and offers a panoramic view of rare beauty.
Here we'd like to suggest you some particularly interesting stages, of which we have verified accessibility.

Palazzo Gallio in Gravedona (CO)
An ancient cardinal residence founded on the ruins of the ancient castle of the town by Bartolomeo Gallio, a cardinal and secretary of state of the Pope, Palazzo Gallio, with its solid square structure and its four towers, overlooks the imposing northwest bank of Lake Como, offering a splendid view on the opposite side.

In 1580, Cardinal Gallio received by Filippo II the territory of the Tre Pievi di Gravedona, Sorico and Dongo and, probably fascinated by the tranquillity and by the mild climate of the area, decided to build the Palace around 1586, entrusting the project to architect Pellegrino Tibaldi, to which Carlo Borromeo commissioned many churches in the province of Milan.

Today Palazzo Gallio has been included in the list of National Monuments. Cultural events, performances and exhibitions take place in its halls. On the right side of the Palace there was a garden that has been mentioned since 1500 for its rare essences. The existing one is characterized by the presence of numerous camellia trees. Every year, the week before Easter, Palazzo Gallio and its garden host the "Mostra delle Camelie".

Here you can find information on the accessibility of Palazzo Gallio.


Church and convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Gravedona
Founded in 1467 where the early Christian oratory of S. Salvatore was, the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie and the Augustinian convent are an important testimony of monastic spirituality and of the Lombard art of 1500.

The church, according to a widespread model in the area, is a single nave church, with transverse arches that mark the space, walls divided into sections and designed by niches delimiting the chapels. It's particularly important for the vast cycle of sixteenth-century frescoes that almost entirely covers it. At this link you can find a detailed description of the church. The inlays of the wooden altar are also very beautiful and, on the outside, the two sculpted marble Renaissance portals are really remarkable.

The convent, now used as a library, became a reference point for the monastic life starting from the end of the fifteenth century to the first decades of the sixteenth century,  as it happened to the Benedictine covent in Piona.

Santuario della Madonna della Pace in Menaggio (CO)
Continuing along the lake to the south, you reach the pretty village of Menaggio, on a small promontory overlooking the lake. In the upper part of the town, in a dominant position, there is the polygonal Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Pace, built in 1658 as a votive offering for the "Peace of the Pyrenees", which sanctioned the end of the war between France and Spain. The centrical layout building is preceded by a portico. From the Sanctuary you have a wonderful view of the lake.
Here you can find information on accessibility.

Sacred Mountain of Ossuccio (CO)
From Menaggio, driving south for about 10 km, you reach Ossuccio, that can be easily recognized, especially from the lake, for its peculiar bell tower of the Romanesque church of Santa Maria Maddalena, which presents a "spire" in brick, Gothic in style, built over the old Romanesque bell tower in stone as his belfry.

The path of the Sacred Mountain of the Blessed Virgin starts from the village: it is a devotional road built in the seventeenth century, a steep slope of about a kilometre, which leads to the Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine del Soccorso. The Sanctuary can also be reached by car from Ossuccio and there is a parking area in Piazza Papa Giovanni XXIII, near the 4th Chapel. In addition, elderly persons or persons with motor disabilities can continue driving by asking, at least 48 hours in advance, for the barrier to be opened.
Here you can find information on the accessibility of the Sacred Mountain of Ossuccio.
In 2003, the path has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The fourteen chapels you meet while walking the path house more than two hundred terracotta sculptures, mostly life-size, and numerous valuable frescoes and, at the end, you reach the Sanctuary.

Chiesa di Sant’Agata in Moltrasio (CO)
Going along the lake towards Como, the church of Sant'Agata in Moltrasio, in the hamlet of Vignola, is worth a visit: built in the eleventh century along the path of the Via Regina, and then expanded probably during the fourteenth century, it is an authentic architectural Lombard-Romanesque gem. The walls are in Moltrasina stone, the typical stone of this area, and on the external wall towards the mountain is still visible, although very deteriorated, a Renaissance fresco with the Martyrdom of St. Agatha, near a big St. Sebastian of the late Gothic age. The bell tower is very beautiful, with its single and double lancet windows and the striking interior, with frescoes of different periods, all probably made some centuries after the construction of the church.
In the seventeenth century, when the town was hit by the plague that decimated the population, the church was used as a lazaretto.
Here you can find information on accessibility.

Basilica di Sant’Abbondio in Como
The via Regina ends in Como, at the Basilica of Sant'Abbondio, an example of Romanesque monument in Como that was built outside the city walls, under Monte Croce. Historically, this area  was dedicated to worship, as evidenced by the presence of some Roman necropolis and, from the fifth century, of the church of Saints Cosmas and Damian and of the Basilica Apostolorum. In 1010, bishop Alberico founded a community of Benedictine monks near the basilica, who began to rebuild the church in the current Romanesque forms. Today the monastery houses the Faculty of Jurisprudence of the University of Insubria.
Here you can find information on accessibility.

Once in Como, we suggest taking a walk on its pedestrian promenade and visit its main places of interest, including the Cathedral, the Basilica of San Fedele, the Voltian temple and, outside the city centre, Villa Olmo and the Museo didattico della seta. In this article  you can find information of the previously mentioned places and information on accessibility.

Before leaving
At this link you can find a short presentation of the entire route. A detailed guide of the route, with maps and photographs, can be downloaded here
Furthermore, on the website dedicated to the Queen's Paths, you can find more detailed information.
The steps that we have suggested can also be reached by ferry with the lake navigation service.

27/09/2018