Ganna – Ghirla – Marchirolo – Lavena Ponte Tresa
Starting from the Abbey of San Gemolo in Ganna, which is well worth a visit, take Via Gariboldi (opposite the abbey). Further on this becomes the bike path, goes into the woods and runs along the side of Lake Ghirla, which is on your right-hand side. At the junction after the campsite, follow the road up a short climb and then descend to the well-preserved forge in Ghirla, which used to use the force of the water in the River Margorabbia to help make agricultural equipment and shoes for horses. The forge is now a tourist information centre for Strada dei Sapori delle Valli Varesine (the Varese Valleys’ Route of Flavours) and has a selection of local products for visitors to taste and buy. Next cross the provincial road that links Ghirla to Cunardo, and follow the road towards Cugliate; this shady road climbs slightly and is open to traffic. Pass the cemetery on the left, head towards the traffic lights and then go straight over. Pass Marchirolo church on the left and follow the signs for the bike path down into Ponte Tresa. From here the bike path follows the route of the old tramline that used to link Ponte Tresa to Marchirolo, which was working until the 1950s. The descent is straightforward although there is a short steep stretch but only for a few dozen yards. The next section of the ride is one of the best parts as it takes you into Argentera Park which is always nice and cool, even in the summer. The bike path takes you through a few tunnels and then ends as you pass by the Carabinieri station and the town hall before reaching the lakefront at Ponte Tresa. If you turn right, you get to the strait of Lavena which separates Italy from Switzerland by not many yards. If you turn left, you find yourself in Ponte Tresa with its exciting choice of shops.
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