Distance: 23 km • Time: 2 hours • Medium difficulty
The trail starts in Reno road in Cerro di Laveno, an elegant residential area, with little traffic, from which we can reach the Ceramics Museum, a notable collection of artifacts of great artistic and historical value housed inside the sixteenth-century Perabò Palace.
We now cycle for a few kilometers on the SP69 (Via Fortino), skirting the banks of the Verbano and enjoying views over the Piedmontese shore of the lake. In Laveno we should stop for a short break and a leisurely stroll along the lake or, if we prefer, in the well-tended old center, with its elegant shops and cafés.
Back to our bikes, we take Via Labiena, in the direction of Varese, pedaling towards the countryside, with mountainsides flanking the road, where the green woods seem ready to take over at every curve. Soon, we come to the village of Gemonio for our next stop, the Romanesque Church of San Pietro. Returning, for a short stretch, on Via Verdi, in the direction of Laveno, we find the sign for Caravate. This is a very pleasant stretch, with leisurely ups-and-downs along the streets of Caravate and, later, of Sangiano. Here, in front of the City Hall, we can decide whether to take a right turn in the direction of the "Picuz Balcony". If we decide to take a detour, we will face a very tough 3-kilometer uphill stretch on a paved road. The route is quite hard, as said, but we can stop here and there to take a breath, and will surely deem all our efforts worthwhile once faced with the magnificent vista from the "balcony", giving onto the valley below, Lake Maggiore and Lake Varese.
Taking extreme care to make our way back along the steep descent, we return to Via Mazzini in the direction of Mombello. After a few hundred meters we turn left, cross the train tracks and make our way towards Lake Maggiore, which we reach after a last, short uphill stretch leading to Leggiuno and then to the village of Reno. Crossing Via Verbano (which then turns into Via Reno), we turn right and take a pleasant downhill road to the shores of the lake and, finally, back to our hotel.