Rasa is a hamlet on the edge of the city of Varese and can be easily found by following the SP 62 (provincial road) to Brinzio. The heart of this quiet, picturesque village on the western slopes of Mount Chiusarella is very old with the ancient Church of San Gottardo and the parish church of Santa Maria degli Angeli that are well worth a visit, as is the “Stagno della Tagliata”, a pond recognised locally as a natural monument.
The No. 6 trail starts near the centre of Rasa where Via delle Sorgenti meets the provincial road. There is a large square on the right-hand side of the road about twenty yards from the junction where you can easily find space to park.
Follow Via delle Sorgenti until you reach the small, quiet village of Molino. Here, on the right, you will see a house that was an inn known as “Crotto del Mulino” or “dul Pep” many years ago where previous generations came to enjoy the welcoming atmosphere and cool rooms in the summer as they sipped the local wine and played cards.
We turn left on the mule track out of Molino and we head off up a steep trail after about a hundred yards. On the right is another trail that goes up the valley, known as Val Sesnivi. Once past the Sorgenti area the trail starts to climb sharply, first taking us over a promontory covered with birch trees and then past the typical white calcareous rocks until we meet the trail from the fifth chapel on the left. This trail continues to the right along a rugged yet picturesque route, where care should be taken as the slopes are steep, below the rocky crags of Pizzelle, towards the Legnone Valley and then the Varrò pass.
After the steep climb the trail has a gentler slope through small valleys and coppiced woodland until we reach the village of Costabella. The end of the trail takes you to Piazzale Pogliaghi, an excellent viewing point for admiring the Rasa Valley, Monte Martica and the alpine foothills in Lombardy. Piazzale Pogliaghi also has a large car park and stops for public transport.
A couple of hundred yards from Piazzale Pogliaghi, where the No. 6 trail ends, is the village of Santa Maria del Monte, where we can visit the famous Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin and the neighbouring Convent of the Romite Ambrosiane Nuns (a secluded order of Ambrosian nuns), which were both built in the fifteenth century. Next to the sanctuary and convent are the Baroffio Museum and the Pogliaghi Museum, which are packed with art, history and archaeological finds, and the Ceppo spring, which is a natural monument.