Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Hike Between San Pellegrino Terme (Ruspino) and Bracca

Left: Hiking route from San Pellegrino to Pizzo di Spino and Bracca. Right: On the spine of the hill near Pizzo di Spino, view north of the Bergamasque Prealps.
Hiking route from San Pellegrino to Pizzo di Spino and BraccaOn the spine of the hill near Pizzo di Spino, view north of the Bergamasque Prealps.

Hike Notes

Length: 16.5 km (10.3 miles)
Duration: 6 hours walking time, plus 2 hours for lunch
Elevation: total gain 1.558 m (5,112 ft), min 345 m (1,132 ft), max 987 m (3238 ft)
Location: Italy, Lombardia, Bergamo, Val Seriana

Overview

This hike was born by us flipping through the Osteria d'Italia book and observing that in Bracca (BG) there is the recommended Trattoria Dentella. At that point, it was then a matter of finding a route there so we could work up our appetites. After a little poking around on the very useful CAI Bergamo site, we figured that Sentiero 594 circuit route would do the trick, with a little side trip on Sentiero 597.
Aside: We use the Bergamo Trasporti site to figure out bus routes and times to and from Bergamo. The trick to using the site is to find the names of key bus stops in the town you are interested in, and then make sure you select that as your destination. For example, on Google Maps, if you zoom in far enough you'll see bus station icons. Clicking a bus station icon shows the name of the bus stop. That name will be useful when using the Bergamo Trasporti site.
Sentiero 594 is a loop trail with two ends of the trail based in Ruspino (just south of San Pellegrino). We went counter-clockwise on the trail, heading south to Pizzo di Spino and then turning north again toward Bracca.

On the first 1/5 of the trail you hear the noise of the San Pellegrino bottling plant. You don't escape that noise until you hit Sottoripa (area under Pizzo Spino). The trail to Pizzo di Spino (last 200-300 m) was pretty steep. I was glad we were climbing and not descending. You can avoid that bit of trail by talking Sentiero 594A (alternative) toward Pregaroldi.

The best part of the trail is walking from Pizzo di Spino north along Sentiero 594. To me, it's the essence of the hill walks around Bergamo. You walk on a spine with great views down into adjacent valleys.

Bracca


Left: Information board showing different hiking routes around Bracca including CAI (red) and local (yellow) trails. Center: Bracca church.  Right: View as Sentiero 597 descends into Bracca.
Information board showing different hiking routes around Bracca including CAI (red) and local (yellow) trails. Bracca church.View as Sentiero 597 descends into Bracca.

Several dishes at Trattoria Dentella (Bracca) with local black truffle that we tried.  Left: Risotto. Center: Tagliatelle fresca con tartufo nero. Right: Uovo al tegamino con grattata di tartufo nero con polenta
Trattoria Dentella: Risotto with local tartufo nero.Trattoria Dentella: Tagliatelle fresca con tartufo nero.Trattoria Dentella: Uovo al tegamino con grattata di tartufo nero con polenta.

Flora and Fauna


Left: Astrantia major. Center: Centaurea uniflora. Right: Gentianella sp.
Astrantia majorCentaurea unifloraGentianella sp.

Left: Crocus sp. Center: Ruscus aculeatus, Pungitoppo. Right: Salvia glutinosa
Crocus sp.Ruscus aculeatus, PungitoppoSalvia glutinosa

Different leaf patterns. Left: Hepatica nobilis leaves. Center: Cyclamen leaves. Right: Pulmonaria leaves.
Hepatica nobilis leavesCyclamen leavesPulmonaria leaves

Left: A roccolo above Bracca. Right: A bird cage with live birds.
A roccolo above BraccaA bird cage with live birds

A praying mantis eating lunch. Uh, oh, looks like it was another mantis.
A praying mantis eating lunch. Uh, oh, looks like it was another mantis.A praying mantis eating lunch. Uh, oh, looks like it was another mantis.

Views of the Trail


Left: Start of the trail (furthest south) is under SS470. Center: Start of walk in the shadow of the hill. Right: Finally some sun as we reach Sottoripa.
Start of the trail (furthest south) is under SS470.Start of walk in the shadow of the hill.Finally some sun as we reach Sottoripa.

Left: Sentiero 594 just under Pizzo di Spino. Center: The last scramble up on to Pizzo di Spino. Below view of Val Brembana (San Pellegrino). Right: Rock with painted trail indication at Pizzo di Spino.
Sentiero 594 just under Pizzo di Spino.The last scramble up on to Pizzo di Spino. Below view of Val Brembana (San Pellegrino). Rock with painted trail indication at Pizzo di Spino.

Left: Walking north from Pizzo di Spino. Center: Descending Sentiero 594 toward San Pellegrino. Right: Sign at intersection of trails 594 and 597.
Walking north from Pizzo di Spino.Descending Sentiero 594 toward San Pellegrino.Sign at intersection of trails 594 and 597.

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