Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Exploring Monte Poieto, Cornagera, and the Buco della Carolina

Overview ~ Thoughts ~ Flora ~ Photos

Monte Cornagera - madonnina watching over the valley 2 Approaching Cornagera from below
Buco della Carolina in the Cornagera Monte Cornagera - trail from summit Monte Poieto - cable car 
Top left: The madonnina of Monte Cornagera keeps watch over the Val Seriana.
Top right: Approaching Monte Cornagera from below.
Bottom left: Passing through the feature called "Buco della Carolina".
Bottom center: The trail on top of Monte Cornagera.
Bottom right: The cableway of Monte Poieto, Aviatico.

This is about a hike to Monte Poieto, passing through the feature called Buco della Carolina and the surrounding “canyons” of Cornagera. You can park here to start the hike (as one option). We last did this hike in 2016. In that post From Bergamo to Monte Poieto we talk about the options for arriving without a car. In the 2016 hike, we hiked from Rifugio Poieto down to Aviatico. In this hike, we do a loop from Avicatico to Monte Poieto and back.


Duration: 2 hours walking
Elevation: Max elevation 1353 m. Elevation gain 400 m. Starting elevation 1014 m.
Length: 5.5 km
Location: Albino, Valle Seriana, Province of Bergamo


We rarely repeat a hike. Because there are so many hikes to choose from around Bergamo, we are usually interested in exploring rather than repeating. That said, a repeat hike (or any kind of exploration travel really) has its benefits. You see things with new eyes, new information, and experience. And, in this case, with new friends.

During this hike, we went with friends from our neighborhood. These friends are experienced hikers that were able to point out geographical features and give historical context. These friends grew up in Bergamo walking these trails. At one point on the trail, they pointed out where to find fossils, and we did. At another point, they explained how World War II soldiers hid among the rocks. Insights like this made this repeat hike completely new and fun.

Monte Poieto (1375 m) is the mountain that the rifugio of the same name is on. Today, when we visit, everything is closed for a seasonal break – the rifugio and cableway are silent. But there are picnic tables and large areas to spread out a blanket and relax. We have a lunch of sandwiches, wine, and mapo, a cross between the mandarin cultivar "Avana" and the grapefruit cultivar "Duncan".

From Monte Poieto you can see the cross of Monte Cornagera (1312 m), just 700 m away as the crow flies. The etymology of Cornagera name was covered in our post From Bergamo to Monte Poieto. For the etymology of Poieto, our hiking companion suggests the name came from dialect and has to do with the activity of creating charcoal.

The Cornagera craggy dolomite peaks have been an escape for residents below (Aviactico) for thousands of years. In 999, it is reported that the local population escaped here for fear of the new millennium (millenarianism). Or centuries later to escape pirates, plagues, and even the Nazis during World War II.

The towers of Cornagera (i torrioni della Cornagera) have names that every local knows: Longo, Garlini, Torre Savini, and i Gemelli. Generations of climbers did their first climbs here.

The Buco della Carolina is a 50 m fissure between Monte Cornagera and Monte Poieto that you can squeeze through if you want as a variation in the trail. The origin of the name goes back to World War II. After Italy signed the Armistice of Cassibile, many local Italian soldiers went into hiding to avoid being killed. One young soldier hiding in this fissure had a lover called Carolina and wished only to get back alive to hold her in his arms.


[Agaricaceae] Macrolepiota procera [Agaricaceae] Macrolepiota procera
[Agaricaceae] Macrolepiota procera

[Betulaceae] Betula pendula
[Betulaceae] Betula pendula

[Colchicaceae] Colchicum autumnale [Colchicaceae] Colchicum autumnale [Colchicaceae] Colchicum autumnale
[Colchicaceae] Colchicum autumnale

[Fagaceae] Fagus sylvatica
[Fagaceae] Fagus sylvatica

[Gentianaceae] Gentiana asclepiadea
[Gentianaceae] Gentiana asclepiadea

[Lamiaceae] Teucrium chamaedrys
[Lamiaceae] Teucrium chamaedrys

[Lunulariaceae] Lunularia cruciata
[Lunulariaceae] Lunularia cruciata

[Primulaceae] Cyclamen sp
[Primulaceae] Cyclamen sp.

[Ranunculaceae] Hepatica nobilis
[Ranunculaceae] Hepatica nobilis

[Rosaceae] Sorbus aria
[Rosaceae] Sorbus aria


Trail 537 marker Trail 521 marker Aviatico to Monte Poieto tracks and stats
Left and center: Sign markers for Trail 537, Monte Cornagera.
Right: Tracks and stats.

Monte Cornagera information board View from Rifugio Monte Poieto looking southeast over Monte Cornagera (with cross on it)
Left: a sign describing the Cornagera area.
Right: view from Monte Poieto toward Monte Cornagera.

Monte Cornagera - madonnina Monte Cornagera - compass rose
On top of Monte Cornagera.

Monte Cornagera - madonnina watching over the valley Monte Cornagera - cross Monte Cornagera - cross and madonnina
On top of Monte Cornagera, Aviatico, Val Seriana, Bergamo.

Buco della Carolina in the Cornagera Buco della Carolina in the Cornagera Buco della Carolina in the Cornagera
The feature called "Buca della Carolina".

Buco della Carolina in the Cornagera Buco della Carolina in the Cornagera 
The feature called "Buca della Carolina".

Towers of Cornagera Approaching Coranagera from below A tricky part to reach the summit of Monte Cornagera
The towers of Cornagera and climbing toward Monte Cornagera.

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