The Antica Strada Regina is an ancient Roman road that ran from the river port of Cremona to Chiavenna in the Alps passing Milan and the west side of Lake Como. Since it was replaced by a new Strada Regina, between the towns of Menaggio and Rezzonico it is used as a hiking trail now.
Ancient Roman road
For centuries the Antica Strada Regina was an important connection between the south and the north sides of the Alps. The well-conserved stretches are now mainly used for hiking and one of the most beautiful trails using the Roman road goes from Nobiallo to the beautiful village of Rezzonico, offering breathtaking views of Lake Como and passing by ancient churches and old villages.
The first village you will cross is Nobiallo, an old fishermen’s village with small alleys, a Romanesque 13th-century belltower and the old Ponte della Madonna (bridge) leading to the Sanctuary of Madonna della Pace.
From the Sanctuary you will get to the steep ascent to Sasso Rancio, a rough rock overlooking the lake. For many centuries travellers were forced take this difficult climb, until in 1902 the new lakeside road was built.
Villa La Gaeta
Coming from the Sasso Rancio, below you can spot the famous Villa La Gaeta. The Villa also features as a decor in the James Bond movie “Casino Royale”. The Art Nouveau villa was built in 1921 and combines a medieval layout with Jugendstil elements. The villa is a private home and unfortunately cannot be visited.
Acquaseria, Molvedo and Mastena
The route then continues downhill to the lake, following a very short stretch of the main road, through the woods and across the bridge over the river Serio to enter the village of Acquaseria. A cobbled road then leads to Molvedo and through the centre of Mastena crossing a small bridge over the small river Cellino. At this point, you can either choose to go on straight to Rezzonico or you can make a little detour to visit the 15th century Santa Maria church and the ruins of an ancient Roman fortress.
Still following the Antica Strada Regina you will pass by the medieval tower of Castellaccio, after which a cobblestone path and the old lakeside road lead to the center of Rezzonico. Rezzonico is a very charming old village with cobbled streets, a 14th-century castle, a small harbour and a lakeside piazza. Along the main road, you will find the bus stop to get back to Menaggio.
I Cammini della Regina
To follow the trail just look for the red-white-red signposts and indications of “I Cammini della Regina”. All the way from Menaggio to Rezzonico will take about 3 hours with a steep ascent of the Sasso Rancio rock. For a more detailed description, download the guide