Cycling along Lake Endine

Endine Gaiano

Bike Italia undertook a cycling adventure to discover Lake Endine: 60 km by bike from Nembro on a scenic route through the Val Cavallina valley. Here is an extract from the article published on their portal.

“This lake, like so many others, has two names; in this case they are Endine or Spinone, which are also two small towns, one to the north and the other to the south of the lake.

The lake is set in a very narrow valley between mountains that reach almost 1,400 metres. Fortunately, the natural setting is still intact, to the point that it is considered an area of “outstanding environmental interest” and the area is protected as a park. On the banks there are reed beds, breeding grounds for fish and birds, and even small beaches that are very popular with tourists.

Today’s mission started from a car park near the Nembro cemetery. I took Via Marconi and after crossing the river Serio, I turned left towards Albino and Pradalunga.

After 3.5 km of road running between houses and walls of old factories where the river was not visible, I reached a crossroads where I turned right towards Fiobbio and Abbazia.

Just before turning, I noticed that on my left, beyond the road bridge leading to Albino, there was what looked like an old bridge, now used as a cycle path.

I carried on for another 4.5 km and reached the turning on the right signed for the Abbazia Benedettina (Benedictine Abbey, from which the small hamlet of Albino takes its name); it is just a detour of a few metres and it is well worth it. (The abbey dates back to the first part of the 13th century).

I left the abbey behind me and returned to the SP39 provincial road, heading towards Casale.
The first undulating stretches started to appear, without excessive traffic and with the panoramas that began to take on the usual character of the Bergamo mountains.

From the view in front of me I could see that I was starting to climb towards the Sanctuary of Colle Gallo.
When I saw the gigantic cross, I imagined that the Sanctuary couldn’t be far off. In fact, exactly 450 metres later, there it was; the location is definitely a “cyclists’ paradise”.

I set off downhill and after 8 or 9 hairpin bends I reached Gaverina.
Though I was busy thinking of other things, I noticed that churches are almost always in dominant positions, and not just in terms of urban planning.

I reached Casazza and headed towards Monasterolo del Castello. The ruins of the castle are just before the village, on the left, and the structure, which has been completely renovated, is now used for catering and events.

I didn’t visit the ruins but headed confidently towards the park on the lakeside. Well maintained and very user-friendly, it offers a beautiful view of the lake from the lake itself.

I continued along the lake as far as San Felice with its quaint alleys, cycling along narrow streets between rows of old houses, with no cars to spoil the pleasure, and at last I emerged and found myself in front of the church of San Michele Arcangelo with its beautiful square right on the lakeside.

I went on to the end of the hamlet of Pura. After these few houses, the road gradually shifted away from Spinone and then joined the SS42 state road that links Lovere to the lake; I turned left onto the state road then immediately right onto a slightly uphill road leading to Ranzanico, but my attempt to reach the village failed because I took the wrong road and after a downhill section, not part of my “journey plan”, I found myself on the SS42 state road (busy with traffic). I turned right towards Bergamo and continued on the state road up to the junction for Bianzano and Cene.

I followed the signs and reached the junction. The climb began and I had the opportunity to take a few last photos of the lake that I was leaving behind.

The village that I could see on the left was Ranzanico, I would have liked to cycle through it, but in actual fact I was able to photograph it from the hill that I had just begun.
Shortly after Bianzano is the Suardi Castle, which may have been built as far back as 1233.

I continued along the SP40 provincial road.
Goodbye Lake Spinone or Endine, small, shallow, set between the mountains but nevertheless enchanting, especially when seen on a sunny day.

Then there was a downhill stretch to Cene. I cycled along the road to Albino where I had an appointment with an ancient bridge. This stone footbridge was built in the 14th century in Romanesque style.

I went back along the same road as on the outward journey, entering Pradalunga. I noticed, without paying much attention to it, a house with the inscription “Pietre Coti”. Imagining that this meant something like Pietracotta (fired stone), I didn’t think any more about it. Only on the way home and prompted by the memory did I find out more: Pradalunga is famous for “cote”, which is a special stone used to sharpen knives and other blades.

I returned to the car park where I had left the car, and set off for home. My cycle trip had been about 60 km, all very different; the first and last stretch had no particularly attractive features, but then the central section with the climb up to the Sanctuary, the subsequent descent and the circuit around the lake gave me a lot of satisfaction. Finally, the last climbs away from Lake Spinone caused me a degree of fatigue, and lastly the long descent towards Cene was as enjoyable as a dessert at the end of a meal.

This concludes my tribute to Lake Spinone. I almost forgot… it is important to remember that the lake is in the Val Cavallina valley!”

For the complete article and other routes:

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