March 11, 2024 0 Comments Walks

Walk to Rogolone, the “great gentle giant”

walk to Rogolone, a centuries-old oak near Menaggio

But, what is Rogolone in the first place?

It is a centuries-old oak well known in these parts, almost as if it were a relative, one of the family, a friend. Its grandeur and bulk have, on those who stand at its feet, the same effect as a warm embrace. One feels small in its presence, but certainly safe.

A little bit of a tree about 280 years old (some say even more), 25 meters tall, with a trunk 8 meters in circumference. In short, the largest oak tree in northern Italy.

Easy to understand the respect it commands!

It has been cared for, pampered and guarded for centuries by local residents, it has been under protection by ministerial decree since 1922, and since 1987 the management of this monumental specimen and the surrounding land has been in the hands of the Italia Nostra Association.

A few meters away stands a slightly younger (190 years old or so!) similar one, called Rogolino, and together they make a beautiful pair!

rogolone and rogolino

Needless to say, this crowd of centenarians gathered in such a small space has led, over the centuries, to fantasize and believe in legends and tales related to the history of this plant. No matter what is true and what is not, the place undoubtedly has great charm and that is for sure.

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Walk to Rogolone

The walk to Rogolone is easy and absolutely undemanding.

To be precise, Rogolone is located in a hamlet of the municipality of Grandola ed Uniti (a locality as the crow flies above Menaggio, on the road to Lugano), but it can be reached from several points, even starting from the village of Carlazzo.

No parking problems and well-marked trail.

You are in the middle of Val Sanagra, and what makes everything even more pleasant (especially in the winter months) is the fact that you are on the side most exposed to the sun. Pleasant temperatures assured even in the coldest months then!

The place where the tree is located then, lends itself well to true moments of relaxation: a nice level lawn, picnic tables and shade in summer…what more could you ask for? There is room to play with children or to lie down and watch the sky, and the view is not bad at all, especially in the months when the trees are bare.

But the magic of the place also comes from the forest by which it is surrounded.

It is called Bosco Impero (a pretentious name), whether Rogolone is its emperor? The fact is that the kingdom is splendid, a true concentration of nature, of living things, a tangle of paths, streams and meadows.

I discovered that there are cedars, black pines, red oaks, and then lots of animals: squirrels, woodpeckers, raptors, deer, wild boar, crayfish, frogs, toads, salamanders, and collared snakes. Walking around trying to recognize the plants around and perhaps spotting some of the forest inhabitants is fun in itself.

The walk continues: Oratory of St. George

Walk from Rogolone to St. George's Oratory

If you wish, you can continue the walk for another 30 minutes and reach St. George’s Oratory, complete with ossuary.

I recommend it!

The Romanesque bell tower is beautiful and the whole place is evocative…you would never think to find a cemetery placed here!

In short, the walk to Rogolone is one of those rewarding, but noncommittal walks that allows you to completely immerse yourself in nature and be enraptured by the magic of what you have around you.

The “big gentle giant” has the ability to make everyone become a little bit of a child again.

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