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Ring of Monte San Primo and Rifugio Martina

On the most panoramic ridges of the Lariano Triangle, with lunch at the historic Martina Refuge.
3:00 h
7 km


Monte San Primo is the highest peak of the Larian Triangle. Not only that, it also stands out for its unique "tent" shape, stretching for kilometers from the Lecco branch to the Como branch of Lake Como. This excursion takes us along more than half of this long balcony, descending then the steep north face to Rifugio Martina, a historic mountain hut renowned for its unforgettable cuisine.

After parking the car at Piano Rancio (1121 m, accessible via the road from Madonna del Ghisallo), we start ascending the green meadows of Monte Ponciv on foot, which in winter host a small ski area. Soon, with panoramic views already becoming captivating over Lake Como and the surrounding peaks, we reach a wide ridge that leads us to a grassy saddle near Monte Ponciv (1453 m, 45 minutes). Here, the panorama also opens up towards the plains and other low peaks of the Larian Triangle.

We then follow the broad trail, mostly flat, which leads us to the slopes of Monte San Primo, which we conquer with a short traverse. The view from the summit of Monte San Primo (1686 m, 45 minutes) is perhaps the best in the entire Larian Triangle: Lake Como unfolds before us, with the Po Valley behind us, only partially hidden by the other peaks of the Larian Triangle.

For the descent, we suggest the narrow path on the north side of San Primo — less busy because it's very steep and slippery. We descend a few meters to the west, then immerse ourselves in the forest and begin rolling downhill along a very steep path. When the trail finally gives us a moment to catch our breath, it means we're almost at the sunny Alpe dei Picett (1231 m, 40 minutes).

Here stands the renowned Rifugio Martina, once a simple mountain hut and now a spacious restaurant with two covered terraces — still serving the same identical dishes as it did 20 years ago: polenta uncia (a specialty of Rifugio Martina — a polenta dish enriched by a generous amount of cheese, butter, and garlic), shin, and stew. The hut is also open for dinner on summer weekends, making it suitable for a meal after an afternoon hike to Monte San Primo.

From Rifugio Martina, we return to Piano Rancio along the dirt road winding through the meadows at the foot of the refuge, then entering the forest towards the east and, on level ground, passing the parking lot for Martina's customers, then an old colony, we return to Piano Rancio (1121 m, 30 minutes).






The mountains are a dangerous environment: make sure you always have the right equipment — hiking or trail shoes, warm clothes and waterproofs in case of unexpected changes in weather conditions, a small emergency kit.


I've made an Amazon "shopping note" to make sure you have everything — ps if you buy from these links, 3% goes to support the development and maintenance of Hikes of the World 🙏.


  • Breathable t-shirt ( example )

  • Sweatshirt, fleece, or light jacket

  • Waterproof windbreaker (for example: men / women )

  • Gloves and hat (you never know)

  • Backpack with rain cover

  • Trekking poles (not essential, but they help to unload the weight of the backpack and ease the impact on the joints)

  • Trekking or trail running shoes (in great vogue lately because they are lightweight. These Salomon ones - for men and women - are an excellent entry-level, preferably Gore-Tex)

  • For via ferratas: complete via ferrata kit (I have this one , very light and compact, with this harness and helmet — or you can buy complete kits ). Buy in store to receive ad hoc support

  • To sleep a night in a refuge: sheet or light sleeping bag

  • Water bottle or thermos

  • Light crampons if you think you will find ice or snow on the route

  • Power bank or cell phone charger

  • Camera

  • Drone, for those who love to "fly" (used in moderation and at a distance from other people. I have had the DJI Mini 2 for over 2 years and have found myself very happy with it. The DJI Mini 3 also allows you to take vertical photographs)

  • Small emergency kit ( example )

  • Sun cream (essential)

  • Sunglasses


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