If you have never heard of Lake Laceno or Monte Raiamagra , you have missed two natural pearls of inestimable beauty, set in a fairytale landscape of Irpinia where the soul finds its roots and is inebriated with splendor.
What to do and see at Lake Laceno
Lake Laceno, at 1,100 meters above sea level , is located on a plateau surrounded by the Picentini Mountains. It is immersed in the uncontaminated nature of Irpinia and looks like an oasis of peace and tranquility; it seems a light year away from the chaos of the city and the hectic everyday life, so it is an ideal place to relax, enjoy wonderful views, regenerate , but also play sports, eat great food and get to know some artistic and architectural beauties .
The area around the lake is equipped with picnic areas and therefore you can organize fantastic barbecues with family or friends, but it is also possible to eat in one of the restaurants near the lake and I assure you that it is really worth it! The nearby Bagnoli-Irpino , a small village of about 3,500 inhabitants, is in fact the country of the black truffle and therefore in the restaurants of the area you can taste gastronomic specialties in which the truffle is the protagonist: not only tagliatelle, ravioli and risotto, but also in combination with exquisite cheeses such as robiola, ricotta and provola, or as the main ingredient of some meat dishes, especially wild boar, or eggs.
If you are in this place you cannot miss an unusual walk around the lake in the company of the cows : nothing better than the serenity with which they graze peacefully on the meadows to drive out anxiety and find their inner balance. But once your spirit is refreshed, you will be ready for a memorable horseback ride in the local stables where experienced staff work and where docile horses are available, suitable even for the less experienced. Here you can go trekking on horseback for several days, sleeping in the tent and therefore experiencing the nightlife of the mountains surrounding the lake. For children, on the other hand, it is possible to take beautiful walks on the saddle of pony, a memory that won’t be easily erased from their minds!
And for those who prefer walking on wheels you can book a real quad excursion , perhaps combined with a tasty barbecue, or you can decide to take one of the many hiking trails by mountain bike or on foot . In short, there certainly won’t be time to get bored!
With the snow the lake rises up to the road and freezes the surface, all around and along the road it becomes snowy. It is very easy to see families with their children everywhere playing snowballs, making puppets or lacing themselves from some slope with sleds. And if you have forgotten your sled or snowshoes, don’t worry because there are many structures where you can rent them, such as the Lacenolandia structure .
The unmissable snowshoe hike on Mount Raiamagra
The “chiomata” , as Giustino Fortunato used to call it , the top of Raiamagra, with its 1667 m asl . it is one of the most impressive peaks in all of Campania. Although its “conquest” does not have particular difficulties, reaching the summit of Raiamagra will literally take you among the clouds until you have “at your feet”, on one side the charm of Irpinia “dressed in season” and on the other the immense blue of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
For the more sporty, a snowshoe hike on Mount Raiamagra which is part of the same area as Lake Laceno is a must during the winter. The route takes place on not too demanding paths , at times even on the Settevalli and Nordica ski slopes which were part of the ski area now under renovation.
The route we propose is a ring route of about 13km . It starts from the church of Santa Nesta right on the lake, following the path 137 CAI and then reaches Sella del Sagrestano at 1.460 , From here you continue on the Nordic ski slope and climbing a steep not easy climb you exit the beech forest overlooking the ridges of Raiamagra .
Walking along the path at the top we first come across the wonderful Canadian Refuge at 1667m, whose name is given precisely by the typical shape of the triangular Canadian wooden shelters. From here we can admire the landscape up to the Gulf of Salerno and on the other the mountains of Irpinia, it will be very easy to get lost between the horizon and the clouds.
On the top of Mount Raiamagra you will enjoy, in the silence of the hill disturbed only by the wind and in the crystalline air that purifies the lungs, a breathtaking view of the Picentini Mountains and the underlying Sele Valley . To get there, you will follow paths that are sometimes wider and sometimes narrower, sometimes outlined by rocks and sometimes surrounded by beech, chestnut and alder woods. With a little luck you can also observe the precious holly and hornbeam, or see animal species not common sightings such as hare, wild boar, fox, hedgehog, mole, cervone, weasel, stone marten and so on.
From here continue towards the Amatucci Refuge at a height of 1700m where the chairlift begins to be able to descend and the Settevalli ski slope . Here too it is possible to stop for a moment to enjoy the sun and the view of the lake and the village of Laceno.
Continue downhill along the ski slope, pay attention to the steep descent, even if equipped with snowshoes and poles it can be difficult if you are not used to it.
First you reach the Settevalli refuge at 1330m and finally, downstream, the Piazzale delle Seggiovie at 1,097 metersof altitude where there is a large fir tree just before the end of the path on the asphalted road.
History and art near Lake Laceno
It would be a real shame to go to Lake Laceno and not pay a visit to Bagnoli-Irpino , the municipality in which the same lake falls. It is an ancient village where time seems to have stopped: in the historic center the small alleys intertwine to witness a past teeming with life and you can stop and admire the imposing doors of what were once noble palaces. From the main square, Piazza di Capua , paths branch off that lead to the most interesting places in the town, such as the Church of San Domenico with its imposing octagonal bell tower, the Mother Church of Santa Maria dell’Assunta where it is possible to admire the wooden choir and ancient frescoes, the Fontana del Gavitone and the Clock Tower from whose walls an ancient map of Carpine emerges, emblem of the resilience of the inhabitants of these places. Definitely worth a visit is also the Norman Castle with its mighty walls and its square shape, reminiscent of a hostile Middle Ages.
In short, whether you are a romantic visitor in symbiosis with nature , an unstoppable walker or snowshoe hiker in search of a lost paradise , or simply a lover of unspoiled landscapes , but also a gourmet for whom there is no excursion without the delight of palate , Laceno Lake and Mount Raiamagra are the ideal destinations for you, far from the crowded tourist destinations, in a secret place that will give you interesting experiences and make you feel like a privileged visitor.