Abbazia di San Pietro al Monte

Lake Como

Birdsong and the rush of a mountain stream accompany you as you make the pilgrimage to the Romanesque Abbazia di San Pietro al Monte (St Peter on the Mount). Medieval monks seemed to have had both a thing about punishing themselves and a love of good views. From the upper streets (park at Via del Pozzo) of sprawling hillside Civate (330m), 5km southwest of Lecco, it's a beautiful but uphill 30- to 40-minute walk on waymarked stone trail No 10.

The trail finally reaches a clearing where this abbey has stood (at 663m) since the 11th century. The curious two-part Benedictine abbey (which you will probably only get to admire from outside) is in an idyllic setting that affords views south over Lake Annone, one of a string of peaceful lakes along the Como–Lecco road. The first building is an enchanting chapel dedicated to St Benedict, a squat affair with apses protruding from three sides. The main building rises behind. If you're lucky and it's open, you'll find medieval frescoes depicting mostly Old Testament scenes inside.

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