Chestnuts are the autumn’s prized fruit. When the forests begin to don warm colors and the days grow shorter and cooler, it’s time to put on your shoes and gloves and head out to search for this seasonal treasure. The province of Bergamo hosts several forests where they are easily found, and in this article, we will describe some of the most rewarding routes. “.
Today, chestnut picking is primarily done for social bonding and leisure, the pleasure of walking through the autumn woods, and the satisfaction of finding the biggest ones. However, in the past, chestnuts played a significant role in providing sustenance for the less privileged. And who knows, in this period of economic crisis, they might become important once again. Besides being delicious, chestnuts are also free. The only caution is to collect them in public or unused forests; otherwise, permission should be sought from the owners.
As mentioned earlier, let’s now describe five routes where it’s easy to find chestnuts in the province of Bergamo. These are easy trails suitable for families with children. But before that, let’s go over some helpful tips on making chestnut picking easier.
- Some Tips for Successfully Harvesting Chestnuts
- Five Routes in the Province of Bergamo
- Bonus Routes Outside the Province of Bergamo
- Why Choose BergamoXP?
Some Tips for Successfully Harvesting Chestnuts
First and foremost, let’s start with what to wear and bring along. Sturdy and comfortable shoes, preferably hiking boots, are ideal for tackling the damp and slippery paths typical of this season. A pair of gloves is essential to prevent being pricked by the spikes on the chestnut burrs. A walking stick can be very useful for clearing fallen leaves from the ground without needing to bend down constantly. Finally, a wicker basket or a jute sack is better suited than a plastic bag, as it allows for the chestnuts to breathe.
To find the largest chestnuts that no one else has collected yet, you’ll need to venture off the path and into the forest. Look for shiny, full chestnuts without holes (indicating worms) or signs of deterioration, which suggests they are already spoiled and no longer edible. The timing of the day is crucial; too early and they won’t be ready yet, too late and they’ll have been picked by more experienced gatherers, leaving behind the smaller, less attractive ones. A good tip is to go out after days with strong winds that would have shaken the branches and dropped the burrs to the ground.
Five Routes in the Province of Bergamo
The province of Bergamo offers numerous trails where collecting chestnuts is easy. Here are some of the most well-known and fruitful routes:
Maresana is a hill (slightly below the 600-meter elevation required to be classified as a mountain) near Bergamo, situated along the ridge marking the beginning of the Val Seriana to the northeast of the city. Its chestnut woods are the ideal destination for those seeking this fruit in the autumn and are highly frequented. We’ve described the itinerary for ascending this hill in this article.
Castagneta, in the heart of the Colli di Bergamo Regional Park and entirely within the municipal territory of the city, offers an excellent area for picking chestnuts. Following the ancient Via dei Vasi, you’ll reach the border with the town of Ponteranica. Since this area is also highly frequented, it’s best to explore the more distant woods to beat the competition.
Monte Misma, with its 1160 meters in altitude, represents one of the first significant peaks of the Bergamo Pre-Alps in Val Seriana. Its slopes are entirely covered with chestnut forests, and several itineraries ascend it. We’ve described the classic route in this article.
Pontida, in Val San Martino, there are splendid chestnut woods that guarantee abundant harvests. The journey starts from the sanctuary of Beata Vergine di Caderizzi at the foot of Mount Canto and ventures into the woods. The path is somewhat steep and uneven, and you need to venture deep into the forest to minimize competition.
We conclude this list of suggested routes by moving to Val Imagna, on the slopes of Albenza, in Almenno San Bartolomeo. The ancient mule track that climbs the Roncola slopes, connecting various hamlets, is where you’ll find carpets of burrs and high-quality, sizable fruits.
Bonus Routes Outside the Province of Bergamo
The entire pre-alpine belt of Lombardy is rich in chestnut forests where collecting these seasonal fruits is easy. For Lombard readers, we’ve gathered two additional locations and bonus routes:
Located in Val Sabbia in the province of Brescia, on the border with Trentino, Idro lake is a magnificent body of water less known than its larger “siblings,” Lake Iseo and Lake Garda. Besides providing relaxation and sports activities, the mountainside towards the village of Capovalle offers numerous trails where you can gather chestnuts. We’ve described what this beautiful lake offers in this article.
Val d’Intelvi, in the province of Como, boasts beautiful chestnut forests. The trail winds along the famous “Path of Expressions,” featuring artworks and carvings made from trunks and branches depicting mythical creatures, sprites, elves, and forest spirits. This makes it an ideal outing for families and children as well. We’ve described the development of this itinerary in this article.
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