Panoramas over Iseo Lake! Discover the itinerary to the giant bench in Riva di Solto
The giant benches, also known as Big Benches, are a non-profit project by American designer Chris Bangle. In this article, we describe the ascent to the one located in Riva di Solto, bench number 53, through a loop hike that starts from the lake, passes through Fonteno, and allows you to ascend to this splendid balcony overlooking Sebino Lake.
DIFFICULTY: Moderate to Easy
MAX ALTITUDE: Approximately 630 meters
ELEVATION GAIN: Approximately 420 meters
DURATION: 2.50 hours for the loop
START: Riva di Solto (BG)
We reach the village of Riva di Solto, on the shores of Iseo Lake, and park the car in Via Papa Giovanni XXIII. From here, the CAI 567 trailhead begins, which, through an easy path in the woods with a moderate incline, leads to the Zangolo area. At the fork, staying on trail 567, we take the left and continue our ascent with gentler slopes, reaching the village of Xino.
Here we leave the woods and continue straight on a rather steep asphalt road, crossing the village and continuing until we reach the main road. Finally, we shortly arrive at the center of Fonteno.
Now, the last stretch of the route awaits us, with less significant inclines. From the square in Fonteno, following well-marked signs, we take Via Papa Giovanni XXIII and then the ancient path that connects Fonteno to Solto Collina.. In a short time, through wide meadows, we finally reach the giant bench in Solto Collina.
A stop here is mandatory, and you can enjoy a splendid panorama over Upper Sebino. The giant benches are increasingly numerous in our region, and for enthusiasts, there’s also the possibility of collecting stamps of the benches you’ve visited in a special “passport.” Stamps are issued by associated structures in the region; you can find the list here.
Now, all that’s left is to continue to complete the loop and return to Riva di Solto. To do this, we continue along the trail that leads to Solto Collina until we cross the provincial road, which we briefly cross before entering Via Sales. We follow this road and then the subsequent path, which will lead us back to the Zangolo area. Here, at the fork, we turn left, retracing the downhill section of the CAI 567 trail we took on the way up, which will bring us back to Riva di Solto shortly.
The itinerary doesn’t have technical difficulties, but it involves a significant elevation gain and requires some level of fitness. For those less trained, it’s possible to hike only the trail segment from Fonteno to the giant bench and back.
You can find the interactive map of the route, complete with elevation profile and downloadable GPS track, at this link.
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Always organize your trips with care, choose appropriate equipment, and verify the itinerary before embarking on it.