The Hermitage of San Donato, a former Franciscan convent converted into a civilian residence since 1772, rises on a rocky spur in the middle of a beautiful path that from Como leads to Brunate.
The trail that passes from San Donato and continues to Brunate create a beautiful walkway that can be started from the city center (45/60 minutes from Ostello Bello) through viaTommaso Grossi. Following this road and just passing through Via Crespi you reach a crossroads, where on the right continue the asphalt road towards Brunate for vehicles, on the left side the “salita di San Donato” starts.
Just before we walk along the mule track to Brunate (the salita di San Donato) we can see a small bridge that allows to pass the Valduce stream.
After two bends of steps we will be behind the last condos in via Crispi, from here we have to keep the left to avoid crossing the Val Gioiera and get out on the path. On the next hairpin the path that starts from Via Maurizio Monti (Via Bertacchi) will met yours. Then we shall continue along the main path to the Hermitage.
At the foot of the former convent of San Donato you will find a flat unpaved terrain, accessible with small off-road vehicles leading to Garzola Superiore, the ideal solution for the less sporty people.
The church with single nave, side chapel and vaulted umbrella, is the only building that has retained its original function.
The hermitage was built on the ruins of a presumably Byzantine fortification, this hypothesis is also supported by the tradition, of Eastern origin: the weighing of children practiced at Hermitage.
This tradition takes place in other locations of Italy, such as in Sicily. In ancient times, all the newly married, in rural areas, promised the local saint to offer a grain equivalent to the weight of the first male son they would have. The weighing was a time of celebration of the entire community, the child was laid down on a plate, while the sack with the wheat on the other.
Finally a last curiosity San Donato, born in Brunate in 1825, was considered an excellent shooter (art learned while hunting with his father) so much that he was even rewarded by Garibaldi in person since he won the first national race to be scored Of Como on May 28th, 1862.