Monte Lesima, where the sea is closer and the paths open up to the Alps and valleys

At 1270 metres, Monte Lesima is the highest peak in the Ligurian-Piedmontese-Pavese Apennines of the Antola mountain range. As the crow flies, its summit is 40 kilometres from the Gulf of Tigullio.

It is a popular destination for hikers and tourists, thanks to the numerous access routes to the summit and the panoramic view of the Ligurian coast, the Alps and the surrounding valleys. From a geological point of view, the limestone of Monte Antola and the Corbesassi cliffs are interesting.

The summit of Monte Lesima is easily recognisable due to the presence of several distinctive elements. One of them is an air traffic control radar. The other is the presence of a large crucifix, which has become an iconic symbol of the mountain and the faith of its visitors.

A destination for hikers

Monte Lesima is well known for its natural beauty and hiking opportunities. Hikers can reach the summit along a number of well-marked and well-maintained paths. One starting point is the hamlet of Brallo di Pregola, Rovaiolo Vecchio, which offers a fascinating and adventurous route. Alternatively, it is possible to walk along the private road that links the road from Passo Giovà to Passo Brallo as far as the radar. Another possible itinerary starts from Zerba, in the Boreca Valley, in the province of Piacenza.

The Torraie Nature Reserve

In 2016, the Lombardy Region created the Le Torraie-Monte Lesima Nature Reserve, located in the municipality of Brallo di Pregola. Its management has been entrusted to the Province of Pavia, which undertakes to ensure its upkeep. The main objective of the reserve is to protect and enhance the Oltrepò Pavese mountains as an area of fundamental importance for the conservation of biodiversity.

A protected area of ecological importance and biodiversity

The protected area of the Torraie-Monte Lesima Nature Reserve extends for about 588 hectares, from the area of the Avagnone stream, a tributary of the Trebbia river, to the highest peak of the Oltrepò Pavese, Monte Lesima. This reserve has been recognised as a Site of Community Importance (SIC).

The Reserve is home to hundreds of hectares of beech forests at higher altitudes, and hornbeam at lower altitudes. An ideal habitat for many plant and animal species.

The areas along the ridge are particularly rich in species, including many orchids that attract numerous pollinators.

The fauna of the reserve is equally fascinating. The crayfish can be found in the waterways of the area, while diurnal birds of prey, including the golden eagle and the short-toed eagle soar through the sky hunting their prey. Among the mammals, deer and wolves are present.

But one of the most striking features of the reserve is its wealth of butterflies. With over 80 species counted, the Mount Lesima area is one of the richest in butterflies in Europe. The flower meadows and forests provide the perfect habitat for these delicate and colourful insects.

The legend of Monte Lesima

According to legend, the toponym 'Lesima' dates back to the time of Hannibal, the famous Carthaginian general. The story goes that while Hannibal was encamped in the Trebbia Valley, he decided to climb to the top of the mountain. During the ascent, however, he sustained a wound in his hand, which earned him the name 'Lesima', derived from the Latin expression 'lesa manus', meaning 'wounded hand'.