Caldana, a walk with fairies in the wood

There’s a fairy forest close to Caldana, nice and small group of houses in the province of Varese (Lombardy), where elves and dwarves, witches, squirrels and other magic animals are real and close to any wayfarer, for the joy of all kids and fantasy lovers.
It’s “The people of the forest”, a nice serie of statues carved in wood by a local artist, Sergio Terni, who has patiently created them from chestnut wood. He’s not a professional craftman – even if he doesn’t have anything to envy to talented carpenters – and has learnt the tricks in artisans’ shops. Between his statues, many have a religious theme, like the crucifix he has donated to the local church. But for sure, his most work is in the middle of the wood, where you can walk with fairies…

To visit the sculpture there’s an easy walk of half an hour from Caldana di Cocquio, a village about 60 km northwest of Milan, about 12 km northwest of Varese. It’s on the path number 17 climbing from Caldana, on the heights of Cocquio, to “Forte di Orino”, on the top of Campo dei Fiori Mountain (1.139 meters above sea level).
After parking in the dirt parking of “Piazza della Società operaia” in Caldana, you climb up the village, coasting “Osteria della piazza” and following the signs indicating “AV” (Anulare Valcuviano) and path 17. Then you just enter the wood and look for the wooden signs (see below some pics for orienteering).

a walk with fairies
a walk with fairies
a walk with fairies
a walk with fairies

Just before entering the wood, the “Masque” warns you that you’re on the right track for your walk with fairies, and then a wooden signal reminds you that “you cannot live a fairy tale if you dont’ have the courage to enter the wood”. Afterwards, on the left you meet the first funny animal: a big squirrel eating a pine cone…

a walk with fairies
The Masque, just before entering the wood
a walk with fairies
Warning: “You cannot live a fairy tale if you dont’ have the courage to enter the wood…”
The Guardian
The Squirrel

Now that you are already in the middle of nature, you must face the disquieting characters: the bad Witch, who is said to have lived nearby in a small isolated house, preparing evil potions, and who has been kicked out the village by people; the giant spider; the dangerous snake…

The Witch
The Spider
The Snake

Finally, after these scary meetings, you see the beautiful and blessing face of Berta, a Celtic godness who protects vegetation, woods and animals, and is always followed by elves, dwarves, the strange goose with the red hat…

Here we are at the and of our walk with fairies in the wood. The elf is the last of the company, but if you are still eager for adventure you can keep on walking on the path and reach “Forte di Orino”, after about 6,5 km. This is a more demanding walk, due to the difference in level: you can find more tips on the path 17 here (the duration is about 3 and 1/2 hours… terrestrial timetable obviously!!! 🙂

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