It was a very steep climb, but the weather was cool and sunny. I only saw two other people on the same trail. The path got very narrow, and it seemed like I was miles away from anything. I felt like such an explorer, when I could see the tiptop of the castle's tower over the treetops. Only a little farther to go...
Then - what to my wondering eyes should appear: a clay tennis court, with lights and a chain link fence. Not quite as adventuresome as I thought I was.
Turns out there is a very small town just below the castle (see map below)... you can see the tennis court, too. I met up with the husband of one of Michael's math colleagues as I was leaving, and he suggested the other path back down to Varenna. It was wide and cobblestoned. Didn't feel so much like Dora the Explorer, but that other path had me spooked at times: pretty narrow with a steep drop-off.
Anyway, my time at the top was lovely, with incredible views and very peaceful. I especially loved hearing all the church bells from below -- got a nice video of that which I hope you'll enjoy.
Click here to see notes on the map