• Lakes
    • Art & Culture

Lago di Como: more than Manzoni

Together with Renzo and Lucia in the streets of Lecco. Then on to discover the eastern bank of the Como Lake. Start with Varenna

All the traces of Manzoni’s novel “The Betrothed” are found here… the climb of the “bravi” (coarse soldiers who were hired by rural lordlings), the presumed house of Lucia, the convent of Friar Christopher (Fra’ Cristoforo) and the castle of the Unnamed.

A specialised museum is hosted at Villa Manzoni (in the Caleotto city
district), where the author spent his childhood, adolescence and early youth.

A precious gem
In Varenna, a small village with an international flair, visitors will find Villa
Monastero, a real ‘gem’ with superposed architectural styles spanning nine
centuries. Built originally as a female convent, it was later turned into a
sumptuous mansion, Villa Leliana, for more than three centuries. Today it hosts
a museum with a variety of antique pieces of furniture in all rooms, from the BilliardHall to the Music Hall. The complex also includes a conference centre, where the
Nobel Prize winner Enrico Fermi delivered his physics lectures, and is surrounded by
a botanic garden extending over almost two kilometres, or 1.24 mi. (up to
the Fiumelatte district) with a rich collection of rare, native and exotic tree species. Workshops, itineraries and games are also organised for children.

In the river gully and underground…
The silence of wildlife is broken by the roar of the Pioverna river, which forms
waterfalls, rapids and splashes flowing into the Orrido di Bellano gully, a natural canyon
created 15 million years ago. Footbridges anchored to one of the rock walls are used to walk through the gully, amidst luxuriant vegetation, which calls to mind a real jungle. Other routes for visitors to follow are the underground passages of the Piani Resinelli Mining Park, to discover ancient mines that operated from 1600 to the midtwentieth century. Visitors will also get an insight into old extraction methods and tools
by stepping into wide tunnels and corridors, most of which have lighting installations.

A little walk through history
The more-than-one-thousand-year-old Vezio Castle is a lakeside outpost dominating Varenna. Partially restored in the mid-twentieth century, today it is partially open to visits and hosts a diurnal and nocturnal raptor-training centre based on the rules of the ancient art of falconry. Another medieval monument, which dates back to a couple of centuries later, is the Corenno Plinio Castle, perched on a spur of rock through
which the characteristic alleys of the village were dug. Another fortress, the Forte di Fuentes, dating back to 1600, dominates Lake Como from the Colico hills. Initially destroyed by Napoleon, it was reused during World War I. Through its privileged position, it straddles between the Valtellina Valley on one side and the Chiavenna Valley on the other.

For visitors with a cultural taste
Culture-minded visitors will appreciate a masterpiece of Lombard Romanesque
architecture, the Piona Priory, or Piona Abbey, situated in Colico, on the Olgiasca peninsula. Particularly worthy of note is its cloister (1242), which exemplifies the shift from Romanesque to Gothic art. Its square layout evokes the symbolism of number four, i.e. the four elements of the universe, the four cardinal points, and the four
symbols of self-contempt, contempt of the world, love of one’s neighbour, and love of God. The bell tower of the San Nicolò Basilica, nicknamed “the Big Pencil”, is one of Lecco’s symbols. It is among the tallest bell towers in Italy (96 metres, or 315 ft.), and is equipped with nine bells intoning a concert in A-major and each bearing its own name. In the opening days, visitors can climb 380 steps to enjoy one of the most
charming views of the city.

Gone with the wind
When the weather is fine, windsurfing, wakeboarding, kiting or sailing are only some of the sports that can be practised in Lake Como, swept by two winds, the Breva blowing strongly from the south (in the afternoon) and the milder Tivano blowing
from the North (in the morning). This is a perfect combination for all sports enthusiasts and pros wishing to sail or surf the lake waters, When the Breva blows, expert surfers will find well-formed wave patterns. The upper lake area is particularly suited to the practice of sailing sports.

5 reasons for...

1. A multi-sensory itinerary in Piani d’Erna. Exploring nature through senses, walking barefoot in the water or on moss, watching animals, listening to the sound of birds and tasting natural products are only some of the leisure activities on offer while enjoying a breathtaking view of the lake from above.

2. Beaches. Slopes leading to the lake can be found everywhere, but the Riva Bianca beach of Lierna, with its fine white cobblestones, is definitively a must-go. Dog owners will be happy to know they can take their four-legged friends to the Bau Bau
Malpensata beach, in Olivedo di Varenna.

3. The Moto Guzzi Museum in Mandello del Lario. Motor-biking enthusiasts and anyone interested in this world myth will enjoy a collection of 150 exhibits, including mass-produced and sports motorbikes, test-prototypes and engines, all on
display at the historical Moto Guzzi factory.

4. Mount Barro. The Mount Barro Regional Nature Park offers plenty of flora, fauna and landscapes for nature lovers to enjoy. The park overlooks the Lecco branch of lake Como and lake Annone, and is covered by an extensive 44 km (27 mi.) network of trails reaching all major places of interest.

5. Forte Montecchio Nord in Colico. Completed in late 1914 to defend lake Como from
the bellicose attacks from Switzerland, this fortress is one of the most modern artillery installations of World War I. Its four cannons are still functioning efficiently

On the same topic

Iseo Lake’s activities

Culture, nature, sports, beaches and good food on Lake Iseo.
  • Lakes
Iseo Lake: culture, nature, sport, beaches and good food

the archaelogical palimpsest of Comacina

We explore the island of Comacina on Lake Como.
  • Lakes
Comacina Island, Lake Como

The loveliest island in the Lakes

Visit the islands of the Lombard lakes: a dip in little enchanted worlds.
  • Lakes
The loveliest island in the lakes: Montisola, Isola Comacina, Isola del Garda

5 thing-to-do in Como

Discover Como, its lake and what makes this place so special
  • Lakes
como cose da fare

The most beautiful villages on Lake Lugano - What to see

Among enchanting villages, nature reserves and ancient villas, Lake Lugano is the ideal destination for a weekend of pure well-being. Find out more.
  • Lakes
The most beautiful villages on Lake Lugano - What to see

Summer in Lombardy

The best places to see, the most beautiful excursions and lots of ideas for your holiday: discover the territory of Lombardy!
  • Lakes
Live Summer in Lombardy to the fullest

Lake Como in spring

Discovering Lake Como, among blooming wisteria, idyllic landscapes and crystal clear waters.
  • Lakes
Visiting the Villas by boat


The tourist boast of Luino is the picturesque and folkloristic weekly market.
  • Lakes
The Luino Market

Centomiglia, sailing challenge on the Garda

Centomiglia: the most important sailing event in Garda and known throughout Europe.
  • Lakes
Centomiglia, sailing challenge on the Garda

The Best Beaches on Lake Maggiore

Discover the Wonders of the Varese Province
  • Lakes
Lido erboso al tramonto con persone sedute su panchina e bimbi in bicicletta. Lago e montagne in secondo piano

Lago Maggiore Unspoilt landscapes

Monteviasco can only be reached on foot or by cableway from Ponte di Piero. This village is famous for its 18th century mills placed in a natural setting.
  • Lakes
Lago Maggiore Paesaggi incontaminati

Diving in Lombardy’s lakes

Freshwater diving enthusiasts will enjoy these seven ideas for discovering the underwater treasures in Lombardy’s lakes
  • Lakes
 Immersioni sui laghi lombardia @inlombardia - istockphoto

Lago Maggiore Artist’s brushstrokes

Trompe l’oeil frescos, five centuries of pictorial cycles, spontaneous and organised murals: colour is everywhere in and around Laveno Mombello
  • Lakes
Lago Maggiore Pennellate d'artista

Lake Como in 5 Villas

Como, Varenna, Bellagio. Go for Villas on Lake Como, discovering enchanted gardens and work of art
  • Lakes
Lake Como in 5 Villas

Lakeside and centre of gravedona

Welcome to Gravedona, one of the most important historical-religious centers of Alto Lario.
  • Lakes
Lakeside and centre of Gravedona

Lakes in Lombardy: 5 unmissable experiences

5 consigli per una giornata indimenticabile: da Gardone Riviera all’Isola Comacina, alle sponde perfette per chi ama la bici
  • Lakes
Laghi in Lombardia autunno

Como Photo Gallery

Ideas and ideas for your holiday on the lake.
  • Lakes
Como and its Lake from a to Z hits for an unforgettable vacation


Vivere i laghi lombardi in canoa.
  • Lakes

5 Thing-to-do in Menaggio

Be enchanted by Menaggio, marvelous town on Lake Como
  • Lakes
cosa fare a menaggio lungolago

Canoeing - Rafting

The perfect activity for nature-loving people looking for excitement and spectacular landscapes
  • Lakes
Foto di Ass. Canoa Club Valtellina