What do we know about lake Como?
Everything any encyclopedia can possibly suggest:
- it is situated in the pre-alpine part of the Italian region of Lombardy;
- it takes its origin from a melted glacier;
- it is the deepest and the third largest lake in Italy;
- the events of Alessandro Manzoni’s historical novel The Betrothed develop along its shores.
Various sources claim lake Como to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world with its numerous villas and the fame of a beloved residence and vacation destination of many rich and famous.
I like facts, but I care even more for impressions. So, I decided to go, to see and to make my own opinion on lake Como. And now I can sincerely agree on the following:
- the lake is an amazing natural phenomenon;
- the lakeside is a cradle to much history and a true source of inspiration;
- the lake is absolutely to visit, to experience and to enjoy.
If you were a bookie, you’d have definitely bet I‘d go to the city of Como to have a look at the lake, for it is the most renowned of the lakeside destinations, a perfect jet set and touristic location, the material incarnation of the lake’s spirit, its symbol and most predictable association. Nevertheless, you’d have lost: I chose to have a walk in the smaller but not less charming town of Lecco that offers one of the most stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
Lecco witnessed its historical ascend between the 15th and 16th centuries under the rule of the two noble families of Milan – the Viscontis and the Sforzas. In 1535 Francesco II Sforza died leaving no successor to his Duke’s title. As a consequence, the Duchy fell under the Spanish influence, later under that of Austria’s just to become part of the Cisalpine Republic after Napoleon’s victory in Italy in 1797.
In 1861 the course of history brought Lecco to join the unified Italy.
The fisherman village of Lecco, the focal point of the town and one of its most characteristic neighbourhoods, offers a walk through time taking its visitors back to the 17th century and accompanying the curious and the literature lovers along the narrow streets of the borgo where the masterpiece of the love story between Renzo and Lucia was born, created by Manzoni’s genius, whose famous novel, The Betrothed, transports its readers to the medieval Lombardy illustrating its traditions and its way of life.
It is exactly when the lake becomes a perfect frame to a historical novel with the sublime autumn colours of the sorrounding forests and the high mountains that dominate the deep waters of the lake. A perfect natural scenario that encloses a perfect love story born and living under the infinite sky of Lombardy, the unique landscape, so evovative and so perfectly in tune with the historical circumstances, the human life itself and Lucia and Renzo’s love story progressing step by step against its magnetic background.
Lecco is an ideal destination for a day escape from Milan’s rush. It is only a short train ride away from the city offering a radical change of view, atmosphere and mood. It is perfect for a boat ride, a walk along the lakefront, some fancy shopping and any type of recreation starting from that of taking pictures to practising numerous outdoor sports such as skiing in winter or cycling and kite surfing in summer.
Some of my usual tips:
- It is very convenient to take a regional train from Milano Centrale to Lecco. It takes approximately 40 minutes to reach the destination and a second class one-way ticket costs only 4,80 euro. The trains in question run almost every hour, but, as usual, you can easily check the exact timetable here.
- I suggest you to have a coffee or a complete Italian breakfast at the pastry shop ArteSapori in Via Nazario Sauro, 6 almost in front of the lake on the way from the train station.
- We had a nice casual lunch at L’ek Bistrot in Piazza XX Settembre, 50, absolutely to take into consideration.
With a charming record of some ice-cold wind descending the pre-alpine peaks in December and the agitated deep waters of the lake, I do recommend you to have a glimpse at Lecco for one of your dates with Lombardy and lake of Como in particular. In case – get ready for some pleasure and relax 😉