Musso st Eufemia church view - towns on Lake Como - Slow Lake Como

What if I told you that Musso, one of the peaceful towns on Lake Como (Italy), has something to do with the cathedral in the city center?

To tell this story we have to come back to the 14th century and rediscover the village’s heritage: a castle, wars, the Medeghino’s enterprises, marble quarries and a botanic garden… let us try to put the pieces together.

The headland ‘Sasso di Musso’, a natural border dividing Musso from Dongo, is the marble quarries area. Since the first century AD, Romans have been exploiting the quarries to extract the valuable marble as proved by some artifacts’ finding. In the medieval age, the Musso marble has been used to build the Como cathedral’s dome, facade, and Broletto. It was a long way down from the Alto Lario (North Lake Como) to Como: the marble was first carried by wagons and then loaded on ships up to the city. Curiously, the cathedral’s restoration gave new life to the quarries, which reopen towards the end of the 18th century. Different companies managed the marble’s extraction during the years replacing the old handwork with new mechanic techniques. The authorities decided then to stop the works in the quarries in order to protect the remains of the Medeghino’s castle and the surrounding territory.

Who was this mysterious Medeghino and which role did he play in the village’s history? His real name was Gian Giacomo Medici and even though he did not have boundaries with the prestigious family from Florence, he was pretty famous in the Como area. As regards the surname ‘Medeghino’, we know that he probably earned it because of his low height.

The violent enterprises shared with bandits forced him to seek shelter on the Lake Como. The Medeghino finally succeeded in getting the Musso castle from the Duke of Milan after committing a murder for him. In the first half of the 15th century, he even ran a war-making short-term deal according to his interests. Thanks to his military engagement, he almost creates his personal realm, not recognized in the end by the Milan senate. At his death, his brother Pope Pio IV ordered to build up a monument in the Milan cathedral entirely realized using the Musso marble.

In this same area, you can find today the so-called ‘Giardino del Merlo’, a botanic garden overlooking the lake. Here, Mediterranean vegetation meets the alpine one to shape three main spaces: the main one with the plants sided by woods and natural growth. Giovanni Manzi firstly had the idea to develop the garden in the second half of the 18th century inspired by the Riviera Ligure and its cliffs. The ‘Giardino del Merlo’ association now takes care of the park and its plants, trying to recover it from the destruction due to the quarries. Walking through tunnels and caves, you can quite easily reach the peak and find the Sant’Eufemia church. Stunning views on the lake will sweeten the climb on a hot sunny day of summer.

If you would like to find out more about the village and its past, our advice is to visit the museum: there you can imagine the miners’ everyday working life through the old pictures and the reproductions. You can also see how the Medeghino’s castle looked like in the 15th century…precious memories for a precious village!

Musso st Eufemia church view - towns on Lake Como - Slow Lake Como
Photo credits: Nicole Della Torre

Nicole
Discover the towns on 
Lake Como Italy with us, click here discover our tours! or ask about our tour in Musso 
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675.

Orrido di Nesso: the hidden waterfall
The heritage of Musso & The Giardino del Merlo
Churches, Castles, Ancient Ports and Dream Landscapes. Rezzonico and Santa Maria.
Brienno.The Labyrinth Village
The Village of Hell. Lezzeno and the Devil’s Bridge.
Cantù is Beautiful! Galliano and the Museum of Wood

towns on lake como italy Slow Lake Como Rezzonico Michael Casanova

The Regina trunk road flanking the picturesque towns on Lake Como Italy leads us until Rezzonico, a small village hidden between Menaggio and Gravedona.

The first thing standing out is the tower of the old Della Torre Castle. Originally from the Como Lake, the Della Torre family has a bloodline which goes its way down to Venice. Indeed, the Pope Clemente XIII from Venice belonged to this dynasty and was commonly known as Pope Rezzonico. The castle construction dates from the fourteenth century when the noble family had it built as a fortress and has been later restored in a neo-medieval style. The story goes that the so-called Ficano, an unwelcome guest of the castle has been stabbed in the nighttime by a dressed up butcher pretending to be his bride.

Besides these peasants’ tales, the village has a lot to offer… a long stairway, nicknamed by the locals the ‘Cuntrada de Riscionech’ takes us from the main way straight to the lake. 

Quiet beaches of rocks are waiting for you to calm down in hot sunny days and why not also to refresh in the lake waters surrounded by our gorgeous mountainscape.

Walking along the shore, it’s easy to taste the authentic and ancient atmosphere of the place: the fishermen houses porch and the old wooden structures over the water still used to fish.

In addition, for those who start feeling a bit peckish, don’t worry! in the village you will find the family driven Locanda Lauro, where you will be served with typical dishes, lake fish included naturally.

The tiny hotel has been run by the same family for more than one century and trying to preserve the original flavors and atmosphere.

In conclusion, Rezzonico is the perfect place to discover the medieval heritage of  Lake Como in complete peace and… on a full stomach!

towns on lake como italy Slow Lake Como Rezzonico Michael Casanova

Photo credits: Michael Casanova

 

Nicole
Discover the towns on 
Lake Como Italy with us, click here and read about our tour in Rezzonico.
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675.

Orrido di Nesso: the hidden waterfall
The heritage of Musso & The Giardino del Merlo
Churches, Castles, Ancient Ports and Dream Landscapes. Rezzonico and Santa Maria.
Brienno.The Labyrinth Village
The Village of Hell. Lezzeno and the Devil’s Bridge.
Cantù is Beautiful! Galliano and the Museum of Wood

Towns on Lake Como Italy Cantu

While driving among the towns on Lake Como Italy headed to Cantù, the sign you first see on the way speaks clearly: welcome to the furniture town. Indeed, all along the twentieth century and over the town has been recognized and not only by its inhabitants as the point of reference for the furniture design and making.

You can easily come across the tracks of the furniture making history just by entering the Liceo Artistico Melotti museum. There a lot of furniture has been collected such as ancient and precious chairs, tables, panels, bureaus rich in details and well preserved. Fausto Melotti was an important sculptor and painter who thought and ran the old Regia Scuola di Cantù, the same structure now carrying his name. The panels which could be found in the museum have been over worked following the carving and inlay techniques.

But there’s much more you can discover in Cantù besides the furniture design and making. As far as the architecture is concerned, the Galliano basilica shows some remarkable characteristics. Located on the Galliano hill, the structure has always been conceived as a house of worship till the dedication to Christianity. Today it represents an interesting example of Romanesque style: few and little windows leaving space to simple and clean frescoes.

Cradle of designers and craftsmen, Cantù welcomes you to discover how theoretical culture and practical skills perfectly meet giving birth to actual pieces of art.

Towns on Lake Como Italy Cantu

Nicole
Discover the towns on 
Lake Como Italy with us,
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675.

Orrido di Nesso: the hidden waterfall
The heritage of Musso & The Giardino del Merlo
Churches, Castles, Ancient Ports and Dream Landscapes. Rezzonico and Santa Maria.
Brienno.The Labyrinth Village
The Village of Hell. Lezzeno and the Devil’s Bridge.
Cantù is Beautiful! Galliano and the Museum of Wood

cloisters among towns on Lake Como Italy Piona

Traveling around the different towns on Lake Como in Italy, you can easily come across suggestive cloisters with a long history to tell.

The landscape of the area, full of nature elements such as mountains and lakes perfectly suits for the quiet and sacred atmosphere you can perceive in a cloister. Traditionally associated with religion and in particular with monks, some cloisters have been abandoned during the years and then intended to host public places, others have preserved a spiritual and religious function.

The complexes of Piona abbey (Colico), Sant’ Abbondio (Como) and Santa Maria delle Grazie (Gravedona) offer some examples.

At the foot of Legnone Mountain and with great glimpses on Lake Como, the Piona abbey in Colico is the ideal place to plunge into nature. The main part of the complex is the cloister: built up around thirteenth century upon request of the prior from then, it has been realised and decorated in a style between Romanesque and Gothic.

The ex-convent lying near the Santa Maria delle Grazie church in Gravedona hosts an evocative cloister frescoed with the telling’s Jesus life and Augustinian saints. Abandoned for a long time, the cloister serves today as a library. Every summer the building becomes the suitable location for the Gravedona Harmony festival dedicated to well-being.

Beside the Sant’Abbondio Basilica in Como you can find another example of cloister, which once was the centre of a Benedictine medieval monastery. The structure has been renovated several times up to becoming in 2007 one of the branches of Como university.

The typical square structure recalls for the four cardinal directions as well as the four elements of the universe, while the fountain and the tree of life usually at the centre represent Christ as source of life and food for blessed. Though the use of the cloister has changed throughout the years, they still lie upon the same concept of silence and reflection.

Nicole
Discover the towns on 
Lake Como Italy with us,
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675. 

Orrido di Nesso: the hidden waterfall
The heritage of Musso & The Giardino del Merlo
Churches, Castles, Ancient Ports and Dream Landscapes. Rezzonico and Santa Maria.
Brienno.The Labyrinth Village
The Village of Hell. Lezzeno and the Devil’s Bridge.
Cantù is Beautiful! Galliano and the Museum of Wood

Merone sustainable town in Lake Como Italy

Merone, a four thousand inhabitants town, is known as sustainable example in Lake Como Italy.

 

There, in fact, a brilliant project came true: an area previously devoted to industry got new life thanks to simple but effective solutions.

The place was commonly known for its cement factory and industries powered by hydric energy from river Lambro. After the coming of several fundings, the deputy mayor decided to change Merone reputation and realised a project able to connect modernity and sustainable development.

Step by step, he succeeded in creating a synergy system in which everyone has their own role: eco squares, an eco-urban park, a bike sharing network and eco-hostels. However, the deputy mayor isn’t satisfied yet and revealed there are still some work in progress ideas such converting a previous industrial area to pursue a greener aim. For the inhabitants, this is also an opportunity to rediscover the bond with their roots- as a matter of facts, Merone hides a past of workshops and local handicraft as the Sangiorgio clog factory proves.

Not only the public administration but also private citizens contributed to the project: recently hotel Corazziere has been requalified using bio architecture, the result was new life to Baggero mills.

Hence if you would like to spend an eco-friendly Sunday, it’s not necessary to go that far away…just discover Merone in the Brianza area!

Merone town Lake Como Italy

Nicole
Discover the towns on 
Lake Como Italy with us,
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675. 

Orrido di Nesso: the hidden waterfall
The heritage of Musso & The Giardino del Merlo
Churches, Castles, Ancient Ports and Dream Landscapes. Rezzonico and Santa Maria.
Brienno.The Labyrinth Village
The Village of Hell. Lezzeno and the Devil’s Bridge.
Cantù is Beautiful! Galliano and the Museum of Wood

Lezzeno - Towns on Lake Como Italy - Slow Lake Como

Despite the proximity to Bellagio, few tourists visit this charming town on Lake Como. Maybe somebody is frightened by his reputation as  a village of witches and smugglers.  If Bellagio, beautiful and famous, it is the place of the great hotels, shopping and glamour, Lezzeno at a very short distance, is the place where you can discover the most hidden and mysterious soul of Lake Como area.

The two villages are separated by a curved road between rough cliffs. . If you have the courage to go this way and overcome the Devil’s Bridge, located right between the two villages, you will be rewarded with amazing views, fishermen’s homes where time seems to have stopped,mountains peaking on the village and on the lake.

Lezzeno is the longest town on the lake, 7 kms inhabited.  Inhabitants here unlike other villages didn’t choose to live too far from the shores and this justifies the numerous fishing activities still well represented nowadays. Village life here  had, and has nowadays,  a strong sense of belonging and complicity. During  the epic years of smuggling  it wasn’t uncommon for strangers who asked for information about people of the village, hear the inhabitants answer they didn’t know them at all and then discover the addressees were very close relatives.

Every year in March, on the occasion of the feast of St. Joseph, the banks of the country are illuminated by giant roaches. We know that in Lezzeno have lived many witches, then executed and burned. It is not, however, to recall these events that the burners are turned on. This is a competition between the different hamlets of the village.

The purpose of the competition is to build the stack that will burn for longer than any, but it must be defended from the actions of disturbances of opponents. All the contenders must be young and live in the hamlet they want to represent. On the morning of decisive day the different groups position their pyres waiting till it gets dark then once the fires are lit they all look out at the lake because in the dark a “pirate raid” from other hamlets  could try to put out the enemies’ bonfire.  Beauty, mystery, history and legends. A little paradise awaits you in Lezzeno,…… just beyond the Devil’s bridge.

Lezzeno - Towns on Lake Como Italy - Slow Lake Como

Davide,
Discover the towns on 
Lake Como Italy with us,
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675. 

Orrido di Nesso: the hidden waterfall
The heritage of Musso & The Giardino del Merlo
Churches, Castles, Ancient Ports and Dream Landscapes. Rezzonico and Santa Maria.
Brienno.The Labyrinth Village
The Village of Hell. Lezzeno and the Devil’s Bridge.
Cantù is Beautiful! Galliano and the Museum of Wood

towns on Lake Como Italy

12 months,  12 towns, 12 emotions. Places, monuments and secret hamlets of Lake Como.

Someone says that our Lake and our territory are melancholic in autumn and winter, better to come in spring or summer. For us at Slow Lake Como, our territory is beautiful all the year round, and has infinite beauty to show, endless stories to tell.

We take you to the unknown places, in the towns overlooked by tourist circuits, in the corners you’ve never noticed, in cloisters and hidden or often closed monuments, choosing the seasons where they have more charm.

From “Devil’s Bridge” to “Paradise’s stairs”, from the old closed houses of the walled city of Como to the ancient sacred architecture of our territory, from the labyrinth town to the exterminated landscapes of the North Lake Como.
An exciting journey that lasts 12 months. Every month a stage, a new pearl, as we like it, walking with the step and curiosity of the wayfarer. We move slowly, but we never stop … follow us …

towns on Lake Como Italy

October  2017 – March 2018 Calendar

Sun  29/10:  “Town of Hell”. Lezzeno and the Devil’s Bridge

Sat 25/11 “Como piccante”. La storia a luci rosse della città. “Spicy Como”. The red lights history of the city.

Sat 16/12 “Art in the Hidden Cloister”. Santa Margherita in Como.

Sat  20/01 “Cantù is beautiful!” Galliano and the Wood Museum.

Sun 25/02 The Labyrinth town”. Brienno.

Sun 25/03 “Churches, castles and ancient harbors”. Santa Maria and Rezzonico.

Sara
Discover the towns on Lake Como Italy with us,
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Lake Como Pian di Spagna natural Reserve - Slow Lake Como

The environmental protection and the respect are the slow tourism basis, this is why we want you to discover our places in Lake Como Italy. Natural reserves are the sites where the right balance between men and nature is restored once again. In particular, on Lake Como and all over the area it’s very common to find such preserved places and the Pian di Spagna natural reserve is one of these. The reserve territory lies where dry land and water meet creating together an environment with a great naturalistic value. The level land involved among Como Lake, the lake of Mezzola and mountains of Val Chiavenna as well as Valtellina hosts a wide range of different flora and fauna species. Among all the animals living in the area perhaps the most important ones are the migratory birds which can find here a safe place to stop in and to nest. As far as the flora is concerned, the cane-brake is the characteristic type of vegetation which can be found walking along the Lake of Mezzola. It is also a perfect shelter for the reproduction of migratory birds such as herons and kingfishers. In the lake, you can also find plants anchored to the depth or floating on the surface for example the waterlilies. The area was first recognized as a natural reserve towards the second half of the 20th century and ever since that time the landscape has completely changed. As a matter of facts, the modern engagement for the territory preservation would have been impossible only two generations ahead when finding a new fertile land to cultivate was the only preoccupation. Today the recognition as a natural reserve has allowed to keep the natural characteristics of the zone, to control the socio-economic activities and to pursue a didactic and recreative aim.

Lake Como Pian di Spagna natural Reserve - Slow Lake Como

Nicole
Discover the secret pearls of Lake Como with us,
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675. 

Orrido di Nesso: the hidden waterfall
The heritage of Musso & The Giardino del Merlo
Churches, Castles, Ancient Ports and Dream Landscapes. Rezzonico and Santa Maria.
Brienno.The Labyrinth Village
The Village of Hell. Lezzeno and the Devil’s Bridge.
Cantù is Beautiful! Galliano and the Museum of Wood

Note from the editor

Between the time of writing and publishing a terrible landslide fall down from Val Bregaglia (CH), this is an environmental disaster, the mud has killed fish and flora in the river Mera, we are still not sure about the condition of the Lake Mezzola and the reserve, but the river from the border with Switzerland to Lake Mezzola is ecologically dead. The river Mera is the same that connects Lake Mezzola to Lake Como, Italy. The consequeses are not so hard to predict because less than 20 years ago a similar incident (in the Italian side) caused a similar result.  Having this news very near to our hearts we, at Slow Lake Como, believe we need to better protect our place, our land and we feel it is also our role to do everything we can to prevent similar incidents. First of all we can share information about protected areas of Lake Como.

Orrido di Nesso, the waterfall view on Lake Como Italy

Want some fresh air to recover from the crowded Como?
You will certainly appreciate getting lost in the narrow streets of Nesso, an ancient town pretty close to the city.

Nesso looks like the typical suggestive village on Lake Como: tiny old houses adorned with flowers and other details, long tiring steps leading to the lake and many glimpses on the breath-taking landscape. Nevertheless, the village hides a treasure that makes it one of the most interesting place to discover in the area: I am talking about the waterfall, commonly known as ‘orrido’.

There are many points in the village where you can enjoy the view of this nature gem… perhaps the best way to see the waterfall is going down from the main road on the top to the small bridge near the lake. Once you will reach the bridge, even in the hottest day of summer you can easily feel fresh air because of the waterfall splashes- the bravest ones will not probably miss the chance to jump in the frozen water! Another good idea to spend time in Nesso is waiting for sunset in the bars on the top and enjoying the pleasant view while drinking a glass of wine.

Nicole
Discover the towns on Lake Como Italy with us,
info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675. ⠀

Orrido di Nesso: the hidden waterfall
The heritage of Musso & The Giardino del Merlo
Churches, Castles, Ancient Ports and Dream Landscapes. Rezzonico and Santa Maria.
Brienno.The Labyrinth Village
The Village of Hell. Lezzeno and the Devil’s Bridge.
Cantù is Beautiful! Galliano and the Museum of Wood

Orrido di Nesso, the hidden waterfall on Lake Como Italy

 

garden of the Valley oasis peace Lake Como Italy

 

Nature lovers will probably fall in love with this little place full of plants and flowers located in the south-west branch of Lake Como. The so-called Garden of the Valley (il Giardino della Valle) was born thirty years ago thanks to the strength and initiative of Dilda Frati, commonly known as granny Pupa. At that time, the woman managed to recover an illegal dump and to realize on her own a precious botanic garden in Cernobbio, near the city of Como.

Her idea was so successful that later the Valley Garden Association was founded aiming at the preservation and improving this space. The place is full of wooden sculptures portraying animals and crossed by a small river so that you can feel even more closer to nature. However, the Valley Garden means a lot more: it isn’t simply a botanic garden, it’s about a place of culture, meeting and sharing for the community.

Every spring, people organize free art exhibitions or concerts and there’s also a small permanent reading area with some free books to enjoy! Nevertheless, none of this would have been possible without granny Pupa and now that she is ninety years old, she is worried about the future of the Valley Garden. Plenty initiatives have been promoted throughout the years to support the garden such as “Help bring water to Pupa’s garden” in order to build an automatic irrigation system. What more could you ask for than a peaceful walk in this garden on a sunny spring day?

Garden of the Valley oasis peace Lake Como Italy - scultures

Nicole

Discover the secret pearls of Lake Como with us,
For info and booking info@slowlakecomo.com mobile +39 392 027 9675.⠀

Orrido di Nesso: the hidden waterfall
The heritage of Musso & The Giardino del Merlo
Churches, Castles, Ancient Ports and Dream Landscapes. Rezzonico and Santa Maria.
Brienno.The Labyrinth Village
The Village of Hell. Lezzeno and the Devil’s Bridge.
Cantù is Beautiful! Galliano and the Museum of Wood