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.

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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.

Careno vertical emotions in Lake Como, Italy

It is one of the most beautiful hamlets. Invisible from the main road leading to Bellagio, Careno can be spotted only from the lake, and it looks like a wedge descending sharply till the water. Around here there are some of the most impervious and wild corners of the lake. At the end, a few steps from the pier, the two monuments we most love. An old style trattoria where you can taste (real) local delicacies and, just in front, an evocative and gorgeous Romanesque church. How can you visit it? The owners of the trattoria hold the keys, and if you are not in a hurry and look like you “understand” the place, they will show it to you.

Careno vertical emotions in Lake Como, Italy

Sara & Davide
Discover the towns on Lake Como Italy with us, click here discover our tours!  
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