Due to the location of lake Como it was used as a main trade route in Roman times between central Europe and Rome, this played a major role in its history ensuring prosperity but unfortunately it also lured a succession of foreign invaders. Because of its position as a bounder area the lake was of also of great strategicallly of great importance. There are various remains that testify this role such as the presence of castles, watch towers and fortresses of various ages, from the early Middle Ages till the beginning of the 19 th Century and the first World War.
Here below a listing of those that can be visited all year round. There are also some which are not open to the public but can be admired from the outside such as the Castle at Rezzonico in the commune San Siro and the Castle of Corenno Plinio at Dervio, the castle of Pomerio and the castle of Casiglio at Erba, impressive structures built for defence and reconstructed in modern times, the former now used for receptions the latter as hotel. Worth mentioning are also the castle of Rossino at Calolziocorte, the castle of Brivio facing the Adda river and the Castello dell'Innominato at Vercurago, just a few kilometrs from Lecco.
Not to miss:
Porta Torre and Baradello Castle - Como
Porta Torre was built in 1192 in the centre of the powerfull walls which Federico Barbarossa built to protect the city of Como. On the hills overlooking Como the Baradello castle was also built of which today only the tower and part of the fortification remain. The Baradello hill was a strategic defensive site and now it affords beautiful views of the town. It can be reached by foot from the town Como. You can visit the remains of the medieval defensive works and in summertime follow a guided tour of the tower on Sat. and Sun.
Forte Montecchio Nord - Colico:
In 1912, the high commander of the Italian Royal army, before the Grande Guerra (The Great War), initiated the building of a fortress on the Montecchio hill, along the short piece of coast between Colico and the mouth of River Adda. The fortress was completed at the end of 1914 and represents the most technological Italian innovation of World War One. Its four cannons are still there today and are the biggest in the whole Italy; the cannons still function perfectly and can fire at a very long range, with great precision.
For information: Museo della Guerra Bianca: Phone No. +39 338 5926220 - www.museoguerrabianca.it - firstname.lastname@example.org
Forte Fuentes - Colico:
In ancient times the aerea between the Adda river and the Mera river at the Northern end of the lake was considered to be very important for its strategic position; the marsh was drained by the Romans and was occupied by Spanish encampments for the entire XVI century from which is how this area became named the Piano di Spagna (The Spanish Plain). The Spanish defensive mainstay was the fortress of Fuentes, located on the long isolated headland that rises from the plain, and controlled
the last section of the river Adda.
For information: Museo della Guerra Bianca - Phone No. +39 338 5926220
www.museoguerrabianca.it - email@example.com
Castello di Vezio - Perledo (above Varenna):
This ancient manor-house from the XI century, can be found in Vezio, a hamlet of Perledo above the town Varenna, a medieval village. Today the castle of Vezio appears as a square based fortification with tall walls and a central tower accessible from a functioning drawbridge. Over one thousand olive trees surround the construction.
Unique to the castle is the presence of trained birds of prey devoted to their falconer, who
entertain the public with spectacular demonstrations. The castle of Vezio was part of the fortification network that were built along the ancient communication routes that ran along the lake and allowed access to the valleys. From march to the beginning of november it is open everyday from 10 a.m. to sunset. The castle may remain closed in case of bad weather.
Almost every day there is a falconer in the gardens of the castle who allows visitors of the castle to assist in training sessions and breeding of the birds of prey.
For information: Tourist Association Vezio Castle Phone No. - +39 348 8242504 -
Mobile +39 339 2935667 www.castellodivezio.it - firstname.lastname@example.org