On the south eastern branch of Lake Como, surrounded by the dramatically steep cliffs of Monte Coltignone to the northwest and the Resegone to the east sits the bustling town of Lecco, centred on Piazza XX Settembre. The lake narrows here which forms the river Adda. There are good road connections with Como; four bridges cross the river (built to improve road communications with Como and Milan); the Azzone Visconti Bridge (1336–1338), the Kennedy Bridge (1956) and the Alessandro Manzoni Bridge (1985) and a railroad bridge.
Lecco is more or less equal in size to Como. However there is a lot of rivalry between Lecco and Como and although the Como arm of the lake and its single northern reach are part of Lake Como, the people of Lecco refer to the eastern arm as Lake Lecco.
The strategic position of Lecco made it one of the most prominent industrial centres following the Industrial Revolution from the 18th century (mainly iron works) but is also known for its mechanical, textile, and food-canning industries. Lecco has great shopping facilities as well as plenty of cafes and restaurants to choose from.
Prior to the the arrival of the Romans, archaeological finds have shown the existence of Celtic settlementin the area of Lecco. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Lecco became locked in numerous battles; captured by the Lombards in the 6th century, thereafter granted to the bishops of Como in the 11th century and passed to Milan in the 12th century. Lecco was then secured by Visconti family in the 14th century until it then became a countship in the middle of the 1600s. During World War II Lecco was an important centre of the partisan war against the German occupation. You can still see some remains of Lecco’s turbulent past; the Ponte Grande bridge over the Adda; the 18th century Palazzo Belgioioso which houses Lecco’s Civic Museum and the 15th century Viscontea Tower in Piazza XX Settembre (housing a historical museum).
The town is also known for its famous writer Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873) whose childhood home is now a museum with a collection of memorabilia. You can see a statue dedicated to the Italian writer in Piazza Manzoni. Besides a visit to the Manzoni statue, there are plenty of other things that you can visit; churches, museums, momuments. The Basilica di San Nicolo founded in the 7th century, with its domed ceiling covered in beautiful frescoes and the magnificent ornate pulpit. This church was dedicated to the Patron Saint of Sailors. Alternatively why not find out a bit more about Lecco’s mountaineering history and alpinism and visit the Museum of the Mountain and Alpinism in Piazza Settembre XX. This museum is housed inside the Visconti Tower and shows the history of CAI and Lecco’s alpinism through photographs as well as exhibits of old memorabilia; boots, spikes, skis and a plastic model of the local mountain area complete with mountain huts and paths. You can take a leisurely stroll along the beautiful tree-lined promenande where you will see the monument dedicated to ‘The Fallen’ of the First World War;the work of the sculptur Giannino Castiglioni.
If you are looking for more action, then you won’t be disappointed as there are plenty of watersports, walks and hikes to keep you on the go. Lecco is a popular place for Paragliding, so if you are feeling brave, you can book yourself in for an exhilirating experience of a tandem paraglide with a qualified pilot from the Aeroclub d’Italia. During your“trip” you will be seated in the front with the pilot behind you.
Tired out after a long day of sightseeing and extreme sports? Treat yourself to a lovely fish or pasta dish to replenish those energy levels from one of the many trattorias, cafes and restaurants to choose from. Sit back, relax and watch the world go by.