“That branch of the lake of Como, which extends towards the south, is enclosed by two unbroken chains of mountains, which, as they advance and recede, diversify its shores with numerous bays and inlets.Suddenly the lake contracts itself, and takes the course and form of a river, between a promontory on the right, and a wide open shore on the opposite side...”- Alessandro Manzoni -
Lecco was a little independent state inside the much bigger Milan dukedom. The hamlet was historically important for almost two centuries (XIV-XV) thanks to the Visconti and Sforza dynasties, two aristocratic families from Milan. When the last member of Sforza’s family died, Lecco and the entire duchy was subjugated to the Spanish kings. At the beginning of the 18th Century, the town passed to the control of the Austrian kingdom. In 1779, Austria surrendered and Lecco was then under French domination becoming part of the Cisalpine Republic. When Napoleone Bonaparte was defeated, the Vienna Congress decided not to rebuild the Dukedom of Milan and instead became part of the Venetian Lombard kingdom. Austria was in charge again. During Risorgimento the new Kingdom experienced the Independence War One in 1848 and the Independence War Two in 1859, finally ending in the Unification of Italy in 1861. The region became very famous between 1800 and 1900 as one of the first Italian industrial areas. Because of its numerous iron and steel factories, it was called The "City Of Iron". But Lecco is not just a medieval town with stories of glorious battles and noble names, it’s also where “The Betrothed” takes place. Thanks to Alessandro Manzoni’s romantic novel, this land actually acquired its most significative cultural Identity through literature.
Acknowledging Lecco’s history we were all expecting this little city to be a popular tourist attraction. But it’s tourism industry is just beginning. The town always lived in the shadows of the nearby bright city of Como and the world’s fashion capital of Milan. With the less appealing nomenclature of the "City of Iron" not many besides the locals had really enjoyed what this amazing place has to offer.
Fortunately, things are changing in this stunning province. Lecco struggled a lot in the past decades for the oldest generations. These were hard-working people who survived WWII and held on to a very conservative mindset. Having fun wasn’t a priority for them, they just wanted to work and save money for a better life. Gradually, this trend is disappearing leaving a spot for younger, more liberal people.
The “aperitivo” is the best trade ever:
if you get a drink you are allowed to eat anything you want. Not bad at all isn't it?
Even a good cappuccino at Imbarcadero or a glass of red wine at one of the numerous lakeside pubs in Malgrate deserves its time. During the year in Lecco, many events take place, like music or food festivals. In Lecco, you will find anything you want from traditional food to exotic, from posh and luxury places to easy and punk ones.
Communication is not a big deal as a lot of people can speak English and it’s slowly becoming a multicultural environment. People from Lecco at first impression can seem tough but they are not, it’s actually a very good community.
- Photo by Turbobalera -
Lecco is surrounded by mountains with a lake at its center. The beauty of this city is simply incredible. Nothing is better than a sunny day in Lecco, a blue sky and all the mountain peaks are there to please the view of each wanderer. Monte San Martino’s overhang seems to fall into Lake Como. There are the Grigna and the Grignetta then Monte Resegone with its amazing pink sunsets recalling to our minds the Dolomites, pure and shining in the winter time and green and fresh during the summer.
Lecco is very proud of its wild flora and typical Alpine fauna full of chamois and steinbocks. The national parks around the province are the real treasure of this place. From the beauty of the buildings in the city center to the beauty of Valsassina with its river, waterfalls and grazing lands, Lecco seems to be that place just over the rainbow.
Written by: Marta Sailis