Placed at the eastern branch of Lake Como, Lecco is a bustling provincial capital with a 19th-century dignified face. it is a city of 48,000 people in one of the most spectacular natural sceneries along the Alps, cradled on the edge of the lake where the river Adda flows out. It enjoys a setting of waters and mountains, seeming to protect, hold, and skim over it, with a play of colours of the sky and the seasons.
Lecco rests at the foot of Mt. Grigna and Mt. Resegone, a spectacular setting below the rocky jagged crests. It is a thriving city with industry and many people commute to Milano for work. But it still has its charm and its history: it was iron rather than the silk thread that built Lecco, but was also the setting for the love story between Renzo and Lucia, in Italy's most renowned novel "The Betrothed", by Alessandro Manzoni.
Promenade and Piazza Cermenati
The heart of Lecco is right at the lake, where two squares are linked together as one, open on one side towards the water with the other side facing towards of a number of little, narrow streets. Piazza XX Settembre is playful, with a fountain spurting from ground level that children love to splash in on hot days.
This little bit of the lake used to be the Milanese fleet headquarter, that during the first decades of the 20th-century, waited here to attack the city of Como. However, for the most part, this beautiful city boasts deep commercial roots: since 1149 Lecco has housed one of the biggest markest in Upper Lombardy, once a real seat of important international negotiations over iron, silk, wood, cheese and goods of any kind. The market was so crucially important that even the plague in 1630 did not stop it. It used to be set in the current Piazza Cermenati and porticoed Piazza XX Settembre. A coloured group of stands livened that historical space until a few years ago… when, due to some accessibility problems, was moved to a decentralized area.
Among the fascinating crown of ancient commercial houses in Piazza Cermenati – so called in honour of the local geologist and Alpinist Mario Cermenati (1868-1924) – rises the fifteenth-century "Prepositura", with porticoed courtyards and internal arcades. The neoclassical Palazzetto del Pretorio the Palazzo delle Paure, a neo-Gothic reconstruction of the Dogana (customs house) over the ruins of the Medieval Town Hall, with the Visconti’s coat of arms still visible. Don't miss San Giovanni, the first church in Lecco, built in the 10th century and the accompanying Borgo of San Giovanni, a medieval district. The church of San Martino is Baroque while the Basilica of San Nicolo' is Romanesque with a tall slender bell tower.
The colorful Malpensata district is a neighborhood of splashy-bright buildings, and the boat harbour is, of course, a pageant of bright hues bobbing on the water.
Been there? Done that? Share your experience and tips!
Haven't visited yet? Have questions about Lecco? Ask them here!
Explore nearby towns
Abbadia Lariana is a lovely town in the province of Lecco on the shore of Lake Como.
Located just 40 kilometers from Milan, you'd think Annone di Brianza would be more crowded, but instead offers a more placid lake experience.
The name Oggiono is derived from Augionus (place full of water), fitting because the town sits between Lake Annone, and Lake Garlatte and Lake Pulsiano.