Tour 11 - Varenna and the Medieval Castle of Vezio

Arrival at Varenna, a leading town on the shore of the lake of Lecco, where in 1169 the inhabitants of the isle Comacina found a way out after the destruction of their isle by the inhabitants of Como. For this reason it is also named INSULA NOVA (new isle). Maybe the settlement was previous as it can be recognized the typical Roman grid in the street structure. Indeed in the inhabited area there is the main square from which the streets of the town, almost fanning out, branch off like the forum in ancient Roman settlements.
In the square there is the church of S. Giorgio built at the beginning of the 14th century, and subsequently modified. On the façade there is a fresco portraying S. Cristoforo, and inside there are works of the 15th century. In the same square there are two other important buildings: the aisleless Romanesque church of S. Giovanni Battista, with frescos of the 14th century and the oratory of S. Maria delle Grazie of the 17th century.
Not less important are two magnificent buildings in the southern part of the village: villa Cipressi, a building of the 16th century, completely rebuilt at the end of the 19th century and that now is an hotel, where apart the villa it is possile to admire the wonderful terraced gardens connected by stairs. Moreover, on the path that leads to Fiumelatte, there is the famous Villa Monastero, obtained from the ancient Cistercian convent of S. Maria of the 17th century, then a patrician house. Nowadays it is venue of conferences and institute of national studies.
Outside the village of Varenna, continuing southern, one suddenly finds the river Fiumelatte that rises from the lowest layers of Moncodeno. It is the smallest river in Italy, it is only 250 m long. Its name comes from the typical foam of the stream so that it reminds milk.
Over Varenna there is Perledo, where there is the Castle of Vezio. At the beginning of the Val d’Esino and because of its dominating position this medieval castle was part of a system of fortifications that surveyed the communication routes of the lake and those among the valleys.
The castles of Dervio and Corenno Plinio, and, on the opposite shore of the lake, the Castle of Menaggio and of Rezzonico, and the Castle of Medeghino in Musso were also part of the system of fortifications.
Path of the wayfarer:
Escursioni proposte: From Varenna to Lierna
Escursioni proposte: From Varenna to Bellano
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Escursioni proposte: Tour 11 (460Kb)