Bellano

Bellano is a town of about 3,400 inhabitants that overlooks the eastern shore of Lake Como, in the province of Lecco, and 25 km from the provincial capital.

The municipal are extends from the waters of the lake to the top of Mount Muggio at 1,799 metres above sea level thanks to the incorporation of the Municipality of Vendrogno which took place on January 1, 2020.

The village is known as “The Town of Artists” thanks to the extraordinary concentration of citizens who have distinguished themselves, and still distinguish themselves, in the spheres of writing and poetry, painting and sculpture, music and theatre as well as photography. This aspect, together with the town’s naturalistic, historical-artistic, cultural and gastronomic heritage have led to the achievement of the important Orange Flag logo awarded by the Italian Touring Club, while the projects of care and enhancement of the environment through targeted renewable energy, recycling and green space interventions have led to the town being awarded the “Comuni Fioriti” Mark of Quality.

OUR LOCATION

Bellano is located on the Lecco side of Lake Como about halfway between Colico and Lecco in the central area of the lake. It is between 50 and 100 km from northern Italy’s main airports and is about 25 km from Lecco.

HOW TO GET THERE BY TRAIN

Bellano is one of the stops on the Milan – Tirano and Tirano – Milan line
Stops along the line: Milano Centrale – Monza – Lecco – Varenna – Bellano – Colico – Morbegno – Sondrio – Tresenda/Aprica/Teglio – Tirano
Info: www.trenord.it

The Trenord website contains timetables, prices and useful information about special itineraries.

HOW TO GET THERE BY BOAT/HYDROFOIL

Bellano is one of the stops on the route of Como – Colico and Colico-Como route run by Navigazione Laghi: www.navigazionelaghi.it

The Navigazione Laghi website contains timetables, prices and useful information about special itineraries and cruises.

HOW TO ARRIVE BY FERRY

You can embark your vehicle using the vehicle ferry service that connects the towns of Cadenabbia, Menaggio, Bellagio and Varenna. After disembarking in Varenna, continue northwards towards Bellano.

HOW TO GET THERE BY PLANE

The nearest airports are Milan Linate, Milan Malpensa and Bergamo Orio al Serio.

HOW TO GET THERE BY CAR

From the south
From Milan, take the Lake Como and Spluga Highway 36. Take the Bellano – Valsassina Nord exit. Or, if you want to drive through all the towns and villages on the lake, exit at Abbadia Lariana and take the Lake Como Provincial Road 72, passing through the towns of Abbadia, Mandello del Lario, Lierna, Varenna and finally Bellano.

From the north
From Valtellina, take the Lake Como and Spluga Highway 36. Take the Bellano – Valsassina Nord exit. Or, if you want to drive through all the towns and villages on the lake, take the Lake Como Provincial Road 72,  passing through the towns of Colico, Dorio, Dervio and finally Bellano.

From the East

From Valsassina take the Valsassina Strada Provinciale 62

The latest title bestowed upon the town is that of “City that Law” conferred by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture.

The old town center lies on the right bank of the alluvial fan that the River Pioverna has formed over the years at the point where it flows into the lake; while on the left we find the more modern part of the village, which takes the name of Coltogno.

The historical center, characterized by a network of orthogonal streets typical of a Roman castrum, has a mainly medieval appearance due to the narrow streets (the “contrade”) which provide coolness in summer, the large pre-positural church of Santi Giorgio, Nazaro e Celso, the eighteenth-century patrician palaces with their stone portals, courtyards, entrance halls and engrave heraldic coats of arms and the large ancient port, a sign of the importance that the transport of people and goods by lake has had over time.

Coltogno, on the other hand, is home to most of the services that the town offers: the railway and bus stations, the Carabinieri and Fire Brigade barracks, the headquarters of the Bellanese Rescue Service and the Civil Defense. In this area it is possible to find most of the modern constructions as in the past there were only cultivated fields, especially vines, thanks to the south-facing exposure that guarantees an excellent sunshine.

Lago di Como

The town of Bellano seen from above

The two areas separated by the Pioverna are well connected by the lakeside promenade which is one of the prettiest in the Lario area thanks to the panorama it offers on the widest point of the lake and from where it is possible to admire spectacular sunsets. Near the mouth of the river there are grass areas equipped with games for children, the lido with swimming pools, the Sailing Club that allows everyone to fully experience the lake, a multipurpose sports field, the gardens of the heliport where many cultural events are held with strong appeal such as the Festival Bellano Lirica and the new multipurpose structure in the shape of a sail that takes the name of Palasole.

Behind the town, the hinterland is characterized by numerous hamlets and ancient villages, populated to varying extents but rich in history. In particular, each center has a church or an oratory, making the municipal territory a veritable constellation of bell towers. Among the most important ones, in addition to the prepositural church, we find the church of Santa Marta in the historic center which houses an important wooden group of nine life-size statues depicting the deposition of Christ. This is attributed to the sculptor Angelo del Maino and has been dated between the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century; the Baroque Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Lacrime in Lezzeno which houses a plaster tondo, said to have wept tears of blood in 1688; the church of Santi Rocco e Sebastian built to protect passers-by and against plagues along the Sentiero del Viandante, the ancient road that crosses the entire eastern shore of the lake, and which today also serves as a shrine to Bellano’s fallen soldiers of all wars, and lastly the parish church of San Lorenzo in Vendrogno, which once housed the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, whose great hall, rich in furnishings and wooden decorations, is still preserved.

Behind the old town is the Orrido di Bellano: a spectacular canyon carved by the tumultuous waters of the River Pioverna and waterfalls that make the water rumble between the high rock walls, all visitable thanks to a system of walkways that have been anchored to the stone.

Orrido di Bellano

Behind the old town is the Orrido di Bellano: a spectacular canyon carved by the tumultuous waters of the River Pioverna , which over the centuries has formed narrow passages in the rock creating beautiful caves and grottoes, as well as waterfalls that make the water rumble between the high rock walls, all visitable thanks to a system of walkways that have been anchored to the stone. At the entrance to the site is the Ca’ del Diavol: an ancient defense tower which, in the collective imagination, evokes fears and satanic rituals due to the numerous legends and frescoes depicting the devil and other mythological figures.

Continuing the climb up the slopes of Monte Muggio, you arrive at the groups of buildings of the former Vendrogno Municipality, where it is still possible to find numerous traces of past agricultural and pastoral life.  As proof of this, in the central Via Roma it is possible to visit the Museum of Milk and the History of Muggiasca (MUU) set up inside the old dairy. This group of villages and mountain pastures of the old municipality constitutes the Muggiasca, a very sunny area due to its south-facing exposure, from where it is possible to admire a broad panorama that ranges from the blue of the lake to the green of the Valsassina and the grey of the Grigna, and also the distant but recognizable massif of Monte Rosa. The villages, linked by a dense network of paths and mule tracks that can still be used today, are characterized by the radial layout of the buildings: in the center are the church and the houses, around them the stables and in general the buildings for housing animals and equipment.

Lago di Como

The town of Bellano seen from above

Nowadays the most developed sector of the town is tourism, thanks to the natural and artistic beauties that the village offers to visitors; however, until the last century the vocation of Bellano was productive: in fact, there were many factories in the area that, with their high chimneys, inspired to the Bellano writer Antonio Balbiani the nickname of “Little Manchester of the Lario”. Vendrogno, on the other hand, has changed from its tradition of agriculture and livestock breeding to a touristic one, above all for its natural beauty: already between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the Second World War, it had become a renowned health resort mentioned in many guides. In spite of this, in modern times, there is a rediscovery of the typical working activities of the mountain pastures scattered in the Muggiasca.

Galleria fotografica

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