The district stands on the first hills to the north-east of the urban centre and runs parallel to the course of the river Gerenzone.

San Giovanni is the first of the ancient residential centres of the Gerenzone Valley (of which Rancio, Laorca and Malavedo are also part) that are encountered on leaving the centre of Lecco behind.
During the golden age of the iron and steel industry, the ancient village of San Giovanni had the highest number of furnaces of the entire territory of Lecco, which sprang up along the course of the very precious river Gerenzone. Yet, alongside the noise of the beating that marked the fervent, industrious life of the district, it was possible on passing by to hear music (and in this case, it can still be heard!). In San Giovanni, a musical group of very ancient origin is still active today. It was founded at the start of the nineteenth century and named after Giuseppe Verdi. In the past, it had the honour of being conducted by the composer Amilcare Ponchielli.

The origin of the name: The municipality took the name of the church that stood at its heart (dedicated to the favourite disciple of Jesus, John the Evangelist) that historically was the parish church of the whole Gerenzone Valley. Later, the phrase “alla Castagna” was added to San Giovanni, a reference to the chestnut: a long-lived, strong and vigorous tree, of which there seems to have been examples in the municipality’s central square. The image of the chestnut symbolises the strength and vigour of the community of San Giovanni.
Quarters: Varigione, Cavalesino, Cereda and Cafrancoscio.
Inhabitants’ nickname: In the industrious San Giovanni district, the name is the rather sarcastic “Scolda banch”, that is, “bench warmer”: it indicates those who attend school but fail to benefit from it. 

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