“That branch of the lake of Como, which extends towards the south, is enclosed by two unbroken chains of mountains” 

(A. Manzoni, The Betrothed, chap. 1)

In Lecco, you can visit the places that inspired one of the greatest novels in Italian literature, The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni. Here, the magic of literature lives again in the evocative places of the Manzoni Itinerary.

You can experience this itinerary on your own or accompanied by a certified tour guide. Many places described in the novel are private buildings, therefore not accessible. You can follow the route on foot, by bicycle, by car or using public transport.

Starting point: Villa Manzoni

The most important place and starting point of this itinerary is Villa Manzoni, which can be reached by foot in about 10 minutes from the railway station. This was one of writer’s family residences, and today it is the Manzoni Museum.

Inside the villa you can find antique furniture, some of the writer’s belongings and numerous prints and engravings related to the novel. You will also find the original editions of The Bethrothed from 1827 and 1840, the latter illustrated by Francesco Gonin and curated by the author. The museum also preserves translations of this novel in various languages and the most important illustrated editions. You will have the pleasure of admiring the illustrations of some very famous and honorable artists such as Gaetano Previati, Aligi Sassu, Giorgio De Chirico, and many others.

City centre

Villa Manzoni is a short walk of between 10 and 15 minutes from the city centre where evidence can be seen of the period when Lecco was a fortified mediaeval village, including the remains of the walls and the Visconti tower.

The Fishermen’s Village

The route passes near the lake on the way to the River Adda and soon arrives at Pescarenico, the old fishermen’s village. Crossing “Piazza Manzoni” with its monument dedicated to the writer, the Azzone Visconti Bridge is reached, the very bridge that, according to Manzoni, marks the end of Lake Como and the beginning of the River Adda: “The bridge which there joints the two banks, […] marks the point where the lake ends, and the Adda again begins.”

Pescarenico

“Pescarenico is a little town on the left bank of the Adda, or rather, we should say, of the lake, a few paces below the bridge; a group of houses, inhabited for the most part by fishermen, and adorned here and there with nets hung out to dry.”

Pescarenico still retains its past charm, with narrow streets and colourful houses. Visitors can enjoy the view from one of the many bars and restaurants or take a walk in the park along the River Adda.

The traditional Lake Como boat, known as a “lucia” after the novel’s heroine, who boarded one to make her escape, can be found in Pescarenico, close to the pier. Nearby, a sign invokes Lucia’s celebrated lines when she bids farewell to the mountains: “Farewell, ye mountains rising from the waters, and pointing to the heavens! Ye varied summits, familiar to him who has been brought up among you, and impressed upon his mind as clearly as the countenance of his dearest friends!”A church dedicated to San Materno and the former Convent of Fra’ Cristoforo can be visited in Piazza Padre Cristoforo.

Acquate and Olate

In the upper part of the city lie Acquate and Olate, where the novel’s protagonists were said to have been born.

A property traditionally known as the House of Lucia can be found in Acquate, along with the Bravi’s Tabernacle, where the events of the novel begin on the 7th of November, 1628, Don Rodrigo’s Mansion and Don Abbondio’s Church. There is another residence that claims to be the House of Lucia in Olate.

Chiuso

Another district that plays a part in the novel is Chiuso, where visits can be made to the “Casa del Sarto” and the Church of Beato Serafino, said to be the place where the conversion of the Unnamed took place.

Castle of the Unnamed

Just outside the city in Somasca (a district in Vercurago), the remains of the fortress that inspired the Castle of the Unnamed can be seen: “From the height of this castle, like an eagle from his bloody nest, the savage nobleman surveyed every spot where man could tread, and heard no human sound above him”.

The number 1 bus runs from Pescarenico to Chiuso, from where it is a 15-minute walk to the Vercurago traffic lights. Alternatively, take bus number 7 to Calolziocorte. 

By car, follow the signs for “Santuario di San Girolamo”. From there, continue on foot for about 30 minutes along Via delle Cappelle, then take the path to the castle.

The castle can be reached on foot from Lecco along the Sentiero Rotary.

Resegone

“In the Lombard dialect, it is called Resegone because, in truth, seen in profile, its many peaks resemble the teeth of a saw.”

“But turning round, after a moment or two, he beheld along the horizon that rugged ridge of mountains: he beheld, distinct and elevated among these, his own Resegone, and felt his blood curdle within him; then indulging for a few minutes in a mournful look in that direction, he slowly and sadly turned round…”Monte Resegone is mentioned more than once in Manzoni’s novel and is an important location on the Manzoni Itinerary.

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