Walking through the city of Lecco, certain places can be found that bear witness to its past: the Vallo delle Mura (Valley of the Walls) lies at the top of Via Bovara and is what remains of the rampart of Porta di Vianova. 

In fact, the city was once a fortified village. In 1336, Azzone Visconti ordered the construction of the triangular-shaped walls that used to encompass the village and the castle that stood on the shore of Lake Como. The Torre Viscontea and the Vallo delle Mura are parts of the city walls that can be seen today; the body of the western tower acts as a base for the Campanile di San Nicolò. 

The walls of the village, overlooking Lake Como, gave access to the port, which was strictly controlled by the Porta di Santo Stefano. To the north-east, Porta Nuova led to Valsassina, the only way to reach the towns around the lake by land. To the south-east lay the gate that led to Bergamo, on the border with the Venetian Republic. 

The final restorations were carried out in 1551 to adapt to the new techniques of warfare that made use of artillery: the defences of the three gates were reinforced; beyond the moat, battlements were constructed and the large round tower, a gun emplacement, was completed at the side of the Basilica di San Nicolò. The castle was later dismantled and the walls were demolished after 1782, when Emperor Joseph II decreed the abolition of the military fortress of Lecco.

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