Category Archives: Attractions

Passo del Ghisallo

At 754 meters above sea level there’s a top loved by all cyclists who, in order to achieve this, must overcome a long series of switchbacks with continuous sprints uphill and  a path gradient of 9%, with peaks of 14% on the one hand, and 10% from the other side called Passo del Ghisallo.

Once on top you will find a sanctuary, that is the Santuario della Madonna del Ghisallo, a panoramic terrace, the cycling Museum, a restaurant and a convenient pay and display car park.

The two wheel lovers can’t miss the small shrine dedicated to the patron saint of the cyclists; here many professionals and big names in cycling have left small memories, memorabilia, autographed t-shirts and even bicycles that have been exhibited on the walls for years. Among the many there are also those of Bartali and Coppi, in addition to the hour record one of Moser  (1984).

Ghisallo

Through the years donations have become so many that at one point it has been necessary to find a different solution to the sanctuary, and so the Cycling Museum was build. It opened in 2006 and it occupies an area on 3 floors and can be visited at an additional charge.

On the terrace you can admire the monument dedicated to Coppi, Bartali and Fiorenzo Magni but not only that; from the balustrade you can enjoy a spectacular scenery: the tops of the mountains in Valtellina, the Grigna and one part of Lake Como.

Passo del Ghisallo dintorni Lago di Como

The bar, located just a few steps away, has got seating inside and a beer garden. There you can stop for a quick refreshment, enjoy an excellent ice cream, a drink, or a beer. If peckish you can taste the dishes of the House or its inviting snacks.

Finally, if you would like to take a walk into the woods you may reach Piano Rancio and get to Monte San Primo where lawns, paths and shelters allow you to relax or do some hiking.

Villa Monastero, one of the most beautiful villas of the Como Lake

At the beginning of the enchanting village of Varenna there is Villa Monastero, a beautiful building that holds artistic and architectural treasures, as well as an amazing gardens, and which is reflected in the calm waters of the lake

The History of Villa Monastero

Built on the ruins of a Cistercian monastery (based on the legend the nuns were transferred here because they were used to a “too joyous behaviour”), it was restored several times until it became a place of holidays between 1500 and 1600, with the acquisition by the family Mornico; among the whole building the little church was kept public to allow observants to use it.

Lelio Mornico, son of Paolo, who bought the property, made some changes and the villa was so called Leliana

Then it passed to other owners that brought several changes until finally Walter Erich Jacob Kees made those changes, both to the villa and the garden, who has given the property the aspect that it has now: He built up the 3 arches loggia, a dock in the northern area, the small temple, fountains, the kafee-haus, and he furnished the internal area.

Villa Monastero

He owned the property for a short period of time because the government confiscated it.

At the end the building passed in the hands of Marco de Marchi, who donated it, and everything was inside it, in public hands after his death.

Open to visitors during the 1940 it was then changed into a congress centre and in the 1954 one of the rooms was entitled to Enrico Fermi; in the 1977 it became part of the properties of the National Council of research and is now managed by the Lecco Province.

Visit to the Villa

Just passed the ticket office you have access to the beautiful park; walking on the boulevard you can admire the breath-taking view: the beautiful lake and the towns washed by its waters; in short you can admire there exotic plants, flowers, fountains and discover views before being in front of the entrance of the villa

Let’s go inside Villa Monastero

Crossing the threshold, the atrium floor gets your attention as it still is the original seventeenth-century floor wanted by Mornico; carefully observing the tiles you can admire its three-dimensional effect before staring at the imposing staircase made with the black marble of Varenna, the red and yellow one of Verona, the white one of Carrara and some peach blossoms. Here are proudly displayed the painted majolica panels depicting portraits of philosophers, musicians, artists and German scientists, as well as some large stuccos and two bronze lamps.

Villa Monastero

Among the rooms you can visit the south-east one (or room Kennedy), reserved for Carlotta Kees and characterized by some vintage furniture (chests of drawers, a clock, the candlesticks, the prie-dieu, the chair, the table and some paintings), the parlour placed on the side, the striking black room with its beautiful Varenna’s black marble fireplace and its Flemish tapestry, the red room with its neo-rococo furniture, the white marble fireplace and the eighteenth century tapestry, the Mornico  parlour, the master bedroom, the music room with two beautiful baby grand pianos, the living room with oriental furnishings and references to the Japanese style, as well as conference rooms and board ones.

What is astonishing is the bathroom, also called “bath of King Farouk “. Made in Pompeian style, with references to the Japanese style, it has a blue and pale blue tiled tub with steps, which are located next to marble obelisks. Embellished with panels depicting mermaids, merfolk and other elements that recall the marine life, it is preceded by a room with a toilet, a bidet, a coffee table, a wardrobe and an armchair.

Villa Monastero Re Faruk

Villa Monastero’s Garden

The visit to the gardens continues with ups and downs among palms, dragon trees, citrus trees, oleanders, rare and exotic plants; during the visit you can admire statues, fountains, artfully placed vases and temples; to rest, in addition to the comfortable benches scattered along the way, there is a small café that offers customers some seating overlooking the lake.

Villa Monastero Giardino

Visit the Villa: already from the start of the tour, just behind the ticket office, there are beautiful flowerbeds that offer amazing shows in springer time; Looking at right instead the view is fashinating watching the clear waters extending to Bellagio and more.

Vista da Villa Monastero

At a first stage we meet the little temple built by Kees, sculptures and fountains, then finally there is also the loggia.

The walking through the garden always gives surprise for the panorama and the botanic species alongside the boardwalk both on the left and right end side; the wonderful tour through plants flowers and fruits ends with visit to the Kaffe-Haus, view point on the amazing and unique panorama.

Accessibility

Within the area of Villa Monastero, people with moving problems is able to move safely and without any problem to the Museum Home; po get to the House there is the option of an electric shuttle while inside all the existing architectural barriers have been removed where possible to be substituted by elevators and ramps.

Villa Monastero gradini

The gardens are just partially accessible anyway because the second half of them are full of stairs and steps that make the access really difficult. Hide Keyboard

Life Electric, a tribute to Alessandro Volta on the Como Lake

Walking through the Lakeside of Como it is possible to see, within the first lagoon of the Como Lake, at the end of the breakwater, “Life Electric”, the monument in memory of Alessandro Volta who was born in the city.

The monument was designed by the famous architect Daniel Libeskind who offered it to the municipality, and with his word he explain its meaning “Life Electric is inspired by the electrical tension that occurs between the two poles of a battery, Volta’s great gift to humanity. The very shape of this work has arisen from my in-depth research on the representation of architectural energy. The piece combines the natural elements of light, wind and water. An installation, a physical and ideal gateway open to the twenty-first century

14,25 mts high from the base, it mixes scientific and natural elements, and is inspired to the 2 poles of a battery. It is eco-friendly and, not as a case, the choice for its lighting is led based.

Life Electric, a monument in the centre of the lake

Inaugurated on October 2nd, 2015, can be reached through the walk entering the lake facing what nature offer is in that moment: flashing of the sun on the water, fresh spray of water off the lake, wind, etc.

The entrance is safe and allows the access to a lot of people at the same time; there are railings along the walk where it is possible to stay and see the City of Como, the panorama all around and the boats moving in the lake from a different perspective. Youngest people will be attracted from swans and ducks swimming all around.

LIfe Electric Como

Just below the installation you must enjoy the landscape, take some pictures or relax along the edge; the location suggests to stay enjoying this corner of the city floating on the waters of the lake, an island in the waves, a new and unusual way to experience Como.

In the evening, walking the footbridge is even more fascinating, the show of a lighted Como is romantic and unforgettable; if you go to Como then, visiting Life Electric gives you a new view of this beautiful city.
If you decide to visit it in a windy or cold day, be careful about your wearing because the air here is colder than on the land.

 

New opening Villas 2018 of the Como Lake

With springtime coming the wonderful villas of the Como Lake, that have been closed during wintertime – or at least have opened just some days – are ready to open their doors to public.

It is now the time to prepare to open our eyes and admire the beauty of the furniture, the perfumed gardens with their coloured flowers and rare trees, amazing views and romantic corners.

Let yourself be inspired by the culture and history, lose yourself in romantic corners of the gardens, admire the blooms, rare and exotic plants and discover the jewels of Como Lake.

New opening Villas 2018 of the Como Lake

In early March Villa Monastero introduces again its daily opening, so if you want to visit it you can do it every day from 10 am to 5 pm. In the next months the opening will be longer:

April from 10 am to 6 pm;

May, June, July and August from 9.30 am to 7 pm;

September from 9.30 to 6 pm;

October and 1 November from 10 am to 6 pm.

The Museum House, except for August, is not open every day:

In March it will be possible to visit it on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as on non working days, from 10 am to 5 pm;

In april on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as on non working days, from 10 am to 6 pm;

In May on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and non working days from 9.30 to 7 pm;

In June and July, from Tuesday to Sunday and non working days from 9.30 pm to 7 pm;

In august, every day from 9.30 to 7 pm;

In September, from Tuesday to Sunday and non working days from 9.30 to 6 pm;

Finally from October to the 1st November, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and non working days from 10 am to 6 pm.

For further information please visit the official website (http://www.villamonastero.eu) for possible changes of the opening time, time of the ticket office and further information.

 

Giardini di Villa Monastero

About the other villas, here following information about Villa Carlotta, which re open its doors on March 23 and is accessible from 9 am to 7.30 pm.

Here you can see the romantic “Amore e Psiche” by Canova or the “Last kiss of Romeo and Juliet” by Hayez.

Also in this case the opening time will be longer in the next months:

From 1st October to 28 October is from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm; from 29 october to 4 november, from 10 am to 7 pm.

During the Immacolata period (7-8-9 of December) it is open from 10 am to 5 pm.

Also in this case, please visit the official website (www.villacarlotta.it) for changes and ticket office opening time.

On March 17th it is time of Villa del Balbianello that can be visited every day from 10 am to 6 pm except on Mondays and Wednesdays non working. Its official website is www.visitfai.it/villadelbalbianello for every checks.

The Gardens of Villa Melzi, finally will be opened since March 24 to October 31, from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm (official website: www.giardinidivillamelzi.it).

These wonderful houses will be opened soon, as well as the others that are opened and accessible to public during the whole year.

What to do and see in Argegno

Travelling along the Statale Regina, looking at the wonderful panorama offered by the lake, here is Argegno, nice village hiding very real pearls. In the centre of the town there is a comfortable parking where leaving the car and move to discover the beauties of the place.

But what can be seen in Argegno?

In a few steps it is possible to reach the centre where, around a fountain, there are restaurants, cafes and also a winery; meeting the place there is instead the historical area made of nice alleys, strict houses one placed on the other, porticos and suggestive glimpses.

The centre of Argegno

In the centre there is the Medieval Area, the oldest one, while in the upper area there is the most recent and modern town. In the lower area it is a jump in the past, walking down through Vicolo Mulini where, in the past, there was a small river, known as Roggia Molinara, that allowed to drive the waters of the Telo River to give energy to 4 mills to grind wheat and chestnuts.

Argegno

The mills, still existing, today are private houses.

In Argegno there are a lot of things to see; going towards the riverside there is the area of the factories and then it is possible to walk down to the Romanic Bridge still well preserved. From the bridge it is possible, over the road passing through the village, to enjoy the wonderful lake view where the blue waters contrast to the colours of the mountains around.

Argegno Ponte

Going forward in discovering the village it is possible to reach the mouth of the River Telo and to the small pier with 2 docks, were boats seem to be anxious to leave through the lake again. In the same area there is the beach club and the Church of the Santissima Trinità. From the space in front of the pier the panorama is really amazing; waters are all around the Isola Comacina and a piece of Sala Comacina can be seen.

Argegno

Turning back the other way around, to the centre of the village, the view is not the classic panorama of the village with houses one lying on the others, but due to the grade, they seems to climb on each other and looks like the typical panorama of the Liguria coasts.

Between the churches and the lakeside

Among the houses it appears the bell tower of the Santa Margherita Church, a little bit on the side and very scenic, closed to the cemetery around 200 metres at the south of the village. Inside the church there are 3 naves (the last one of which built back in the 800th) and polygonal apse. At the right end side there are the bell tower and the sacristy, not outside but inside the building.

Just outside one of these there is the Sculpture of Santa Margherita, further than paintings illustrating Santa Margherita, the Croix and Saint Thomas.

It is difficult to stop watching at the panorama appearing to whom look at this place, however also the Church of the Saint Trinity must be visited. In Neo Romanic style it was built in 1600 and sanctify in 1929 by Bishop Adolfo Pagani. On the front there are the mosaics of the 4 evangelists, of Saint Anna (Protector of Argegno), Saint Abbondio (protector of Como) and the rose window.

Argegno Chiesa SS Trinità

Inside the church, looking upside, it is possible to notice the roof which looks like a shed. Looking to the entrance instead the wonderful rose window with amazing colours is on top of the original pipe organ, already existing in the previous ancient church, sustained  by 2 marble holy water font.

A lot of sculpture can be admired within the church:  Virgin Maria, Saint Joseph, Saint Teresina, Saint Antony and the Sacred Heart. On the left hand side there is a restructured painting of the Nativity.

The area is not a quite space, in fact in front of the church there is the lido where in the summers a lot of people have meetings looking for fresh water to swim in. The Lido is perfect for everyone who wants to have an aperitif and taste something on the side of the waters of the Como Lake enjoying the panorama.

The Lido is not just a beach with swimming pool, but also a restaurant, a pub and a pizzeria where in the Friday nights music shows are usually offered.

Lido di Argegno

Walking up the stairway on the left hand side of the church and walking ahead, turning right, there is the cable car that gets people up to the Pigra Viewpoint, actually known as the “Terrace of the lake”.

A climb quiet and panoramic offering amazing views. The high gap from the cable car to the viewpoint is 650 meter and once on top the view will show the high numbers of villages like Laglio, Nesso, Argegno, Lezzeno, Bellagio, Varenna, Punta Balbianello, Comacina Island. But it is not enough because the mountains reflected in the lake can be now admired in a new perspective: the Gordona Rock, The San Primo Mountain, the Grigna, the Grignetta and the Pizzo dei Tre Signori become an amazing context.

Argegno Funivia Pigra

Once on the top, the view is really incredible, but a visit to the village is a must, to its characteristics glimpse, the nice houses with rock face among more modern homes, its fountains and the churches (Santa Margherita and San Rocco). For walking lovers walking from here it is possible to reach the Colonno Alp or the Monte Galbiga.

Argegno, even being a small village, is a real pearl to be visited. Once in your heart you will never be able to forget it.

What to see at the Angera Rock

The Angera Rock is a place full of charme and culture. It is a must to go there when visiting Angera. It is sitting in a panoramic place on the top of a rocky spur on the upper side of the Maggiore Lake.

Originally owned by Archiepiscopal Table it becomes property of the Visconti Family on 1384; in the 1449 is bought by Vitaliano Borromeo and is still now property of the family.

Visiting the Angera Rock

It is possible to reach the Angera Rock by car and parking at the small park in front of it. After having paid the ticket and just behind the ticket office there is the paved street that in few steps drive people just at the building.

On the left hand side there is the amazing panorama of the Maggiore Lake and Arona; on the right hand side there is the building, while just in front there is the bar.

Vista dalla Rocca di Angera

Just inside, in the big square, it is possible both to access directly to the Doll and Toys Museum or staying looking at the Romanesque covering of the sarcophagus dated back to the VII Century and the historical room with the Press.

Tinaia alla Rocca di Angera

The Dolls and Toys’ Museum

The Museum of Dolls and childhood fashion of the Angera Rock was desired by Princess Bona Borromeo back in 1988 and has grown thank to its assistants and benefactors.

What in the past was shown inside the Petit Musée du Costume in Tours (collected with love by Robert Pesché and his wife Madame Gisèle Pesché) is now exposed in these rooms, after the Petit Musée risked to lose everything due to the lack of financing.

In this Museum, organized in 12 rooms, it is possible to admire dolls coming from different ages and made of various materials. The goal of the Museum, through a linear time itinerary, is to show the changes of this kind of game during the years.

Museo della bambola e del giocattolo Rocca di Angera

The dolls, well dressed and with their annexed trousseau while making particular activities, are posed in specific cases one after the other. Bilingual panels illustrate the materials they are made of and the related characteristics. For example the ceramics is easy to work and to wash, and became building material due to its strength.

It is easy to stop astonished in front of the dolls with nice faces and well defined particulars. Small dolls well dressed represent the fashion of the relative age. Really impressive are the “Frozen Charlie”, fully made of shiny porcelain with their nice colours and without joints, or the French “Mannequin Dolls” with their original trousseaus.

Museo della bambola e del giocattolo Rocca di Angera

Furthermore in the Museum it is possible to see miniatures of furniture of the collection of Roberta della Seta Sommi Picenardi, and also the merry-go-round horses in the area with the Japanese dolls.

Most of the dolls are made of mix of materials: wood, porcelain, papier-mâché. There are also the nice wax dolls, typical from the second half of the 19th Century.

Some of them are really bizarre, like the ones that offer the possibility to open their bell to see their internal mechanism allowing them to walk, or to send kisses. Particular is the “Gibson Girl” doll, inspired to the character created by the designer Charles Dana Gibson.

And how to forget the old majolica from Europe and Far East.

Historical rooms and medieval garden

Looking around the rooms of the Angera Rock, it is possible to find some rooms that, through furniture and paintings tell people about stories and myths.

An example of what we mean is the Mythologic Room, where myths of Atlanta and Ippomene are the subjects of a painting made by Guido Reni. Another example is the one of Apollo and Marsia. In the Room of the Justice, with the paintings of the Master of Angera, there are represented the achievements of Ottone Visconti, archbishop of Milan, who fight against Napo della Torre who was defeated in Desio in the 1277.

Rocca d'Angera

Over the register there are 3 astronomical and astrological subjects.

To enjoy an amazing view it is necessary to go on top of the tower (if you suffer of acrophobia or claustrophobia the last meters could annoy): from here you it is possible to admire the Maggiore Lake and Arona, just in front of the Rock, other than the Alps and Prealps.

Obviously, visiting the Angera Rock, you can avoid to visit the Medieval Garden with the Garden of the Small Grasses, divided in small flowerbeds with odoriferous and medical grasses. Walking through the garden you can see the orchard and the small forest as well, just below the Rock which dominates the whole area.

Giardino Medievale Rocca di Angera

An afternoon at the Angera Rock means entering a fairy-tale atmosphere, like jumping in the past, enjoy amazing viewpoints. If at the end of the visit there is some more time available do not forget to visit the town: you will be really satisfied of it.

La Ca di Radio Vecc in Bellano

In Bellano, hidden like a precious rock in a chest, there is the “Ca di Radio Vecc” (House of old radio), a nice small museum managed with love and passion by Mr. Gianpaolo and his wife Rina. Entering the exhibition open the doors of a new old world. The owners drive the visitors illustrating the exposed pieces and their importance.

In over 50 years, Mr. GianPaolo Panatti has patiently found, preserved, reconditioned unique and original pieces that are now exposed in the museum and, with a little bit of luck, can also be seen functioning. Listen to a radio dated back to 1938, with a warm and delicate sound, seems impossible but becomes reality in this place.

Do not expect to pay a ticket to enter! Instead you will be greeted by Mr. Or Mrs. Panatti that will start exposing their passion for these pieces, organized by year, and narrating curiosities and anecdoties.

The place is not wide, ma the pieces inside are priceless, some of them are even rare. Every radio, every object is a jump in the past, ages that will never come back..

The first interesting piece is a Marconi Fono, dated back to 1923, then a BBC, a wonderful radio that have the appearance of a cat face, a radio with an original parchment and loudspeaker to be inserted.

Radios dated back to 1933 have the appearance of a small cupola; just in later times the design start changing becoming more squared off. Some of the models were highly expensive at least for their time. This is the case of an “Audiola” that costed 800 Italian Lira in the early 1900; another one, whose cost was due to new materials like steel, costed 1000 Italian Lira.

Every radio is a sort of masterpiece; some of them were hand worked realized with passion and precision which was their added value.

Some of the Radio exposed where self made, realized by lovers who preferred build their own model. They are not “easy” pieces being made of complexity, ideas and manual skills.

One of the radios shown has a circle form, with external louder, built in a period  where they were used to build incorporated louder. This radio made of two separate pieces, was called “the Martian” because the two pieces do not relate eachother.

Getting closer to recent day, in the museum there are the “Rural Radio”, the ones used during the fascist period, in the farmlands, to allow people to listen to news, or also a “Littoriale”, a rare example of radio that the Dux was used to send to war orphans.

La Ca di Radio Vecc, European ande American radio

La Ca di Radio Vecc

It is impressive the comparison between the radios from Europe and the ones from the USA; the last had, at least at the beginning, radio and speaker split while the Europeans had internal speaker. Also the USA models were finely elaborated, with veining representing the quality of the woods. One of the exposed radios has veining that look like to show a fox face. The wood externals were produced by artisans who were used to produce all handmade.

Among the different kind of radios also the first models of satellite radio which, in the 60s, cost about 500 lire. The exposed model is an Imca, that had to be booked at least one year earlier and for which two instalments were due: one at the booking, 500 Lire, and balance at the delivery, further 500 Lira.

For brand lovers, in the 60s particular radio were produced. Radios illustrated with bottle of Coke, bottle of Cynar, the Gyllette shave cream. Also the one put on the vespa in the movie “Vacanze Romane”.

La Ca di Radio Vecc Bellano

It’s not all: the radio used by German during the war to listen to Radio Londra, the Brionvega series like the one at the Moma, trumpet gramophones, the phonograph of Edison, the disc of the historical hand pipe organ, a sort of TV gramophone old style.

A special section is dedicated to televisions from the most ancient to the most recent, passing through special models like the one cathodic Tv with flat screen  or the one with 4 screen that cost about 10.000.000 Liras, allowing to wath 4 different programs at the same time.

Some pearls: the Fleming diodo, the Volta battery, a radio built in the Mauthausen concentration camp, some tv microphones and the first energy generator back to 1.800.

At this step the visit is to an end; last thing to do is to sign the guest book, while the offer is free.

The time of the visit is about 30 minutes and Miss Rina and Mr. Gian Paolo are kind ad available to explain whatever is requested.

If you pass from Bellano, a few steps from Piazza San Giorgio, you need to stop and visit this marvellous museum, and you will want to come back again.

Fort Montecchio North, Colico

Fort Montecchio North is situated just outside the centre of the beautiful town of Colico. It is a defensive building, built in just one year between 1913 and 1914, on the occasion of the first world war. As it wasn’t attacked or bombed, it could be renovated and opened to the public as a museum. The Fort in reality has never been used for the war but just for military training and, till the 70ies, as armoury.

From outside, next to the domes and from the square, there’s a breathtaking and exciting view: the mountains are reflected in the water, the towns overlook the Lake and the water that reflects the colours of the sky and the mountains is a true splendour.

Visiting Fort Montecchio North

The visit to the Fort Montecchio North is guided and last 40 minutes of walking inside it, whilst listening to the guides very well acknowledged and able and available for any answer. If you think 40 minutes are too long you will change your opinion while visiting rooms and listening to curiosities.

The high marble walls protect an historic treasure made of underground walkways – hidden routes to those who came from the outside – and an armoury that stretches into the rock to a depth of 60 metres; to move from one area to another you must follow the walkways, while to get to the parade ground below you have to passing through the great gate.

There are 3 blocks: one – the barrack – for the kitchens, the warehouses and the housing of the military; the second that can be accessed through the long covered walkway (140 meters long and 3 meters high) and the third one which is on the upper floor and is known as “Battalion floor”.

There was not a dining hall so militaries were used to eat in the open air – in the arms square – when the weather was good while in their beds in the case of bad weather.

The tour starts in the bottom area, with the big lawn where soldiers were used to spend their free time, relaxing and playing but also drinking and washing themselves. Here, at the bottom floor, there were the kitchens and the bathrooms, one for the troops and one for the officials.

Entering the block there is the head quarter with, fixed at the wall, a map dated back to 1939 showing the strategic position of the fort, positioned between two important ways for possible attacks (Valchiavenna and Valtellina). Scope of the fort was destroying enemy attack bases.

Cartina a Forte Montecchio Nord

During the visit the different rooms where militaries were used to live are visited; the official room was used as infirmary (there still is the scale for the height of the militaries) and was equipped with flowing water due to a dedicated pump and a suspended tank.

The guide will now give you a small curiosity: it is supposed that the height scale started at 1.60 meters, but since King Vittorio Emanuele was a little guy, the height was modified down, finally starting at 1.50 meters.

From the infirmary, the next step is the dormitory where about 40 soldiers slept during the first war, while 100 where here during the second one. Here there were 40 spikes on the wall, 40 beds and 40 lockers. With the increase of the soldiers, during the 2nd war, bunk beds were instead used.

Forte Montecchio Nord

Every room was warmed up with wood stoves and particular structures specifically studied for the purpose allowed good air flow.

Going forward in the visit here is the long connection tunnel with its embrasure that allowed to look outside and shoot. At the upper floor there were the armoury built inside the rocks and the room for the loading of the arms. These, in the unlucky case of blast, would have collapsed easily keeping safe the rest of the fort.

Forte Montecchio Nord

The tour in the history goes on in different rooms which, in the case of attacks, would have allowed to exit the fort and also get water tanks. Going up again, there are signs dated back to 1939 when the fort was frontier place. From this the phrase ”Ogni guardia di frontiera vale per tre” (Every frontier guard counts for 3).

Finally there are other rooms, the command office, where officers and soldier was used to study the papers with the coordinates for the cannon shoots, and the good lifts for the transfer of the rounds among floors. Communications between floors were managed through cavities while with the external through telephone.

Inside the cannon

Finally here we are to one of the most awaited and interesting moments of the tour: the visit inside the cannon. Up through a stepladder it is reached a circular space, in the centre of which there is the cannon that was armed by 6 artillerymen. The cannon has an intercom through which the artillerymen got the shoot coordinates. Visitors will have the chance to attend the demonstration showing how it works.

Dentro al cannone Forte Montecchio Nord

All the phases to make the cannon work are shown by the guide who, step by step explains every mechanism and moment of its usage, from the charging to the cleaning.

After this the guide drives visitors outside where it is possible to take pictures closed to the cannons and  also of the wonderful panorama.

Cannoni Forte Montecchio Nord

The tour is quite to the end, just a quick view of the winch used to raise the pieces of the cannons that needed to be changed, a look to the electric plants working with a liquid similar to gasoline and finally the ventilation system.

Just outside the Fort Montecchio North, near the ticket box, it is finally possible to buy gadgets and articles, leaving messages or comments on the guest book.

This is an historical record for all the fans and for those who want to visit a place absolutely out of the ordinary, a place we suggest to discover part of our history and fragments of the life inside a fort during the war periods.

Fort Montecchio North is placed in Colico, in Via delle Torri number 8.

Information about time of opening and price can be found at the official website Fortemontecchionord.

Jamaica Beach, a corner of Paradise in Sirmione

In Sirmione, very closed to the Archeological Area of the “Catullo Caves”, there is Jamaica Beach, one of the most known beaches of the famous and fascinating village; a paradise corner, a dream place with pure water.

To get this place it is necessary to go through the historical centre of Sirmione and from here it is possible to choose between two ways, one more arduous and the other easier. The first one was, till some time ago, the only one available and, after the historical centre, go on to Punta Staffalo paying attention because, depending on the highness of the lake, there is the risk to walk directly in the water high up to knees.

Today instead it is easier to get there: once reached the centre it is enough to walk up to the Catullo Caves where, passing through the gateway near the bar and the ticket office, it is possible to walk the trail down to the beach.

Coming from this side there is a bar at the end of the trail where it is possible to taste an aperitif or eat something whilst looking at the panorama or enjoying the sun. Just a few steps and the beach is there.

Jamaica Beach Sirmione

Here we are at Jamaica Beach

Typical of this place is not just the clean and crystalline water, but the rock plates getting out of the water allowing walking or laying into the water; small pools make younger getting fun without any danger, but it is necessary to wear easy shoes because the rocks are slippery and it is easy to fail.

Who wants to swim at Jamaica Beach will have to walk all the plates or alternatively getting there on boat.

Jamaica Beach Sirmione

Due to the easier access, during the week end and in summer, the beach is particularly crowded; to get a place it is important to get there early in the morning; beds and refuge are provided by the bar. It is not possible to expect the classical beach with beds and beach umbrellas but a small piece of beach with just the classical plates.

Spiaggia del Prete Sirmione

If you want to swim and enjoy the sun and Jamaica Beach is too crowded, do not give up! because this is just one of the beaches around the centre. Near the “Rocca Scaligera” there is the Priest Beach, just across there is the “Lido delle Bionde”. Furthermore “Brema Beach”, “Punta Grò Beach”, “Santa Maria di Lugana Beach” and others.

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Isola Madre, the Island loved by Flaubert

The Isola Madre, positioned at the center of the Borromeo Gulf, was once called Isola di San Vittore and later Isola Maggiore. It is the largest of the Borromean islands; It is 330 meters long and 220 meters wide. It attracts tourists eager to admire the splendid panorama of the lake, the historic villa characterized by sumptuous rooms but, above all, the carefully well-finished gardens.

Discovering the Gardens of the Isola Madre

Walking you can admire the beautiful exteriors designed at the end of the 18th century on the trail of an ancient orchard (which later became the olive grove and citrus grove) that remained almost unchanged despite the passage of time and you can also see plant specimens from around the world, some of which are very rare (an example is the Kashmir Cypress that has now reached the 200 years of life). This garden is one of the oldest botanical gardens in Italy. Here the star anise, cypress trees, camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons, magnolias, maples, orange trees, bananas, palm trees and many other varieties make a fine show and make the place unique and spectacular. The garden is also home to the well-known “scala dei morti”, covered by a splendid collection of wisteria.

Isola Madre

Although the view is amazing throughout the year, it is right in the spring season that the island gives the best, thanks to the blossoming of flowers and plants that come back to life after the winter torpor; it is therefore in summer that, who lands on the Isola Madre remembers with greater affection and wonder the scenarios they could enjoy.

Peacock, Isola Madre

Surprisingly, you can also see a variety of animal species which have found here a place of shelter as some colourful plumage parrots, peacocks, pheasants, ducks and bantams, just to name a few.

The palace

From the beginning the palace was built to be the summer residence of counts Borromeo. Inside, in addition to the beautiful furnishings from the historic houses of the family, there are tapestries, paintings and works of art of great value, dating back mostly to the 17th century; the collection of puppets is original and it is made even more interesting by the sets and backdrops of the little theatres dating back to 800. The Hall of Seasons or the one of the dolls, with a collection of 19th century dolls can’t be missed either.

Isola Madre, Garden

Flaubert was right by saying: “Isola Madre is the most voluptuous place I’ve ever seen in the world“.