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Lecco, Monte San Martino

Places and routes of faith In Lecco

From Lecco to Colico, going north along the lake on the eastern side, the territory is characterized by small churches, whose history dates back to dozens of centuries ago, monasteries and abbeys that add value to an area of great scenic beauty.
Thanks to the project "Places and routes of faith in Lecco" sponsored by the Regione Lombardia, these places are connected by a series of itineraries.

The route, which starts from Lecco, touches some significant points of the territory: Calolziocorte, Civate, Cassago Brianza, Abbadia Lariana, Perledo, Dervio, Vestreno, Corenno Plinio and Colico from which several itineraries start. This link proposes all the places of the route, each one presented with an image. In Cassago Brianza, the via della Fede intersects the Cammino di Sant'Agostino, another route described in this site.

Our path starts in Lecco at the Palazzo delle Paure: built in the early 1900s, it owes its name to the fact that, until the 1960s, it was the headquarter of the Finance Authority, the Land Registry and Customs  where the people of Lecco had to go and pay taxes. With its eclectic neo-medieval style, it now hosts some temporary exhibitions, the Municipal Art Gallery and the Osservatorio Alpinistico di Lecco. In the Palazzo della Paure there is also a digital totem with information about the route. For more information and opening hours, please visit this link.
To get information on the accessibility of the Palazzo delle Paure, you can visit this link
Once in Lecco, do not forget to visit this beautiful town that has very ancient origins (there are artefacts dating back to the Bronze Age), and in  which, relatively recently, Manzoni decided to set the Betrothed.
Outside Lecco, the Church of St. George  in Annone Brianza is worth a visit. The church dates back to the second half of the fifteenth century and has a beautiful Romanesque bell tower. Inside the church, the presbytery is decorated with Renaissance frescoes by the Master of the Pala Sforzesca.

Going up the lake from Lecco, right at the beginning of the Sentiero del viandante the Church of San Martino in Abbadia Lariana is also worth a visit. Recently renovated, it is beautiful in its essentiality: a stone structure, most likely of the Romanesque age and, inside, there are traces of a fourteenth-sixteenth century fresco depicting a crucifixion.
A little less than 3 km from Abbadia Lariana, always going up the lake, is Mandello del Lario: we suggest to visit the fifteenth-century frescoes of the Church of San Giorgio of Mandello and the arcipretal Church of San Lorenzo by the lake, which preserves canvases, frescos and wooden works made between 1600 and 1700. Noteworthy are the three large paintings, almost 8 meters wide, dedicated to San Lorenzo. Before leaving Mandello, do not miss the Santuario della Beata Vergine del Fiume,  an authentic jewel of the early Baroque, whose interior is decorated with paintings by Giacomo Antonio Santagostino and the stuccoes by David Reti, who were working here in the 1630s.

Going north along the lake, for about 15 kilometres of a scenic road, you reach Varenna, where you can visit: the Chiesa di San Giorgio on whose façade you can admire a presumably fourteenth century fresco, depicting Saint Christopher, patron saint of travellers; the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista  a very ancient church  inside which are preserved frescoes dating back to the fourteenth - sixteenth centuries; and the Villa Monastero, which overlooks the lake (for more information on accessibility, please click on this link ) with its beautiful botanical garden that extends for two kilometres around the villa. The garden can be visited in all seasons, free entry for people with disabilities.

Not far from Varenna, in Vezio-Perledo, you can visit the Chiesa S. Antonio Abate Located near the Vezio Castle, it has a simple gabled façade and a nave with a quadrangular apse. Inside there are frescoes from the mid-15th century and, on the main altar, a sixteenth-century triptych attributed to Stefano da Pianello. The northernmost point of the path is the Colico area, in the upper lake Como. Here, at the tip of the Olgiasca promontory, with a wonderful view of the lake, there is the Abbazia Cistercense of Piona among the most picturesque romanesque architecture in Lombardy.

The roots of the Abbey refer to the foundation of an oratory dedicated to Santa Giustina, of which we have the first historical documentation on a stone, carved in memory of the Bishop Agrippino di Como (607-617). The stone, which is currently located in the cloister, suggests that a monastic community had been established at the Abbey, (probably hermits).
Only at the end of the eleventh century the Cluniac reform movement  provided for the transfer of monks to the abbeys in crisis, to give them new life. Today the complex houses some Cistercian monks of the Benedictine Congregation of Casamari (Frosinone).
The complex includes the Chiesa di San Nicola, remains of a portion of the apse, that can reasonably be attributed to an oratorium dedicated to Santa Maria di Piona built by the bishop Agrippino, and a cloister.

The Abbey is open every day from 8.30 to 18.30 and, upon reservation, free guided tours for groups are organised (an offer is welcome). The cloister, built in the first half of the thirteenth century, and the Chapter House, whose inlaid panels date back to the eighteenth century, come from the sacristy of San Zeno in Verona. Particularly interesting are: the panel depicting the sun that radiates light on the earth and the two panels with the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the earthly paradise.
More information on the Abbey can be found in the website: https://www.abbaziadipiona.it
In the Abbey shop you can buy monks' products, including liqueurs and spirits, herbal infusions and medicinal roots.
For information on the accessibility of the Abbey, you can visit this link

Before leaving
Before leaving, you might consult the map  Le vie della Fede Lecco for an overall view of the routes of the pilgrims in Lecco with a brief description of all the churches mentioned.  If you don't want to miss the most interesting places, refer to the www.inlombardia.it website for more information.


"Project carried out under the General program of intervention of the Lombardy Region, funded by the Ministry of Economic Development - 2015 Allocation".