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6 Reasons Why You Need to Visit Lecco, Italy

Picture of Raphaele Varley
Updated: 29 November 2017

Lecco is a small lakeside commune situated at the foothills of the Bergamo Alps in North Italy. It surrounds the eastern branch of the famous Lake Como and is just one hour from Milan. This lesser known area of Italy’s spectacular Northern Lakes offers charming architecture against a dramatic alpine backdrop, a rich cuisine and stunning lakeside vistas – but without the crowds and cruise ships of more popular towns on Lake Como or Lake Garda.

Branch of Lecco

The branch of Lecco is one of three sections that form Lake Como; on a map it is the eastern ‘prong’. The view of the lake from the city of Lecco is breathtaking. Look out across small boats in the harbour to snow-topped mountains and note their reflection caught in the perfectly calm body of water. During the Summer, head to one of the many lakeside beaches where you can sunbathe and swim in the crystalline water. Some areas offer water sports such as kite surfing and kayaking. The beaches in Branch of Lecco come without the high-end bars, restaurants and sun loungers that are common in Como or Lake Garda. The vibe is more low-key but still with good amenities.

The harbour in Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

The harbour in Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

The harbour in Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

The harbour in Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Amazing cycling and walking routes

Lecco is a great base for day (or weekend) walking and cycling trips in the surrounding hills and moutains. Keen cyclists and ramblers can find challenging climbs in the mountains, but there are also plenty of softer routes for those wishing to take in the scenery.

Branch of Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Branch of Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Quick access to ski slopes

Visitors to Lecco during the Winter months can easily fit in a few days skiing. The resorts are small but with stunning views and, they offer options for novice and intermediate skiers.

Branch of Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Branch of Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Manzoni

It is the setting for Alessandro Manzoni’s most celebrated novel ‘The Betrothed’ (1827). Those that have read the book will enjoy spotting parts of Lecco discussed in the book, such as Chiesa dei Santi Materno e Lucia. Everyone else will certainly leave feeling inspired to read it!

Chiesa dei Santi Materno e Lucia | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Chiesa dei Santi Materno e Lucia | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Chiesa dei Santi Materno e Lucia | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Chiesa dei Santi Materno e Lucia | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Regional delicacies

Lecco belongs to the province of Lombardy, which has a rich culinary heritage drawing on the ingredients of the mountains and lakes. Enjoy sampling all of the DOP alpine cheeses and fine meats such as Brianza salami, Bresaola, Gorgonzola, and Form de Mut. Traditional restaurant menus offer both hearty meat stews with polenta as well as many lake-fish dishes. While not unique to Lecco, you will also find phenomenal gelato!

Il Forno di Nonna Pallina, Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Il Forno di Nonna Pallina, Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Antipasti in Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Antipasti in Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

A gelateria in Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

A gelateria in Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Lecco gelato | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Lecco gelato | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Lovely architecture

Lecco has a rich history that is reflected in its architecture. In the historic centre there are grand expressions of 19th-century design –  he neoclassical style of Teatro della Società in Piazza Garibaldi or the arches in Piazza XX Settembre. In Piazza XX Settembre you can also admire the medieval tower, Torre Viscontea, which is the remains of the town’s former fortified castle commissioned by Azzone Visconti in the 16th century. Down narrow side streets you will find more humble examples of traditional Lombard housing with vine-covered balconies overlooking picture-perfect courtyards.

A tranquil courtyard in Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

A tranquil courtyard in Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Interior courtyard in Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

A jewellery shop in Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip

A jewellery shop in Lecco | Monika Prokůpková / © Culture Trip