Where are we? At a postcard of Bellagio
The lake of Como, or better lake Lario, is of glacial origin and occupies the cavity cut out by the glacier of the Adda that, in the quaternarian époque extended over the two southern branches of the lake before coming out in the Brianza leaving there morenic hills and other small lakes. Its passage is marked by erratic boulders which are frequently found especially on the central promontory of the lake.It is the third largest subalpine lake but the deepest of all of them having a maximum depth of 410 metres. Its form of an overturned Y with two branches of Como and Lecco and with upper basin of Colico gives it its perimeter of 170 Km.
The peninsula of Bellagio extends with the town and its suburbs, on the banks, the false plain and on the hills which precede the northern extremity of the Larian promontory. For its position it has
stupendous views of a large part of the lake with its mountains. Due to its excellent walks and its 800 beds for tourists Bellagio is one of the most famous resorts on the lake of Como ( Lario). About 150,000 visitors per year come to Bellagio to lose themselves in the characteristic little steep streets which house many shops or in the romantic gardens of Villa Melzi or in those of Villa Serbelloni.
The particular fascination of Bellagio conquered poets and artists ever since the Renaissance and ever since the nineteenth century a great number of well known foreign visitors have visited it from Shelley to Longfellow and from Stendhal to Flaubert and Liszt.
In ancient times we have references to paleovenetian and gallo-insubric colonies after which followed the roman conquests in the second century b.C. On the rear of the promontory where the Villa Serbelloni now stands Pliny the Younger had his villa built which was one of the two that he had on Lake Como and was called Tragoedia. It was on this site they say that Stilicone, when he defeated the Visigoths at Bellagio, built a fortress given its dominating strategic position.
The vegetation is of Mediterranean, alpine and subalpine variety. On the banks we find cypresses and pines, on the sunbathed slopes vines and olive trees and on the mountainside chestnut trees, beeches, walnut trees and conifers. The calendar of flowering includes : narcissus and lily of the valley in March, the highly coloured azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias in April and May whereas roses. oleanders and hydrangeas decorate Bellagio from June to September. Notable also the wonderful range of autumn colours in the gardens and parks of Bellagio starting in September and October.
The climate. The temperate and moderate climate favours the vigorous and varied growth of vegetation. The mean winter temperature does not fall below 6-7° C. whereas in summer the level is between 25-30° C. The summer temperature is mitigated by the breva,, a light breeze characteristic of the Lake of Como.
Legends of Bellagio
The sasso del pane = the bread stone, During the epidemic of plague, which developed in 1630 as
described by Manzoni in his book I promessi Sposi(the Betrothed), the people of Bellagio avoided being infected due to the geographic conformation of our peninsula and thus grew uninfected corn which they used to make bread for the people of Varenna. The exchange took place on a large boulder not very far from the shore where the bread was left. The buyers took the bread and left the money in a jar filled with vinegar which acted as a disinfectant. In latter years this boulder was blown up with a mine as it was a danger to navigation.
The statue of Jesus. Probably about the end of the seventeenth and the beginning o9f the eighteenth century (the exact date is unknown) during a flooding caused by the overflow of the Adda and Mera rivers a small church in the Valtellina was destroyed in which there was a wooden statue representing Jesus. The statue carried down by the waters of the lake came to be deposited on the beach at Bellagio. It was never claimed by anyone and the people of Bellagio, proud of having found it, conserve it with pride, showing it off during the Good Friday procession. The name of this statue, of Spanish origin, is Intero because it represents the Body of Jesus.
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