History is mostly like the news – stories of what goes wrong, like wars and battles, plagues and pestilences, ruthless ambition and reckless action. So sometimes you have to think that the best places to have lived in are those without much history. Places where people just got on with living and getting by without fuss.Lecco is such a happy place, a town impressively located at the ‘other’ end of Lake Como, where hardly much ‘history’ has happened at all, despite its being very much in the heart and center of Lombardy. Only two events of note seem to have happened here: the inconsequential siege of a castle over a thousand years ago and the birth of Alessandro Manzoni, one of Italy’s foremost writers.
Lecco today is a tranquil place with truly pleasant people who bustle about their everyday business, whether here or in Milan or in the wider world. The town is not so large, which makes it a truly lovely place to walk around in, especially along the shores of the lake. From here you can drive up to the great snow peaks of the Alps, easily visible in the distance, or take a lazy boat ride across the lake’s placid waters to places like Bellagio.
This town is really great to stay in when visiting northern Lombardy, including Milan. It is close enough to be easy to reach, far enough away in tempo to be relaxing at the end of the day. Oh yes, and there are some really good restaurants to eat in too, without the noisy crush of a crowd or the noxious fumes of traffic.
There is one place we would recommend you stay, a delightfully refined Bed&Breakfast called ‘Alla Bonacina’ run by a salt-of-the-earth local couple who go out of their way to make you feel at home.
First published in Reveal Italy, November 10 2012