Manzonian Itinerary on Como Lake: the places of the Betrothed

November 12, 2013

The Manzonian Itinerary on Como Lake, in search of places so admirably described by the Milanese writer in The Betrothed, can only start from the city of Lecco. It is Manzoni himself, with his famous opening words "That branch of the lake of Como which extends southwards..." to indicate that the story takes place on the eastern and southern part of the lake which is part of Lecco.

The route begins in the district of Pescarenico, in the south of the city, the only place in Lecco explicitly mentioned in the novel. It was there that there was the convent of the Capuchin Fra' Cristoforo , and it is from Pescarenico, in the proximity of the mouth of the river Bione, that Lucia went away by boat to escape the mire of Don Rodrigo. In the northeast of Lecco there is Acquate, considered the birthplace of Renzo and Lucia, and today it is the home that is identified as the traditional home of the Mondella. In Acquate also took place the meeting between Don Abbondio and the two Bravi.

On Zucco's headland, near the districts of Acquate and Olate (which claims an alleged Lucia's house itself) , there is the manor of Don Rodrigo: identical until 1938 with the description provided by Manzoni's The Betrothed, the subsequent works of reconstruction have definitely changed its look. Equally important is the district of Chiuso, where lived the tailor who welcomed Lucia released and where, above all, took place the conversion of the Innominato (Unnamed).

The disturbing Unnamed, that historians have identified in the figure actually existed of Francesco Bernardino Visconti, lived in a sinister castle situated in the municipality of Vercurago, in the locality Somasca. Few ruins remain from the castle, built on a cliff in a position that dominates the road from Bergamo to Lecco, and the lake Garlate below.

To round off the Manzonian itinerary on Como Lake, Villa Manzoni, located in the district Caleotto of Lecco, is definitely a must see. For many years it has been the residence of the family of the great writer, where he spent his entire childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. The building currently houses the Museum of Manzoni, which exhibits manuscripts, first editions and memorabilia relating to the life and works of Alessandro Manzoni.

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