The Lighthouse of Brunate, the tower lightning humanity's path

September 30, 2014

Brunate is an Italian town in the province of Como, located in the Lombardy region. One of its main attractions is the Volta Lighthouse, which was named after the great and famous physicist.

The Lighthouse of Brunate was in fact built in 1927, on the centenary commemoration of Alessandro Volta’s death, who was born and died in Como. In that year, the city wanted to celebrate the anniversary in a big way, with an important national exposure. It was constituted a committee of honor under the patronage of King Vittorio Emanuele II and the presidency of Benito Mussolini, as well as an executive committee headed by Guglielmo Marconi. In addition to that, two buildings were built: the first one was the Volta Temple, which now houses most of the equipment once belonged to Volta, while the latter was the Volta Lighthouse itself.

Located just below the summit of Mount Tre Croci, in San Maurizio, the Lighthouse was designed by engineer Gabriele Giussani, who also chose its particular location. It is a 29 meters high octagonal tower, with an internal spiral staircase of 143 steps. This stairs allows you to reach the two circular balconies: the first one is located just above the main entrance, while the second one is just outside the lantern. Both balconies offer a breathtaking view over the whole arc of the Western Alps, up to Monte Rosa. The lighthouse also offers a great view down to the Como Lake below, as well as on the adjacent towns of Chiasso and Cernobbio. On extremely clear days, you can even see the top of the Duomo di Milano.

The Volta Lighthouse was inaugurated on September 8, 1927, in the presence of Costanzo Ciano, who was Minister of Telecommunications in Mussolini’s government at that time. Since then, every evening from sunset and throughout the night until dawn, its lantern alternately emits a green, white and red light. It is visible up to 50 miles away and it symbolizes a milestone in the journey of humanity: it is a reminder of the invention of the battery, the very first electric current generator.

In the central room of the lighthouse, there is a bust of Volta, represented in old age, which is still present today. To access the Volta Lighthouse you shall take the funicular connecting Como to Brunate: the inauguration was in 1894 and it is active in many hours of the day.

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