Stage 1 – From Canzo’s Trenord Railway Station to the Provostship of S. Stefano
The route starts from Canzo’s Trenord (formerly Northern Milan Railways) Railway Station square, Piazzale Remo Sordo (possibility of parking for the disabled on-site and nearby). The two-storey station building also hosts the “Segrino Consortium” – Municipal Police station, which monitors the territories of Canzo, Castelmarte, Longone al Segrino and Proserpio. Cross the square at the entrance gate of the “Barni” public Park, near a fountain erected by the Canzo “Associazione Cacciatori” (Association of Hunters), with a hexagonal granite basin surmounted by a small granite column holding a flowerpot. You then enter the park, an important meeting point for the people of Canzo, equipped with games for children, a public toilet and a stage for concerts and events, and walk along the gravel pathway. You can still see the remains of the original manor house garden, with stone architecture and even a small fish pond (now without water). The botanical features of this park have been studied in the nineties by the Gruppo Naturalistico della Brianza, one of the first environmental organizations in Italy, founded in Canzo in 1960 by the Swiss journalist Giorgio Achermann. More than 200 plants belonging to approx. forty different species have been identified and classified, including the Himalayan cedar, magnolia, horse chestnut. Continue straight along the gravel pathway for about 100 metres, then turn left, where, on your right, you will see the building of the old greenhouses of the villa, now restored and home of the “Giuseppe Raverta” Meeting Space, dedicated to the watercolorist and painter who in the fifties of the last century taught at the Società Operaia (Workers’ Association) of Canzo drawing school.
Exit “Barni” Park from the side gate; turn right and walk along the pavement (of variable width) of Via Roma, where, after about 100 metres, at number 5, you will meet the entrance of what once was Villa Barni, an elegant three-storey yellow-plastered building with a tower, now turned into private homes and shops. Cross the road at the pedestrian crossing, turn right and continue past the entrance of the Fondazione Residenza Sanitaria Assistenziale per anziani “Don A. Pozzoli” ONLUS – a nursing home – at number 4 of Via Roma, shortly before arriving in Piazza Garibaldi. The square is not just an important road junction for the town but a stylish calling card for tourists, too. It is called Piaza dal munümént by the people of Canzo further to the erection at its centre – in the Twenties of the last century – of the imposing Monument to the Fallen of the First World War, surrounded by a flower bed. The base is made of granite, provided by the then podesta Attilio Porroni, owner of a stone factory; it is decorated by a marble sculpture on top and two bronze sculptures on the sides, made by Giovanni Avogadri. In the Fifties the names of the fallen in the second conflict were added, too. On the southern side of the square – i.e. on the right, if you are following our route – stands the prestigious Teatro Sociale (Municipal Theatre), the main entrance of which, originally opening on the adjacent Via Volta, has been recently moved to the square for safety reasons. Built in neo-classical style by the Milanese architect Gaetano Besia in 1828-29, the theatre was completely renovated in the 80s by the Town Council (which in the meantime became the owner of the building); it currently hosts notable music and prose seasons. Next to the right side of the theatre, beyond the bus stop shelter of the C49 Asso-Erba-Como line with adjacent phone booth, opens the rear of Villa Barni, preceded by a small fenced garden.
On the northern side of the square (i.e. along our route), at number 5, beyond a small garden, you will find NonSoloTurismo, an association for the promotion of tourism and culture in the area which acts as Tourist Information Bureau. Next to it there is a fine nineteenth century building, home to the historic Hotel Canzo with restaurant and bar, and, beyond Via Mazzini, the old “offelleria” – the equivalent of a confectioner’s – now called patisserie Ponti, active since 1894, further evidence of the inclination of the village towards tourism. From Piazza Garibaldi, which it is advisable to border while keeping to the left, enter Via Mazzini (the Via Granda) and turn left (please mind the small threshold) on the street-level sidewalk, paved with porphyry flags; the first section is separated from the roadway by 12 iron posts, approx. 1 metre high, holding up a chain. After 40 metres, at number 28, opens the imposing entrance of Palazzo Tentorio (Tentorio Palace), a severe three-storey building, currently used by the Municipality of Canzo as a representative office. Its name comes from the Tentorio family, who purchased it in 1706; in 1828 the complex passed to the Gavazzi brothers, who in that period were active in the development of the silk industry. Subsequently, in 1889, it was purchased by the Municipality to host the school and, later, the Town Hall. In 1999 it was renovated, and a new building housing municipal offices and the council chamber – opened in 2002 – was added at the back. Alongside the latter stands a small modern block of flats designed by the famous architect and designer Ettore Sottsass, husband of the writer Fernanda Pivano.
Continue along the sidewalk of Via Mazzini; please mind the 80 cm high stone pillar in the middle, at the northern edge of the side square’s exit, before the Deutsche Bank branch at number 12. Moreover, from this point, and for another 10 metres, the sidewalk is separated from the road by five other stone pillars. Continue along the entire length of the sidewalk up to the Cariparma bank branch, leaving a large widening on the left dominated by a long two-floor ochre-coloured building, called La Fabbrica (The Factory), the first rural building in Canzo to be rented by the owners, the Balossi family, directly to the farmers. Nowadays the renovated building is the home to an insurance company and a patisserie, the Pasticceria Citterio, established in 1922. Then cross Via Mazzini at the zebra crossing, entering a small chute, about 1.5 metres wide, that connects the street with a widening immediately below the precinct of the provostship of S. Stefano, paved with porphyry flags. By continuing straight on, climb the 10 stone steps that lead to the precinct, which is paved with stone; please pay attention to the presence of an approx. 1 metre high handrail, supported by an iron post and two stone pillars, and placed perpendicularly in the middle of the steps.
On the north side of the precinct, thus to our left, stands the Provostship church of S. Stefano (also known as Gésa granda, i.e. big church in local dialect), which owes its current appearance to a radical reshaping and restructuring of an existing building, already referred to in the thirteenth century, carried out between 1728 and 1752.
In front of the precinct, with your back to the church, you can see the historic location of the Società Operaia di Mutuo Soccorso di Canzo (Canzo Workers’ Mutual Aid Association) (founded in 1882): an ochre-coloured building on two-floors, one of which a basement, preceded by a small garden opening onto Via della Chiesa. In the past this construction has hosted the Kindergarten and the Public Library; it is now the home to art exhibitions and other cultural events.
Point of departure Canzo, Trenord Railway Station square
Point of arrival Canzo, Provostship church of S. Stefano
Path type urban route
Environment urban area
Total length approx. 450 m
Travel time on foot 10 min
Rise approx. 10 m
Maximum height 405 m
Paving asphalt, gravel, stone slabs, porphyry cubes
Public transport to the point of departure Trenord train (see Trenord website)
Public transport from the point of arrival bus service (see bus company website)
Parking at the point of departure yes
See the Gallery of this Stage: