Stage 1- From the Navigation Pier (Imbarcadero della Navigazione) to Belinzaghi square
The itinerary begins at the Imbarcadero della Navigazione with an elegant iron and glass penthouse in Liberty Style designed by the engineer Ernesto Canobbio in 1906, overlooking the “Riva” par excellence, the beautiful Risorgimento Square. From the Imbarcadero it is possible to embrace with a look the “symbols” of Cernobbio: from the left, the beach at the mouth of the torrent Greggio, the lush park of Villa Gastel with its lodge in Liberty style, the hotel Regina Olga, the delightful Villa Allamel; behind it, the slender bell tower of St. Vincent, the elegant figure of Villa Belinzaghi peeping out among the vegetation, the wonderful Villa d’Este complex, up to the Villa Pizzo, situated on the cape of the same name, and protracting itself to the lake. Looking up, we see Mount Bisbino: the Casnedo hamlet, Piazza Santo Stefano and Rovenna, fading out in the green wood up to the mountain top, under the sky.
At the exit of the pier, at a distance of about 15 metres, stands the War Memorial. It is a bronze group made by the sculptor of Milan, Angelo Galli. Turning on the right, after about 75 metres we meet the Monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi, looking to the left in the flower bed of gravel. It was inaugurated on the 20th September 1907 in order to celebrate 100 years since the birth of the hero of the two worlds, and was built by the sculptor Pietro Clerici of Como. We keep to the right for approximately 25 metres until we meet the fountain in white stone of the Colli Berici, laid in 1937 and accomplished by the sculptor Piero Morseletto of Vicenza.
From this point, looking to the right, we can admire Villa Bognini – Tavecchio and just behind, Villa Allamel, derived, in the middle of the 19th Century, from past housings of rich and noble families of Milan. The three-staged villa is preceded by a beautiful garden with a scenic terrace and an bush of wisteria; the entrance is protected by a beautiful wrought iron and glass penthouse in Liberty style. On the left stands the Villa Besana-Ciani, dating back to the 18th Century. In front of it, it is possible to see the backside of the Albergo Regina Olga, the first hotel of Cernobbio, dating back to the second half of the 19th Century, to which, with time, other hotels, restaurants and cafés have been added. The hotel helped to rise the reputation of the place as a desirable holiday centre of the Lario region, as did the nearby Albergo Milano (today Miralago) and Caffé Vittoria (today Harry’s Bar). The square is closed to the traffic by a bar flanked by some flowerpots which delimit narrow side crossovers. Keeping on the right, which is about one meter wide, we turn right in Roma Square with a porphyry paving material, derived, around the end of the 19th Century, from the demolition of an old building; at the street number 7, it is possible to see the back entrance of Villa Allamel, with a beautiful wrought iron gate.
We go on up to Tolomeo Gallio Square, (enlarged at the end of the 19th century), overlooked by the imposing façade of St. Vincent Church in Baroque style, featuring the chromatic alternation between the bright beige of the plaster and the red of the brick decoration, an unique example of that kind throughout the Como region. Already mentioned at the end of the 12th Century, it was renovated between the year 1757 and the year 1775, and consecrated by the bishop Gianbattista Mugiasca. On the right side of St. Vincent is the bell tower and the parsonage; on the left side, in the room overhanging the arch , was the ancient oratory of the confraternity of Santa Marta, connected with the Church. On the external wall of the room still visible is an ancient fresco – painted again by Torildo Conconi in the 20th Century – portraying the Saint of Betania dressed as a nun, who welcomes two young believers under her protective mantle. Here gathered the members of the most ancient Confraternity of Cernobbio, created before the 16th Century and governed by strict disciplinary rules; today this room is used as picture gallery of the Church (for info please address the provost, Tel. 031.511487). Above the house façade at number 2 of Tolomeo Gallio Square stands out a picture representing Our lady with the Child dating back to the 18th Century.
We walk through Cavallotti street ( in the central part made of porphyry) for about 30 metres, after we enter, on the left, the narrow Castello Street (cobblestones with paved roadway), crossing the underpass (pay attention to the central pillar placed at the end of the underpass) and entering Castello Square, the ancient medieval centre of Cernobbio. This centre was the ancient fortified “castrum”, quoted in a manuscript of the 13th century. A little hamlet of boatmen, fishermen, wool sorters and stonecutters, who, only starting from the 19th century, played an international importance thanks to tourism. Some interesting half- timbered buildings, dating back to the 17th and 18th Century, called “case spagnole”, because they referred to the Spanish domination, stand on Castello Square. Recently renovated, they presented, on the façade, a long window lined balcony called “del Gatt” (“del gatto”, a siege machine), taken from the name shown in the alley below, still in the 19th century. Turning on the right we go through the narrow Mentana street, characterized by recent cobblestones with two stone roadways among the buildings of the ancient hamlet. We turn again on the right, at the crossover with XX Settembre Street; at the street number 7, in a little courtyard beyond a wrought iron railing, it is still possible to see a well with pulley, and on the building wall, a marble statue of Our Lady with the child dating back to the 15th Century. Right after it, going along XX Settembre Street (made of porphyry), known in the 19th Century as “Via Lunga”, at the street number 9, it is possible to notice an elegant granite portal with a key stone where a six petal flower stands out; this building is supported by a strong lateral buttress which discloses its ancient origin. We go through XX Settembre Street, until we come out in Belinzaghi Square, almost completely taken up by fee parkings.
On the left side of the square we can see a big mural representing the Como lake and its valleys, designed in the twenties of the past century by the Azienda Autonoma di Soggiorno e Turismo, a public office aiming to attract tourists in the area; on the right side is the entrance of Villa Belinzaghi, an important building of neoclassical inspiration raised approximately in 1860 by Giulio Belinzaghi, first mayor of Cernobbio, then of Milan, thanks to the project of the engineer Giacomo Bussi, and surrounded by a wide landscaped park with majestic umbrella trees and conifers.
Point of departure Cernobbio, Navigation Peer (Imbarcadero della Navigazione)
Point of arrival Cernobbio, Belinzaghi Square
Route type Urban route
Total length 500 metres
Time on foot 15 minutes
Difficulty Tourist path
Rise Approximately 10 metres
Maximum altitude 210 metres above sea level
Paving material Porphyry, Asphalt, cobbled steps, dirt road, paved way
Parking at the departure point Yes, for a fee
Points of interest
In this stage you can find the following points of interest:
See the Gallery of this stage: