Stage 1 – From the Cathedral to the Tower of S. Vitale
The route starts from the Cathedral, dedicated to the Assumption, which is full of references to the theme of pilgrimage. After visiting the Cathedral, exit from the north gate, called “The Gate of the Frog”.
On the left of the gate stands the old Broletto, an elegant two-toned marble building, with a porch at ground level. On the opposite side you can see the Basilica of S. Giacomo, built between 1055 and 1118, then shortened in sec. XVI. Opposite the “Gate of the Frog” stands the Bishop’s Palace, that includes the ancient church of S. Michele
Turning your back on the episcopate, head towards the square in front of the Cathedral, and passing aside the facade, go towards the south and take via Vittorio Emanuele, which follows the route of an old Roman road parallel to the “cardo”, that is the main street of the Roman city of Como. Heading on, on the right, you can see the apse of the Basilica of S. Fedele. On the right of the apse, see the beautiful back portal of the Basilica, called “The Gate of the Dragon” for its particular sculpted decoration. At the top, the portal shows a fantastic figure of a “melusin” (mermaid snake woman ) which is unfortunately beheaded. On the left side, note another typical figure, the “greenman”.
On the left side of the street is the Cernezzi Palace, now the seat of the Municipality of Como. The current appearance of the building dates back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but its origins are certainly older, as shown by the presence, on the front, of ancient masonry sections with brightly painted plaster and by the medieval tower attached to the same building, on the south side.
Continuing along via Vittorio Emanuele reach Piazza Medaglie d’Oro, with two outstanding buildings, now owned by the city: Palazzo Giovio, seat of the Archaeological Museum “Paolo Giovio”, and the Olginati Palace, home of the Museo Storico ” Giuseppe Garibaldi “. On the right side of the square you can see a former church building, S. Sisto, now deconsecrated and home to the parish cinema “La Lucernetta”.
On the left of the square take via Serafino Balestra, once called the “alley of the young orphans”. At the end of the road you come across the Tower of S. Vitale, one of the towers surrounding the walled city, late medieval in origin, that once enjoyed just a narrow walkway on its side. The name “S. Vitale” originated from the borough placed around the walls; this, in turn, gets its name from a hospital standing in this area in ancient times, and abolished in 1468.
Point of departure Como, Cathedral
Point of arrival Como, Tower of S. Vitale and place of the former church of S. Vitale
Path type urban pavement, asphalt
Total lenght 600 m
Travel time on foot 7 min
Rise approx. 10 m
Maximum height 214 m
Paving urban paving, asphalt
Parking at the point of departure yes, paying parking
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