The village of Dongo, an important tourist and industrial centre in Upper Lake Como, nestles at the foot of Mount Bregagno and spreads into the plain at the mouth of the Albano river, opposite the imposing bulk of Mount Legnone. As it is crossed by the Via Regina, Dongo is an essential stop, too, on the ancient route that, through the pass of San Jorio, connects the shores of Lake Como to the Mesolcina Valley in the Grisons. But, above all, it is a village full of precious evidence of history, faith, and art, and of the industriousness of its inhabitants. For instance: the church of S. Stefano (St. Stephen), which was a parish church already in the 12th century and the church of S. Maria in Martinico (St. Mary in Martìnico), which probably dates back to the same period; or the important Shrine of the Madonna delle Lacrime (Our Lady of Tears) – also known as S. Maria del Fiume (St. Mary of the River), as referred to in historical documentary sources – which was erected after a miraculous event; the adjoining Franciscan monastery and its ancient and valuable library. We must remember that there were iron ore mines on the river which gave rise to the important tradition of ironworking, with the historic Ferriere di Dongo (Dongo Ironworks) – which later merged into the “Acciaierie e Ferriere Lombarde Falck” (“Falck Steelworks and Ironworks of Lombardy”), managed by some of the biggest names of the Italian steel industry. But Dongo is remembered most of all for being a protagonist of the end of Fascism and the Second World War.
It is here, in fact, between Musso and Dongo, that on 27 April 1945 Mussolini, the Fascist leader, was captured while he was fleeing from Italy, and it was on the lakefront opposite to Piazza Paracchini – the main square – that, on the following day, the Fascist “hierarchs” who accompanied him in the escape were shot.
Let us try to discover Dongo with the pace of the pilgrim, by walking, unhurriedly, while concentrating on the places we see, so as to feel the vibrations of their history, folk memories, and traditions.
By walking, in fact, we shall better understand places, events and things, as we shall be enabled to appreciate without haste the beauty, sometimes evident, other times more humble and concealed, that our ancestors have handed down to us.
It is only this way that our territory may foster the connection with its history and continue to hope, for the future, in a well-deserved and due respect.
The Dongo path has been created within the “Alpine tourism: benefiting from the territory in a sustainable way” project”
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