Since 1927, a number of small villages located in Senagra
Valley were grouped to form the Commune of Grandola
and Uniti, although there isn't a corresponding real
town. The Val Senagra is a natural oasis rich of many
different kinds of animals and a great variety of vegetation.
oak tree) is thought to be the heir of a Middle Ages
tree. For sure it is an enormous, three hundred years
old oak tree, which measures 7.20 mt. round and 25 mt.
high. It stands nearby the hamlet of Velzo. It is said
that, in late Middle Ages, during the Communes era,
the village people used to gather to discuss and take
all the important decisions under this very tree.
At Codogna there
is Villa Camozzi, a building of the 18th century, that
houses the Town Hall of Grandola and Uniti. From Villa
Camozzi the road leads to the Parish Church of S. Siro,
dating 1517. Inside the church, mounted over the main
altar there is an interesting wooden tabernacle of the
end of the 17th century. It is also possible to admire
some beautiful frescoes and some paintings of the 17th
and 18th century.
Cardano is the downhill
hamlet of Grandola and Uniti, which through the centuries
has kept the combined characteristic of both rural and
elegant village. This is mainly due to the many residential
villas perfectly fitted into the environment. Among
them, the most important one is Villa Bagatti Valsecchi
of the 17th century, with a beautiful park that stretches
up to the ravine of the Senagra stream. The little church
is of the 17th century and inside it is possible to
admire some paintings of the same period.
Half way between Menaggio and Porlezza, on the road
that connects Lake Como to Lake Lugano, there is the
small Lake di Piano. In 1984, the Government of the
Lombard Region declaired the lake and its environment
a natural oasis under the management of the Comunità
Montana Alpi Lepontine at Porlezza. The lake is of glacial
origins and belongs to same glacier that formed Lake
Lugano from which it has been disjoined by the piling
up of alluvial debris brought down by the many streams
running from Val Cavargna and Mount Galbiga. The beauty
of Lake di Piano is mainly due to its nearly intact
environment together with the well preserved evidences
of some ancient human activities at Borgo di Castel
San Pietro such as: the ancient mills, the antique wash-tub
at Lembra and the dairy farm at Le Selve. The natural
oasis gives hospitality to 59 different kind of permanent
living birds plus 49 kinds of migrating ones as well
as a lacustrine and sub-alpine flora. This habitat gives
shelter to a great number of mammals and reptiles and
it is possible to come across some roe-dears and stags.
Guided tours through the oasis are available. For booking
and information call Cooperativa Sociale Azalea tel.
to reach Grandola and lake di Piano from Tremezzina:
By car or by bus to Menaggio and connecting bus to Porlezza
CERESIO OTHERWISE CALLED LUGANO
It is one of the many Pre-alpine lakes of glacial origin.
Its sinuous shape is due to the mountain ranges that
hindered the advancing of the glacier that dug the basin.
Lake Ceresio has no main affluents and its only effluent,
the river Tresa, flows into lake Maggiore nearby Luino.
Only one third of the lake is on Italian territory.
Porlezza is situated by the mouth of the river Rezzo,
at the easternmost point of Lake Lugano. The place was
already inhabited in Roman era, but it was only in Middle
Ages that it acquired importance both as a religious
center and as a stronghold under the See of Milan. For
that reason Porlezza played an important role during
the ten years' war between Como and Milan and in 1126
a great battle was fought on the nearby fields. Starting
from the 16th up to the 18th century, Porlezza suffered
for the troubled events that afflicted the whole Como
area. The bloody, endless wars fought for the possession
of the Dukedom of Milan brought with them destruction,
plague and famine. It was only after the Second World
War that Porlezza has become a resort for tourists,
but its sudden and unexpected growing caused a chaotic
expansion of the town. Places of interest: The old town
and historical center, the Parish church of San Vittore,
the church of Santa Maria, the church of San Maurizio
at Galbiga. Every Saturday, along shore, there is a
How to reach Porlezza from Tremezzina: By car or by
bus to Menaggio and connecting bus to Porlezza or Lugano.
A number of little villages set along the road that
goes from Porlezza to the Italian border on the way
to Lugano, form the Commune of Valsolda. Once these
villages were independent, but in 1927 they were assembled
to form a unique town with the Town Hall at San Mamete.
In ancient times, the land was inhabited by the Celts
although there were some small Roman settlements among
them. It was only in the 5th century that the population
became Christian. At the beginning of Middle Ages, from
the religious point of view Valsolda belonged to the
See of Porlezza, but a good number of estates were owned
by some Milanese religious congregation, therefore directly
ruled by the Archbishop of Milan, whose feudal power
lasted until the 12th century. With the advent of the
Visconti and Sforza as Dukes of Milan, the valley had
to face a long period of troubles, which reached its
peak in the first ten years of the 16th century. In1570,
San Carlo Borromeo's visit to Valsolda deeply marked
the spirituality of the area, which after the miracle
of the Madonna della Garavina in 1562, was already characterized
by a deeply rooted Marian cult . The 17th century was
characterized by a drastic Clerical reorganization by
which were introduced and constituted the Parish churches.
This century also brought the great plague of 1628 -
1630, but witnessed the flourishing of arts of the area,
too. It was only after 1860, that Valsolda became well
known, mainly due to Antonio Fogazzaro's masterpiece:
Il piccolo mondo antico, in which he describes the events
that here occurred during the wars fought against the
Austrian for the Italian independence. The house of
the writer is now a museum open to the public. For information
call the Town Hall. Tel. 0344 68121 - 68443. Places
of interest: the Shrine of Garavina. Hiking to Madonna
del Faggio, to Rifugio Pairolo (Switzerland), to Bivacco
How to reach Valsolda from Tremezzina. By car or by
bus to Menaggio and connecting bus to Lugano.