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The villages of Tremezzina


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.
The Rugulon(big 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. 0344 42145.

How to reach Grandola and lake di Piano from Tremezzina: By car or by bus to Menaggio and connecting bus to Porlezza - 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 good Market.
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 Alpe Vecchio.
How to reach Valsolda from Tremezzina. By car or by bus to Menaggio and connecting bus to Lugano.


Texts by Bina Battistella Fraquelli
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