Welcome to Bellano, on the eastern shore of Lake Como, at the foot of the mountain Muggio and the river Pioverna, we find this old village surrounded by a lovely landscape and characterized by beautiful lakeside walks.
Walk along the lakefront, arrive at the little square of the port and enter the old town centre. Tight alleys where hardly the sun filters, medieval houses, arches that date back to the 17th century and Baroque courts until you reach the old town centre where you can admire the church of Santi Nazzaro e Celsio of the third century, with a nice rose window and frescos from the Lombard school.
From the old town centre go up until you find the spot where the Pioverna stream forms the Orrido, a gorge dug in the rocks, formed more than 15 million years ago and in the past used to exploit to iron. Today it can be visited passing through narrow hanging passages.
Lezzeno is three kilometres away from the town, where you can visit the Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime. This sanctuary was built between the 17th and the 18th century, in a place where the Virgin Mary was said to have cried tears of blood and has strong connections with anti Lutheran movement.
Bellano – What to see
In Bellano’s old town centre we find some important churches, as well as some typical buildings.
The most important church is the Chiesa Dei Santi Nazzaro e Celsio, designed by Giovanni Campione and accomplished in 1348 by Azione e Giovanni Visconti. It has a Romanic origin with a nave and two side aisles, the facade presents marble decorations with black and white stripes, a rose window with a brick cornice in green enamel and is crowned by a small arch and opened by three portals and a nice gothic tabernacle containing the statue of S. Ambrogio. In the church there are fourteenth/fifteen century frescos, the marble tabernacle located in the presbytery and the collection of objects and very antique vestments, altar cloths and holy vessels.
We find also the 15th century church of Santa Marta, enriched with paintings of several Lombard artists, such as the ‘Gruppo Della Pietà’, created by Giovanni Angelo del Milano and the church of San Nicolao that today is deconsecrated and used for cultural initiatives, but still has inside 14th century frescos.
Coming out the old town centre we find the canyon dell’Orrido which can be visited paying an entry fee, walking on a suspended footbridge. It was created 15 million of years ago by the waters of the Pioverna that carved the valley and formed a narrow furrow up to the Lario, originally the water flowed down onto a rocky step. Today the water has eroded the step withdrawing the fall and creating the spectacular “Gola dell’Orrido”.
At the beginning of the Orrido there is a little tower on four floors, called the “Casa Del Diavolo” (the devil’s house) because of all the mythological paintings decorated on the last floor and of all the stories that described it as a place of satanic rites.
You can enjoy a lovely scenery walking on the lakefront path, where we also find a beachfront concession and a few pebble beaches. There are also two trekking paths with panoramic view that lead you in Valsissina
Only three kilometres away from the town we come to the village of Lezzeno, the Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime is located, built in memory of a leggendary episode of the Virgin Mary that cried blood (17th century). The Sanctuary, destination of pilgrimage, is in Baroque style, with a vaulted nave and a beautiful frescoed dome. The inside is constituted by three altars, that biggest one made of polychrome marbles dates back to 1746. The vault and the walls of the sanctuary are decorated with frescoes of Luigi Morgari and on the dome you can admire the angels that take Mary up to the sky and offer her Bellano’s coat of arms.
Of remarkable interest it is also the visit to Premana, a village 21km away, famous for the handicrafts from where you can admire a beautiful view over the whole lake.
Bellano – Cuisine and Restaurants
Here listed are some good restaurants in Bellano and nearby:
Via Carlo Alberto, 22 – 23822 Bellano
Tel. +39 0341 821126
Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Open lunchtime only on Sundays.
Lido di Bellano
Via Martiri della Liberta, 3 – 23822 Bellano
Tel. +39 0341 810066
The menu includes pizza baked in a wood oven.
Via XX Settembre, 19 – 23822 Bellano
Home cooking: lake fish, meat and game according to the availability of raw materials. Tyrolean cuisine on request.
Crotto di Biosio
località Biosio, 1 – 23822 Bellano
Tel. +39 0341 821362
Located just outside the village overlooking the Como Lake. In summer, the terraces are the perfect place where dining and enjoying the fantastic landscape: a wide view of lake and mountains. In winter, they host you in their comfortable dining rooms, with fireplace and where every detail has the flavor of Valsassina tradition. Behind the dining rooms there a latge natural grotto. The meals are made with local products: charcuterie, cheeses of the alpine pastures neighbors, salad from theri garden. Besides, traditional dishes with particular proposals: pizzoccheri, ravioli, trippa, cazzoeula.
via Carlo Alberto, 8–9 – 23822 Bellano
Restaurant with typical Valtellinese menus, specialized in Pizzoccheri. Also typical lake dishes are available.
Bellano – How to get there
To get to Bellano you can use the Malpensa and Linate Milanese airports. Once you arrive in the centre of Milan (Milano Centrale), you should take a train direct to Bellano (line Milan-Lecco-Sondrio).
From Orio Al Serio airport it’s best to catch a train directly from Bergamo Station.
From Milan central station you get to Bellano in an hour and a half (www.trenitalia.com).
From Bergamo station, instead, you have to get to Lecco and there change train for Bellano, the journey is approx. one hour and a half.
To get to Bellano by car from Milan, Como or Bergamo, you always have to get to Lecco and then take the coastal road ( strada provinciale or strada tangenziale). From Milan there are two ways: or follow the SS36 in direction Sondrio (there is one exit only for Bellano on the eastern coast); or follow the strada provinciale 72, from where you can admire a lovely landscape. As an alternative you can take the ferry that from Bellagio and Menaggio arrives at Varenna (only 4km from Bellano).
Header photo: by Luca Casartelli licensed under the Creative Commons license.