A quaint and charming town in the province of Lecco, located on the eastern shore of Lake Como, facing Bellagio, Varenna is situated in a panoramic position on a promontory. Although the area had been inhabited since prehistoric times and submitted Gallic and Roman dominations, the village is mentioned for the first time only in 769. After undersigning an alliance with Milan, in 1126, it was destroyed by troops from Como, and later gave shelter to a good part of refugees of the Island Comacina after the destruction of their village which occurred in 1169. It became property of the Dominio Arcivescovile (of the Archbishop), and later was assigned to the Sforza, the Visconti, the tyrant Franchino Rusca and, finally, to Giuseppe Valeriano Sfondrati.
Sites of Interest:
- the Castle Vezio, a medieval fortress surrounded by olive trees;
- the XIV century Church of San Giorgio, in which is preserved a superb Deposition in colored stone;
- the Church of St. John, the oldest in the town, located in the historic center, which is famous for a valuable collection of XV century paintings;
- Villa Monastero, with its beautiful gardens overlooking the lake;
- Villa Cypress, with its gardens, full of plant species;
- the spring Fiumelatte, a small seasonal stream, that produces a sort of milky froth that merges into the lake: the phenomenon aroused the curiosity of the genius of Leonardo da Vinci and is quoted in the Atlantic Codex;
- the Civic Museum of Bird Watching & Natural Sciences, entitled to Scanagatta Louis. A collection of more than 700 stuffed migratory bird species, mainly from the Como area.