Helen in Europe travel blog

Ponte Visconti

pretty island near Ponte Visconti

sunbaker near Ponte Visconti

the bridge from the other side

couple enjoying the lake; earlier there was a man showing off his...

"The hotel was just by the bridge and lots of people came to take photos. It is quite a good bridge but nothing special."

"This bridge is old, but is run down. The city started work on it, but left it in an unfinished state."

"Looks just like a bridge"

These are some of the Trip Advisor comments describing Ponte Azzone Visconti, an old bridge - so old in fact that it was built between 1336 and 1338. After now spending nearly a month in Lecco, I decided to find out more about this city's history and why Visconti and Manzoni references are ubiquitous. I love the fact that Alessandro Manzoni was a writer, that a famous writer should be acknowledged so widely. Visconti was Lord of Milan in 1300s who apparently had a great influence. The bridge was important in military terms as it controlled access to Lecco from the road to Milan and the Adda river and was close to the Venetian border.

In the past, the bridge was guarded by a garrison with its own independent commander and had towers and three drawbridges, and other protective architectural features.

In the seventeenth century, those who traveled there had to pay a toll run by a consortium made up of a dozen co-owners, noblemen from Lecco and Milan, as well as the Benedictine convent in the Arlenico district. The bridge was damaged in the wars of the 16th and 17th century.

The fortress eventually fell into disrepair. In the nineteenth century the side towers were demolished to facilitate the passage of the wagons.Then in the 20th century the roadway was widened. In current times the bridge is one way only with a strip devoted to pedestrians and cyclists.

So yes, I went to the bridge but found that beyond the bridge there were plenty of delightful and historically significant buildings and monuments not to mention people watching in this fairly quiet part of Lake Como. Mondays are usually quiet along here as tourists tend to flock here on the weekends. People of all ages were out sunbaking with little concern for skin cancer; I have noticed this as a current theme in Italy; hats and caps are rare for these sun lovers. I didn't quite reach my goal of 10kms today on the health app, only 9.8 and 17,685 steps. The day isn't done yet though and there are many more bridges and sites to discover to get my steps up!

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