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Garzeno is a small mountain village with splendid views over Lake Como and the mountains around. It is about 70 km north of Milan and 55 kilometres from Como. Situated 600 meters above sea level, it sits high in the mountains above the lakeside village of Dongo. The family of Barella, a long-standing and well-known family of the community, built Casa Barella in the 1960’s. It was built by three brothers each owning an apartment. In the early 60’s, the youngest brother emigrated to England to seek opportunities that weren’t evident in Italy at this time. The two elder brothers, believing they would never see their younger sibling again gifted the house to him to ensure he would always come and visit, which he did. And so fifty years on Casa Barella (House of Barella) was born.
The Church of San Pietro e Paolo in the village was renovated in the 15th century. The parish church contains famous frescoes by G. Mauro della Rovere known as "Il Fiamminghino" and by G.Paolo Recchi who frescoed the abuse. This depicts an adaptation of Paradise with a fascinating variety of perspectives and interesting 14th century ex-votos. The first weekend in July celebrates the feast day of San Pietro e Paolo. It’s a great celebration in the village with dinner served in the square to lots of singing and merriment.
Many mountain trails set off from Garzeno: these reach Brenzeglio, Mount Marmontana and the San Jorio Pass. You can follow the mule tracks, which ascend up the left-hand side of the mountain to arrive at the Refuge Giovo (1706 mt.). There are many examples of medieval culture, which can still be seen along the trails, such as characteristic rural buildings with thatched roofs.
The history of Lake Como dates back nearly 2000 years when it was first discovered by the Greeks. Back then it was known as Lake Larius as named by Julius Caesar around the first century A.D. The area was a favourite resort of the Greeks, and its first city (located at present day Como) was named Novum Comum. Throughout history, artists, writers and actors have come to the lake for inspiration, and much great work has been completed here. In the early 1800’s, Composer Franz Liszt completed his work called Dante Fantasia here, and Belini wrote his famous opera Norma. During the 8th century, the lake area was overtaken by the Franks. In the 12th century, Como battled numerous times with nearby Milan. Even the Austrians also controlled Como for a few decades in the 1700’s and 1800’s, but in 1859, it became part of the Kingdom of Italy. After World War II, Mussolini and his mistress were both shot in the near by town of Mezzegra, which for a while stopped Italians from visiting Como. Today, Lake Como is a favourite resort for many artists and actors like George Clooney, Versace, Jennifer Lopez and Eros Ramazzotti who enjoy spending their summer months here, far away from the noise and crowd of the big cities. Many more details and ideas for great days out are held at the apartment for our guest’s use.