Open main menu

LECCO, a town of Lombardy, in the province of Como, 32 m. by rail N. by E. of Milan, and reached by steamer from Como, 673 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1901) 10,552. It is situated near the southern extremity of the eastern branch of the Lake of Como, which is frequently distinguished as the Lake of Lecco. At Lecco begins the line (run by electricity) to Colico, whence there are branches to Chiavenna and Sondrio; and another line runs to Bergamo. To the south the Adda is crossed by a line bridge originally constructed in 133 5, and rebuilt in 1609 by Fuentes. Lecco, in spite of its antiquity, presents a modern appearance, almost the only old building being its castle, of which a part remains. Its schools are particularly good. Besides iron-works, there are copper-works, brass-foundries, olive-oil mills and a manufacture of wax candles; and silk-spinning, cotton-spinning and wood-carving. In the neighbourhood is the villa of Caleotto, the residence of Alessandro Manzoni, who in his Promessi Sposi has left a full description of the district. A statue has been erected to him.

In the 11th century Lecco, previously the seat of a marquis ate, was presented to the bishops of Como by Otto II.; but in the 12th century it passed to the archbishops of Milan, and in 1127 it assisted the Milanese in the destruction of Como. During the 13th century it was struggling for its existence with the metropolitan city; and its fate seemed to be sealed when the Visconti drove its inhabitants across the lake to Valmadrera, and forbade them to raise their town from its ashes. But in a few years the people returned; Azzone Visconti made Lecco a strong fortress, and in 1335 united it with the Milanese territory by a bridge across the Adda. During the 15th and 16th centuries the citadel of Lecco was an object of endless contention. In 1647 the town with its territory was made a count ship. Morone, Charles V.'s Italian chancellor, was born in Lecco.

See A. L. Apostolo, Lecco ed il sua territorio (Lecco, 1855).