is a municipality of about 6500 inhabitants in the Province of Como, in Lombardy.
Albavilla, as other towns of the area, has known the human presence since the prehistory. The evidences, found in Buco del Piombo cave, attest it. They evidences, traced back also to Roman domination, are several, like coins, tools, urns, bronzes and terracottas. In medieval age, the passing of Barbarossa has signed the locality. In Carcano, in fact, are trackable the remains of his Castle, where his soldiers barricaded. The Napoleonic domination has left traces: as Alpe del Viceré, highland that is extended from Mount Bolettone (easily to reach from the town by a driveway), and it is named so by Eugenio di Beauharnais, Viceré d’Italia and stepson of Napoleon. Always vacancy destination, today is a favourite place for Milan people. Albavilla, that has in its name the word “villa”, lends itself as holiday destination in a mountain area. To-not-miss the popular culture, an old proverb, that is connected to a central element of Brianza area, the water, says that the season will be bad if the water passes through the lavatory. This is an ancient lavatory placed in the town centre, used in the past to wash clothes.
Placed at the end of Via Don Carlo Belloni, from the square where is San Dionigi church is possible to admire a wonderful panorama over Alserio Lake. The route crosses rural trails, until to find Santi Cosma and Damiano ancient church, dated back to XI century. Duration of the visit: about an hour.
San Dionigi Church, located in the square of Lower Carcano, today is immersed in an oasis of peace. Surrounded by trees, it overlooks the hill where it is laid, giving to the visitor an enchanting view: observing le façade is possible to see Lake Alserio on the background.
The Church and the Lake seem to be in fight for the attention of the visitor, although both of them are a wonders for eyes. The façade of the church is in the first stage, trying to cover the Lake that hinders the view of the church with its reflexes. This peaceful fight rakes up the violent battles of the past. San Dionigi Church and its bell tower were built in XIII cent. on the remains of an ancient castle. In that time Barbarossa, emperor of Holy Roman Empire, aimed to conquest Milan. Conquered a part of Lombardy, the emperor suffered the reaction of the people of Milan, who struck back. The imperial soldiers chose to retreated to the ancient castle of Carcano, exactly on the hill where today the Church rises. The wooden upland in the past had a great strategic value: on three sides it was defence by a natural valley usually inundated by the water of the lake. People of Milan besieged the castle, but Barbarossa arrived with new soldiers to save his men. The battle of 9 August 1160 was terrible and the people from Milan won thanks to the intervention of Erba. The castle was burned and destroyed. It is difficult to image a similar scenery in the peace of today.
Moving away from the square and the echo of the battle, you can walk on the streets where there was Barbarossa’s camp. Today Carcano locality is a peaceful residential area immersed in the sweet smell of jasmine that covers lots of corners of the ancient buildings. Continuing the walk till Corogna locality, following Via per Carcano, you arrive at Santi Cosma and Damiano Church (also known as San Rocco Church). A medieval church, dated back to XI cent., the stone building has got some renovations from XII to XIV cent., in particular on the circular window over the main entrance. The last original element of XI cent. is the bell tower, with two openings and the sequence of mullioned windows for each side. The interior, characterized by an ancient nave with a semi-circular apsis, contains frescos painted from XV to XVI cent., represent the saints and several illustrations about Madonna.
ALPE DEL VICERÉ PARK
From the central square of Albavilla, Piazza Roma, it is possible to reach Alpe del Viceré with its trails, getting Via Roscio and Via Partigiana. One of the most characteristic trails is that traces the banks of Cosia River, marked by the “Marmitte dei Giganti” (Giants Pots), as deep cavities polished by the water erosion, and some sedimentary rocks, where you can find old molluscs. Duration of the visit: about an hour and a half.
ALPE DEL VICERÉ PARK
Albavilla is the starting point of several excursions those bring you to Mount Bollettone, and exist a route for every kind of hikers: you can walk into the woods till Alpe del Viceré, you can deal with the slopes by your bike or the less adventurous can reach Alpe locality also by car, using the accessible way and the car park. The suggestion to enjoy the nature of these marvellous places is obviously to get the trail to foot: also without hiking experience everyone can reach Alpe locality. The most characteristic trial which bring you to Alpe del Viceré winds along the banks of Cosia River. If you get it early in the morning and if you are quiet, you can appreciate the varieties of fauna those live in the wood: the gurgle of the water will cover your footsteps, and you can assist to the exciting awaking of the forest, from hyperactive squirrels to the songs of the birds. You can also admire how the flow of Cosia River has created typical “Marmitte dei Giganti”, or locally named “Bottini”: the water, with sand and rocks, has dug these polished caves, become for kids the glasses of the giants who lived Mount Bollettone.
Not only for the geological interest, the entire Mount is relevant for palaeontology: for more than a century there are lots of discoveries of shellfishes dated back to the Jurassic.
Ended the forest you reach Alpe del Viceré, an upland placed at about 900mt of altitude. The name comes from Eugenio di Beauharnais, stepson of Napoleon and viceroy of Italian Kingdom, who in 1810 built a large edifice for his horses, which were brought from Monza to Alpe during the summer. The upland, since 1935, hosted also a “Camp side for sons of Italian who live abroad”, that in few years became in an alpine village. Used also as military district during the war, was completely destroyed during the bombing in 1945. Today Alpe del Viceré is a place to relax with family and friends, for pic-nic o sunbath on the grass. It is equipped with tables, barbeque and there are also restaurants. It is also a favourite destination for local families.
From Alpe the hikers can start their panoramic excursions to the crests of Triangolo Lariano: you can find indications to trials those bring you to Baita Patrizi, to Buco del Piombo or to Rifugio Bollettone.
LAVATOIO ALLA FOCE
From the central square of Albavilla, Piazza Roma, by the typical trails of the historic centre, it is possible to reach the Ancient Lavatory of the Mouth (Lavatoio della Foce) and Villa Giamminola Park, at Via Cavour 13. Continuing along Via Ai Crotti and via Panoramica, where you can enjoy a wonderful panorama above Lake Alserio and Lake Pusiano, you can reach, at Via Santa Maria di Loreto, Santa Maria di Loreto church, dated back to XII century. Duration of the visit: about an hour and a half.
LAVATOIO ALLA FOCE
In the heart of the historical centre of Albavilla is possible to discover a place able to bring you back to the past more than a century: Lavatoio alla Foce, for locals only “La Foce”. Losing yourself though the streets, between old stone houses and small wood windows, you can find this view of the past: in a corner of the street there is the ancient stone lavatory, where the cold water flows from Mount Bollettone.
You have to stop and observe “La Foce” and image women did laundry on the smooth stone inclined towards the freeze water. Since the half of the XIX cent., the role of the laundry maid started to exist: this woman did not only wash clothes for her family, but also for rich families, to earn money or just in exchange for food. Obviously, all women in the past time were used to meet together at the public lavatory. Their voices flew through the town alleys, the oldest women beat wet clothes while the youngest girls taught during the hard work. Little girls learnt the secrets of the work observing their mothers and the other women, between splashes of water and nursery rhymes. Exactly as Pascoli’s poem “Lavandare”, it is easy to image how women waited their husbands came at home, with the rhythm of beats of heavy wet linen on the stone.
These women, those their stretched-out hands were easily identifiable, did not know that in 1906, in the US, the first washing machine was born. In Italy, first washing machines were confused with machines for cream, because these machines made lot of suds by the soap used for hand washing. The washing machines became common only at the end of the Fifties, but for another decade the Lavatoio alla Foce was used by the women of Albavilla, till completely abandon.
To end the tour of the town centre of Albavilla you can continue to Villa Giamminola Park. Following Via Ai Crotti and Via Panoramica, from there you can enjoy a stunning view above Lake Pusiano and Lake Alserio, you can end the tour at Santa Maria di Loreto shrine, an enchanting little church in a upper position; it was renovated but these works have maintained it similar to its original Romanic aspect of XII cent.
HOW TO REACH ALBAVILLA
ASF Bus Service
C40 Como – Erba – Lecco
Trenord Railway service from Milano Nord Cadorna Regional Train R16 Asso – Seveso – Milano, stop in Erba and continue by Bus service C40
From Como: get SS 342 in direction to Lecco, at Tavernerio get SP 639 – Viale Lombardia
From Lecco: get SS 36 in direction to Milan, exit at Como/Erba and continue forward Via Provinciale in direction to Como
From Milan: get SS 36 in direction to Lecco, exit at Nibionno SS 342 in direction to Anzano del Parco. At Anzano del Parco get SP 40 in direction to Canzo
Discover Green Lands
Explore the Green Lands of Lake Como!
A Project by
Comune di Erba capofila, Comune di Albavilla, Comune di Albese con Cassano, Comune di Alserio,
Comune di Eupilio, Comune di Inverigo, Comune di Lambrugo, Comune di Lurago d’Erba,
Comune di Merone, Comune di Montorfano, Comune di Orsenigo, Comune di Ponte Lambro, Comune di Pusiano,
Sistema Turistico Lago di Como, Lariofiere Como Lecco, Confcommercio Como.
The project “Distretto dell’Attrattività Turistica Expo Green Land” is born thanks to the Regional DDG “Distretti dell’attrattività turistica e commerciale” 14 July 2014. Project n. 52574412.