Lecco: what to see, where to eat and what to do in the evening

Lecco is a beautiful historic city that passed under the domination of the Duchy of Milan with the Visconti family, through the Spanish and Austrian ones. Each era has brought with it constructions and destructions that testify ancient splendors still visible today. The historic center, which extends parallel to the shore of the lake, is rich in nineteenth-century architecture, monuments, churches and gardens . Famous throughout the world for the beauty of the lake on which it stands and for being the birthplace of the great writer Alessandro Manzoni, who set his most famous novel here: The Betrothed. From a tourist point of view, it offers many opportunities for recreation suitable for those seeking relaxation, with beaches along the coast of the lake, culture, monuments and museums, entertainment, clubs and young nightlife.

What to see in Lecco

1 – Visconti Bridge

The Azzone Visconti bridge, also known as Ponte Vecchio, is one of the symbols of the city . Built between 1336 and 1338 on the Adda river, today it is different from the original while remaining one of the most important engineering testimonies of the time. The turrets and the three wooden drawbridges that had been built for defensive purposes are no longer present and the structure appears to have been improved after 1832 for road adaptation. Also mentioned by Manzoni, it can be covered on foot for the length of all its 18 arches, beautifully illuminated in the evening.

  • How to get: from the train station it is 1.5km away on foot in less than 20 minutes or by bus line n ° 9 – 
  • Timetables: always accessible
  • Ticket cost: for free

2 – Basilica of San Nicolò

Dedicated to the patron saint of the city, it was built in 1774 in a neoclassical style on the ruins of a thirteenth-century church. The structure has three naves with side chapels, it contains frescoes of the Giotto school, such as the Annunciation and the Deposition and a splendid series representing the life of S. Antonio Abate. The only remaining part of the original church is the baptistery chapel, which contains a baptismal font dating back to 1596. On the walls you can see the frescoes of the ‘300, recovered following the restoration works. Also beautiful are the pipe organ and the statue of the patron saint.

  • How to get: 400 meters from the station, about 5 minutes on foot – 
  • Timetables: always accessible
  • Ticket cost: for free

3 – Belgiojoso Palace

Beautiful building of the late eighteenth century with an internal garden used as a municipal park. Entering through the main door, you are welcomed into a large portico and a staircase with four medallions, dating back to the second half of the nineteenth century, depicting the portraits of the protagonists of the Promessi Sposi by Alessandro Manzoni.
The building currently houses the Museum of Natural History, the Archaeological Museum in which finds from the area from the Paleolithic to the Early Middle Ages are exhibited, the Historical Museum with a collection of documents, weapons and uniforms concerning the modern and contemporary history of territory and the Planetarium .

  • How to get: is 550 meters from the train station, walkable in 5 minutes – 
  • Timetables: from Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 to 14:00 – Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00 – closed on Monday
  • Ticket cost: full € 6.00 – reduced € 4.00 – under 6 free – It is possible to get a cumulative ticket that includes a visit to Palazzo Belgiojoso, Palazzo delle Paure and Villa Manzoni at full cost € 14.00 and reduced price € 8.00

4 – Lungolago

The lakefront of Lecco goes from S. Stefano to the war memorial , following the coast for several kilometers. The landscape opens up to different views of the lake and the mountains, passing through the marina, the statue of San Nicolò and areas equipped with playgrounds, bars and squares shaded by well-tended trees and flower beds. It is a very popular walk on weekends and in the summer.

  • How to get: the lakefront is only 500 meters from the station and can be reached in 8 minutes on foot – 
  • Timetables: always accessible
  • Ticket cost: for free

5 – Shrine of Our Lady of Victory

The building is in neo-Romanesque style with a cladding of alternating horizontal lines of white stone and
a gabled façade preceded by a portico with pillars and architraves. Designed with a single nave with side chapels, the interior is bare and essential without frescoes but with a beautiful tabernacle. Also striking is the 61 meter high bell tower and on the top of which an iron cross encloses a precious relic of the True Cross .

  • How to get: in via Trieste, 800 meters from the train station, it takes about 10 minutes on foot 
  • Timetables: every day from 7:00 to 19:00
  • Ticket cost: for free

6 – Villa Manzoni

Not far from the city center, Villa Manzoni belonged to the Manzoni family from 1615 until 1818 , when Alessandro Manzoni himself spent his childhood and part of his adolescence there. The villa is built around a porticoed courtyard and has a typically neoclassical structure and a park to the side.
The courtyard leads to the Chapel of the Assumption, where the writer’s father is buried. On the ground floor there is the Manzoniano Museum which traces the history of Alessandro Manzoni and his literary masterpiece. On the second floor is the Municipal Gallery, which preserves about four hundred paintings and two thousand engravings. Not directly open to the public, but open for consultation by scholars are: the Library, the Separate Section of the Archive and the Photo Library.

  • How to get: in via Don Guanella, 900 meters from the station, you arrive in 10-15 minutes on foot – 
  • Timetables: from Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 to 14:00 – Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00 – closed on Monday
  • Ticket cost: full € 6.00 – reduced € 4.00 – under 6 free

7 – Lierna

Small and characteristic village a few kilometers from Lecco, it is worth a visit for its late medieval castle, the church of Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro from 1147 with beautiful frescoes from the 1400s and the Riva Bianca beach which in summer is literally taken by assault by tourists for the quality and quantity of the services offered.

  • How to get: it is about 15km from the center of Lecco and can be reached by car in 20 minutes or by bus line n ° 1 to Vercurago in 30 minutes – 
  • Timetables: always accessible
  • Ticket cost: for free

8 – Castle of the Borgo

Once a fortified village, in Lecco there was also a castle built in the fourteenth century by the Visconti.
Today its tower, called Torre Viscontea and part of the walls are visible . After the restoration in 1816, the tower was used as a prison and then entrusted by the State to the Municipality of Lecco, which initially set up the Museum of the Risorgimento and of the Resistance of the city, to later convert it into the site of temporary exhibitions . On the ground floor are still visible the lodgings of the guardhouse and some stone cannonballs, while on the second and third floors there is the Museum of the Mountain and Mountaineering .

  • How to get: in Piazza XX Settembre, 500 meters from the station, 7 minutes on foot –
  • Timetables: from Thursday to Sunday from 15:00 to 18:00 – Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:30 to 14:00 – Monday closed
  • Ticket cost: for free

9 – Palace of Fears

Built in 1905 in neo-medieval style to house the headquarters of the Finance Office, it was therefore called “Palazzo delle Paure” and also includes the adjoining porticoed building, built in 1902. On the first floor it houses temporary exhibitions, while on the second floor it is the permanent collection of Contemporary Art of Si.MUL , with works by the most important local artists and others donated to the museum by some of the greatest contemporary Italian artists. On the second floor there is also the Lecco Mountaineering Observatory , with an interactive and multimedia part.

  • How to get: in Piazza XX Settembre, 400 meters from the train station, walkable in 5 minutes 
  • Timetables: from Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 to 14:00 – Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00 – closed on Monday
  • Ticket cost: full € 6.00 – reduced € 4.00 – under 6 free

10 – Manzonian places

Lecco, as everyone knows, was the backdrop to Manzoni’s masterpiece “I promessi sposi” and offers tourists who visit it the opportunity to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the novel by visiting the places mentioned by the writer. Walking through the streets of the city it is therefore possible to meet the Tabernacle where Don Abbondia meets the bravi (via Tonio and Gervaso), the church of Don Abbondio (church of Santi Vitale and Valeria – Olate), the house of Lucia (Acquate), the Palazzo di Don Rodrigo (via Dello Zucco), the Convent of Fra Cristoforo (church of Santi Materno and Lucia – Piazza Fra Cristoforo), the Castle of the Innominato (Vercurago) and other minor places however mentioned.

  • How to get: distributed in the historic center of the city and spaced a few hundred meters from each other, they are all within walking distance starting from the train station and following itineraries as desired – 
  • Timetables: always accessible
  • Ticket cost: for free

Lecco itinerary in one day

Whether you arrive your car by public transport, the reference point will be the city’s train station, given the presence of nearby car parks and bus stops.
Morning – We start with a good breakfast in one of the most famous pastry shops in the city, the Pasticceria Pontiggia which is on the road that leads from the station to the Basilica. Arriving at the church dedicated to the patron saint you can admire its eighteenth-century style and the beautiful frescoes it houses and following the lakefront you arrive at the Palazzo delle Paure with its Contemporary Art Gallery, temporary exhibitions and the Mountaineering Observatory. Also on the lakefront you pass in front of the Viscontea Tower and you can stop for lunch at theCanottieri Restaurant , to also enjoy the magnificent panorama.

Afternoon – After lunch, continue towards Villa Manzoni, first passing in front of the writer’s monument. At the villa, where Manzoni lived a good part of his life and where he probably found the inspiration for “… that branch of Lake Como that turns at noon ..” you can visit the museum dedicated to him and the Gallery of Municipal Art. To conclude the tour that will take you back to our starting point, continue in the direction of Palazzo Belgiojoso which in addition to the beauty of the building offers the visitor three museums to visit, the planetarium and the possibility of enjoying moments of relaxation in its splendid park

Evening– Not far from the Palazzo, in Corso Matteotti, is the Osteria Filet restaurant where you can have dinner before returning to the station or the hotel where you will stay overnight.

One day itinerary at a glance

  1. Breakfast at the Pasticceria Pontiggia , between the station and the Basilica – 
  2. Basilica San Nicolò – opening hours: always accessible – ticket price: free
  3. Palazzo delle Paure – opening hours: from Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 to 14:00 – Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00 – closed Monday – ticket cost: full € 6.00 – reduced € 4.00 – under 6 free
  4. Lungolago – opening hours: always accessible – ticket price: free
  5. Lunch at Ristorante Canottieri – 
  6. Villa Manzoni – opening hours: from Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 to 14:00 – Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00 – closed Monday – ticket cost: full € 6.00 – reduced € 4.00 – under 6 free
  7. Palazzo Belgiojoso – opening hours: from Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 to 14:00 – Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00 – closed Monday – ticket cost: full € 6.00 – reduced € 4.00 – under 6 free
  8. Dinner at Osteria Filet – 

Where to eat in Lecco

  1. Canottieri : well-kept location on the lakefront, with attentive and professional staff. Excellent typical cuisine and good selection of wines.
    Average price per person: € 40.00
    Address and contacts: Via Francesco Nullo, 2 
  2. Osteria Filet : tavern and delicatessen, has an excellent selection of cured meats and offers refined gastronomy dishes. Level cellar and well-kept environment
    Average price per person: € 45.00
    Address and contacts: Corso Giacomo Matteotti, 71 
  3. Al Porticciolo 84 : elegant and refined restaurant with attentive and helpful staff. It offers elaborate dishes and splendid lake cuisine. Quality raw materials and well-stocked wine cellar.
    Average price per person: € 60.00
    Address and contacts: via Valsecchi, 5

What to do in the evening: nightlife areas and the best clubs

Most of the nightclubs in Lecco are located in the historic center and in the lakeside area where you can spend your evenings in one of the many pubs, lounge bars and cocktail bars that often organize events with live music and happy hour with DJ sets. Obviously in the lakeside area there are also many restaurants , while for discos you have to move a few kilometers.

  • The Shamrock Pub : location furnished in a classic Irish pub style, has an excellent selection of beers and organizes evenings with live music. Address: via Parini, 5 
  • Imbarcadero : splendid location on the lakefront, it is one of the most fashionable places in the city. The internal room and suggestive terrace overlooking the lake are beautiful, it is very popular for an aperitif and also organizes happy hours with DJ sets.
    Address: Lungolario Cesare Battisti, 3 
  • Casablanca : a place for all kinds of entertainment, from aperitifs to dinners, to disco and cabaret shows. Resident DJ and high level gust star for sparkling evenings
    Address: via Galli, 1

Plan your stay in Lecco: info and useful tips

  • How to get: the airport of reference is that of Bergamo Orio al Serio which is 35 km away and connected by ATB bus N.1 to the Bergamo railway station; from here there is a direct train to Lecco with an hourly frequency of 40 minutes at a cost of € 3.60. By car from Milan it is 50 km on the north SS36; it is 260 km from Venice along the A4 west; from Turin it is 186 km along the A4 east. By train from Milan it takes 40 minutes by regional train at a cost of € 4.80; from Venice it takes about 4 hours and 45 minutes making two changes at a cost of € 23.20; from Turin it takes 3 hours and a change at a cost of € 14.95.
  • How to get around : the city of Lecco can be easily explored on foot and all the attractions are just a few hundred meters away from each other. Alternatively, you can use the buses of the Lecco company with tickets on sale in bars and newsstands at a cost of € 1.30 for the 90-minute ride.
  • Where to park : the Lineelecco company manages some guarded car parks, including that of Corso Matteotti ( Get directions ) open from 8:00 to 20:00 at a cost of € 2.00 per hour and that of Piazza Mazzini ( Get directions ) with same rates.
  • Where to sleep: Hotels and b & b from € 60.00 per room 
  • What to see in the surrounding area : Bellagio (22 km – 35 minutes) – Como (32 km – 45 minutes) – Bellano (25 km – 30 minutes) – Bergamo Alta (35 km – 60 minutes)

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