Surrounded by tall mountains, Lecco is very picturesque and makes for a perfect start for mountaineering expeditions, but is not as popular as Como at the other end of the lake - which makes it quieter. It is in Lecco that the river Adda flows out of the lake Como, flowing further south through Lombardy, including Lodi, to join the river Po near Cremona.
Many of the artifacts in the city belonged once to the affluent Lombardian Manzoni family. Its most famous son, Alessandro Manzoni, immortalized the town in his novel The Betrothed. Despite its picturesque location, Lecco's economy for centuries been dependent on industry, not tourism. In particular, Lecco has been a major ironworking centre, with various companies owned by the Badoni family leading the way, manufacturing railway locomotives and constructing bridges around the world.
Lecco is a railway hub within the Trenord network, so getting in by train is quite a natural choice. There are five railway lines that radiate out of Lecco.
- One line from Milano Centrale (40 min) through Monza (30 min) - hourly
- Another line running from Monza (40 min) through the countryside
- The former mainline from Lecco to Bergamo (40 min) - hourly
- The line running south of the lake to Como (1 hr) - only two direct services daily, one in the morning, one in the evening
- And the northern line to the Lombardian Alps running through Sondrio (80 min) towards Tirano (2 hr) on the Swiss border - operated every 2-3 hours daily
One-way tickets on all of the connections operated by regional trains are between €3.50 and €5, except for services to Lombardian Alps, which are €6.50 to €9.
The closest airports to Lecco are those of Bergamo Orio al Serio and Milano Linate, both around 40-50 minutes from Lecco by road or rail (travelling by rail requires changing from local transportation from the airport to the main train station). The former is served by low-fare and holiday carriers from destinations all over Europe, while the latter has business-oriented connections from major European hubs served mostly by flag carriers.
Intercontinental flights to Lombardy, and more low-fare and full-service flights from Europe, arrive at Milano Malpensa Airport. Travelling from Malpensa on public transportation, you need to travel to Milan first (at least 30 minutes by express rail) and then continue to Lecco from there. By car, the journey is around 1 h in theory, but in practice you need to go through the busy A8 and A4 autostradas that get frequently clogged and require tolls.
The city center is situated at walking distance from the main railway station and it's also a pedestrian zone, so walking is the best option.
The lakefront walk, which runs approx from the city center to the hamlet of Pescarenico, is also a pedestrian zone.
- 2 Ferries (Gestione Governativa Navigazione Laghi). A ferry line connects the town with the village of Bellagio making a few stops on the way.
- 1 Basilica di San Nicolò. Standing 96 metres tall near the lakeshore, it is by far the most characteristic landmark in town, and can be seen from far away. It was first erected in the 8th century, and underwent numerous reconstructions.
- 2 Palazzo Belgiojoso, Corso Matteotti 32, ☎ . Tu-Su 09:30-14:30. Hosts Museum of Natural History, the Archaeological Museum and the Civic Planetarium. €3.
- 3 Palazzo delle Paure, Piazza XX Settembre 22, ☎ . Built in 1905 in eclectic neo-medieval style. Currently hosts a collection of modern art and temporary exhibitions.
- 4 Torre Viscontea, Piazza XX Settembre, ☎ . open only during temporary exhibitions. This big tower is the only remain from former fortifications.
- 5 Ponte di Azzone Visconti. A bridge built by Azzone Visconti between 1336 and 1338 on the river Adda.
- 6 Santuario di Nostra Signora della Vittoria, Via Azzone Visconti. A massive church built in 1932 in memory of the fallen of the Great War.
- 7 Villa Manzoni, Via Guanella 1, ☎ , . Tu-Su 9:30-17:30. Dedicated to Alessandro Manzoni, an Italian poet and novelist. The villa hosts Museo Manzoniano and Galleria Comunale d’Arte. €5,00.
Hiking is a popular sport in Lecco, as the city is literally surrounded by mountains. You can choose one of the many mountains that surround the city, like the Resegone (which means Big Saw, for its jagged shape) or the Grigna for a beautiful trip.
Lecco mountains offer well maintained paths and many mountain huts to provide a base for your journeys. Usually at mountain huts you can find food, beverages, restrooms and accommodations if you plan an overnight journey. As there are many path to choose from and they can vary from easiest ones to the most strenuous, it's better to get a map and plan your trip in advance. The tourist office can help you to plan your trip.
Unfortunately, there are not many places which can be reached by a public transport, here is one of them:
- 1 Cableway Lecco - Piani d'Erna (bus #5 from the city center to Versasio). Piani D'Erna is a locality up the mountain above the city. If you don't like to walk you can simply enjoy the stunning view of the lake and the surrounding peaks, rest on the grass or just stroll around relaxing. If you are an hiker, from Piani d'Erna you can find many beautiful paths to the Resegone, to Piani di Bobbio and other destinations. Schedule and prices for the cable car can be found here [formerly dead link] and bus timetable for bus number 5 are here. The bus tickets must be bought in avance, there is a newspaper kiosk in the train station that sells them (1.30€, better buy the return ticket there as well).
- Sassi Rossi, a Provinciale 1, Crandola Valsassina, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotel Sassi Rossi is outside of Lecco, in Valsassina near Lake Como.
- NH Pontevecchio, Via A. Visconti, 84, ☎ . Overlooking Lake Como. Rooms are comfortable and many amenities are provided. From €109.
- Bed And Breakfast Partenza Funivia, 34 Prealpi Street, ☎ . Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 10:00. A beautiful bed and breakfast near the valley station of the Piani d'Erna cableway. €35.