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Photo Credit: Jill Manassee

Lecco is the Perfect Place to Enjoy the Local Side of Lake Como

13 March 2024
by Jill Manassee
Photo Credit: Jill Manassee
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Visiting the eastern branch is a quieter way to experience the world-famous lake.

At the eastern tip of Lake Como sits the small town of Lecco. Here, traditional wooden boats are moored along the shores of Lago di Lecco, as the locals love to call their branch of the lake. It's quieter than other parts of the lake, and small villages and gravel beaches nestle along the lakeside instead of pompous villas and large hotels.  

The gorgeous province of Lecco and its namesake capital have been adored by Italians for ages. Locally, it's known for being the setting for the famous 19th-century novel I Promessi Sposi (“The Betrothed”). Even so, Lecco is still a hidden gem when it comes to international tourists, making it the perfect place to enjoy the beauty of Lake Como without the crowds. 

Lecco promenade

You can easily explore Lecco on foot. Walk through the town center while marveling at the San Nicoló bell tower rising above the roofs with Monte San Martino in the background. Don’t miss taking a stroll along Lungolago—the town’s seaside promenade—and visiting the winding alleys of Pescarenico, Lecco’s old fishing district, where the lake merges back into the river Adda. 

In Lecco, any spare time is spent outside. Locals love to meet at the beautiful beaches for a spritz after work and go hiking on weekends. Here are some of my favorite places to enjoy the mountains, the lakeside, and the fantastic cuisine in the province of Lecco: 

Gelato from ToldoEat

Ristorante Orestino

Lungolario Cesare Battisti, 5, Lecco  

Located right next to the lakeside promenade, this rustic restaurant is a local institution. Orestino has been family-run since 1950, serving traditional Lombardese dishes such as risotto al pesce persico, a creamy risotto with local fish from the lake. The summer months are the best time to eat here when the restaurant’s garden is open and you can enjoy your food with a cold glass of local white wine between lush greens and palm trees. 

 

Trattoria Corte Fiorina 

Via Giuseppe Bovara, 17, Lecco  

Hidden in a backstreet in Lecco’s center, this stunning restaurant in a flower-filled courtyard is a picturesque spot for lunch or dinner. Locals love the homemade ravioli filled with fresh fish from the lake, and their risotto with pumpkin is delicious. 

 

Crotto del Capraio 

Via Privata del Pozzo, 42, Civate  

Situated at the base of a hiking area in Civate, a small community in the province of Lecco, this restaurant is a true hidden gem. Local dishes are made here with fresh ingredients from the Valtelline valley. Some favorites are the homemade fresh ricotta cheese sprinkled with honey, pizzoccheri alla valtellinese (buckwheat pasta, potatoes, and local casera cheese), sciatt (crispy buckwheat fritters filled with cheese), and polenta taragna (corn and buckwheat polenta with local taleggio cheese). 

 

Toldo Gelati 

Via Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 39, Lecco 

This may be the creamiest gelato you’ve ever tried. I’ve tried countless flavors here and never been disappointed. But that’s not all: your gelato comes topped with a waffle dipped in melted white or dark chocolate. Every time I come to Lecco, I look forward to visiting this gelateria.

 

Hiking in LeccoDo 

Belvedere Parco Valentino 

Via Escursionisti, 25, Piani Resinelli 

This is the perfect place to go for a spectacular view when you’re not in the mood for a long hike. Although it’s nearly 4,000 feet above sea level, it’s just a short walk if you arrive by car. At the end of the trail is a platform with a breathtaking view across the lake and its surrounding mountains. The perfect time to come here is shortly before sunset, when the lake glimmers in soft orange tones. 

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