A popular holiday resort placed at the top of Larian Triangle, on one of the Southern branches, Bellagio, also known as "the pearl of the Lario", is located in an area inhabited since prehistoric times. A settlement was founded here by the Romans (the non documented history narrates that here was located a villa of Pliny the Younger). The centre was fortified with walls in the Lombard ages and sided the other independent municipalities and opposed to Como. Subsequently it was ceded to the Visconti, who paved the fortifications. In late XV century, Ludovico il Moro ceded the fief to Stanga Family, later it passed to Sfrondati Family, who owned most of the Eastern shore of the lake, and in 1647, part of the fief was submitted to the Airoldi. These and other families built mansions and palaces, created parks which were renovated and expanded, between the XVIII century and the XIX century and so, Bellagio became one of the most famous resorts in Europe.
Not to miss:
The Basilica of St. James, built between the XI and XII centuries, during the XVIII century the building submitted a complete refurbishment both internal and external. In the early XX century, under the guidance of the architect Perrone, the structure was restored again and at present it features a Romanesque appearance.
Near to the Basilica of St. James lies the Church of San Giorgio, in which is preserved a painting of the XI century (the Madonna of the Belt) and a wooden statue of the same period.
Of Baroque style plan, instead, is the Church of San Giovanni Battista (XVII century), which features only one nave with a wooden altar of the XVII century, a fresco depicting the Madonna delle Grazie from the Lombard school, a marble statue of the Immaculate Conception of the school of Bernini and a wooden Choir of the same century.
Along the shores of the promontory of Bellagio there are several villas with parks, such as Villa Serbelloni, today a famous luxury hotel, which was built in the XV century on the ruins of the old castle razed in 1375. It is currently owned by the Rockefeller Foundation in New York and only the park is open to the public.
Splendid is also Villa Melzi, also privately owned, built in 1808 for the Duke Francesco Melzi d 'Eril, coadjutor of Napoleon. It is possible to visit a small chapel, the small museum (with a rich archaeological collection of paintings and sculptures, including a text attributed to Michelangelo) and the beautiful park where flowrs of azaleas and rhododendrons are alternated with magnificent statues.