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In-The-Know about Lake Como
Mail Online The Ides of March starring George Clooney opens the 68th Venice Film Festival 2011
An Italian Tradition: La Passeggiata Fodor's Travel Intelligence
Becoming an Italian Word by Word Dianne Hales
Lake Como – A Celebrated Past
The town of Como with its superb natural setting has always had a dual identity, as a commercial centre on the one hand, and as a unique tourist destination on the other. Discovered centuries ago the area around Lake Como was conquered by Julius Caesar in 49 BC to expand the Roman Empire across the Alps. As a gateway, 'Larius' became an important centre of trade in olive oil, chestnuts, fish, and silk, where the lake's prosperity and unique climate also created a haven for life and retreat attracting the aristocracy and literati, notably Virgil (70 BC - 19 BC) who simply called it “Our greatest lake”. Pliny the Elder was born in Como in AD 29, the author of 37 books on natural history while his nephew,Pliny the Younger, a poet, owned two villas on Lake Como, one called ‘Tragedy’ believed to be the site of the present-day Villa Serbelloni (private) on the hill above Bellagio, and the other on the lakeshore below called ‘Comedy’. Much later onAlessandro Manzoni (1785-1873) would again make Lake Como famous with his book “I Promessi Sposi” The Betrothed, published in 1827.
Stendhal the French writer (1783 – 1842) described Lake Como as an "enchanting spot, unequalled on earth in its loveliness."
Alessandro Volta (1745–1827), is a son of Como and celebrated for his 1800 invention of the battery.
More recently Franz List often picnicked in the grounds of Villa Melzi and wrote to the author Louis de Ronchaud [List writes] in 1837: “When you write the story of the two lovers, place them on the shores of Lake Como. I do not know of any land so conspicuously blessed by heaven.” During this visit List also wrote his Dante Symphony (S.109), based on Dante’s journey through Hell and Purgatory, as depicted in ‘The Divine Comedy’.
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