Gravedona is one of the most important centres in the northern part of the lake. lt is situatcd in an inlet at the mouth of the Valle del Liro opposite the peninsula of Piona and Monte Legnone.
Over the centuries it has preserved its original urban plan, with the church area, the lakeside, and the old castle area.
Located on a scenic bay, it has one of the most beautiful lakeside promenades in tha entire Lake Como area.
It offers good athletic facilities and a convenient pedestrian and bicycle path that runs all the way to Dongo.
The town has conserved many historical and artistic tcstimonies of its past. Finds from pre-Roman times were made in the uppcr part of thc town, where a sheeer rock rises above the lake.
This was once the site of medieval fortifications and a castle from which the locality took its name. In the inhabitcd part that runs along the edge of the lake, there are still houses with antique facades and portals.
In the communal period Gravedona was a centre of considerable importance; it took part in thc ten-year war between Como and Milan (1.118-1.127) and subsequently in the treaty of Costanza, which brought an end to the conflict between Barbarossa and the communes of Lombardy.
In the 16th century Philip II of Spain ceded the town to Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio of Como. In the past the economy of the town was based on fishing, agriculture and, in the summer for hoildaymakers.
On the hills at 6 kms. from the town is Peglio. This beautifully located little village overlooks the lake. lt has a sixteenth century church which contains paintings by il Fiammenghino. Continuing on from Peglio one comes to Livo, where a long walk begins to Rifugio Como (1.790) on the banks of Lake Darengo.
PLACE TO VISIT:
The Church of San Vincenzo
Built around 1.050 on the site of a pre-existing votivc chapel (5th century); it was rebuilt between the 17th and 18th centuries. The crypt and two inscriptions from the 6th ccntury have been preserved from the original building.
The Church of Santa Maria del Tiglio
This Romanesque church in black and white marble dates back to the first half of the 12th century.
The bell tower is incorporated in the centre of the facade; just a little behind it; and has mullioned windows with two and three lights from the 18th century.
It is completely crowned under the eaves by a cornice of small arches. On the other three sides there are semi-circular apses decoratcd by small double-lintelled arches and saw-toothed friezes and separated by semi-columns with pilaster strips. The interior has one aisle with small balconics and pointed archcs.
There is a walled-in Romanesque altar; the remains of some mosaic work in the floor from the 5th ccntury, a baptismal font which has taken the place of the earlier baptistry of Saint John the Baptist; a Romanesque wooden crucifix and frescoes from the 13th-16th centuries.