Tremezzo is situated on the western side of the lake and has a panoramic view directly onto the cape of Bellagio. Nestled in the bay between Cadenabbia and Mezzegra, Tremezzo is protected from stormy weather. Inhabited since the times of the Romans in the Middle Ages (you can still find traces of ancient ruins), the town was involved in the wars between Como and Milan and was part of the defensive system of Isola Comacina. It was destroyed after Como retaliated against Milan’s allies but recovered and became part of the Visconti territory.
From the middle of the 1600’s the town of Tremezzo began to prosper enriched with commerce from other European countries. This prosperity allowed the buying of land and the construction of houses and great palaces like Villa Carlotta. After the French Revolution a new economic system was put in place, jeopardizing the future of many families as many palaces/villas were sold whilst others were declassed to colonial houses. Rich gentlemen from the city of Milan began acquiring these grand palaces/villas, some of which were restored to their previous splendor. In the first decades of the 1800’s many of the palaces/villas were used as ‘recovery residences’ where people stayed to breathe in the healthy air in order to help cure serious diseases such as tuberculosis. Other villas were constructed along the river towards the lake and in 1850 the first hotels were built. Many villas in Tremezzo were built or restored during the end of the 1800’s as it became particularly popular with the British and still is to this day.
During the World Wars tourism ground to a halt and hotels were used as military hospitals. The owners would not get their business back any time soon and promises of compensation for lost business reached difficulties despite the continuous pressing demands from the hotel owners. The traces of this military presence can be seen in the mountain roads around the lake with tunnels and trenches dug in strategic places. Tourism slowly returned after the World Wars and Tremezzo became recognized as a popular area once again. In the following years it was visited by the rich and famous and actress Greta Garbo filmed some scenes for one of her films in the Grand hotel Tremezzo Hotel.
Not only is Tremezzo a popular tourist destination, but it also has an important place in history with the capture and the execution of Mussolini which happened in the nearby vicinities.
The village of Rogaro is spread out along the hills of Tremezzo. The modern part of the village is a residential area populated with villettes in recent years. The centre of the village comprises of houses from the 1600’s/1700’s. In the small piazza lies the Baroque style Oratory of the B.V of Einsiedeln, built in 1733. Not faraway from the old piazza lies the ruins of a medieval tower that testify to the involvement of Tremezzo in the defense system to help the Isola Comacina. In 1984 a connecting road was built through to the lower road of Rogaro and Brughée thus connecting the villages of Tremezzo with Griante and Cadenabbia. From Rogaro and Brughée the mountain paths lead to Mount Nava, Mount Crocione and Saint Martino over Griante. The lower road of Rogaro has an extended path lading through fields to agricultural land and other small houses (borgo) beyond the small village. Due to the panoramic view from this area, some of the scenes from the film “Stellari” wars were filmed here. Even today, this particular area is visited from enthusiasts from all over the world.
Volesio & Balogno, Tremezzo
The small villages of Volesio and Balogno are connected by a cobbled path leading down to Tremezzo. At the centre you will find refined palaces/villas of the 1600’s with their large gardens surrounded by fields and colonial houses, and many tracks allowing access to the villas at the back. There are many alleyways with wide cobbled steps leading up towards the mountains. These ancient villas were mainly built on the lower ground and were divided into areas for the nobles and the servants. The villas were a status symbol for the owners, representing their wealth and nobility.
The Baroque Oratory of Saint Peter and Paul with its columns and balustrades in black marble was completed in the 1600’s.