Lecco and its nearby villages still hear the echo of one of most famous masterpieces of the Italian literature. Visitors on the outlook for something different and cultural will have bread for their teeth as the territory still keeps the memory of Manzoni alive
Alessandro Manzoni is one of the most world-renowned and loved Italian authors. His masterpiece, “I promessi sposi” (The Betrothed) is an historical novel, first published in 1827 and still read in all Italian high schools. On a scenario made of wars and plagues, a couple, Renzo and Lucia, struggle to get married, in an example of the strength that love can achieve.
Visit the places that hosted the Manzoni's characters
The plot is set in Northern Italy, where it is still possible to see the places Manzoni wrote about in his book (and got the inspiration from). This video lists all the places in the Lecco area that Manzoni cited in the novel: places that, for example, were the castle of the evil lord or home to Lucia, the female main character, the girl who Renzo tries to marry despite all difficulties.
As you can see, these places are quite a lot, that's why this maps comes handy: it shows (in English) all villages, old churches and majestic houses that hosted the Manzoni's characters and help the visitor to figure out distances and directions to get there. Number 27, in light blue, is the name of our newspaper, named after the mountain that overhangs the area and was seen by Renzo, the main male character. Lucia, instead, besides the name of the character, is also the name of an old little boat typical to the area, that you can see in the video and that was used back in the days to fish and to transfer passengers from one side of lake of Lecco to the other.
These places, all cited in the novel, are located in Lecco, where the author lived for quite a long time, but also in Milan and Bergamo. Among them, there is Pescarenico, a tiny and pretty quarter located on the outskirts of Lecco. In the novel it is home to some monks, who played a pivotal role in the plot, helping Lucia out whilst some other monks were divided between the binding love of Renzo and Lucia and the blackmail of the wicked lord, Don Rodrigo. You can read this thought-provoking review of the novel: it was written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1835 and published in the Southern Literary Messenger.
Villa Manzoni in Lecco: the place where the novelist lived and got inspired, now a museum
Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873) spent all his childhood and a great part of his youth in a family home in Lecco, located in the heart of the Caleotto district. That was the spot from where he saw Lecco and observed the lake, its beauties and peculiarities. We find all that in his book, written later on, when he was a man already but still with his childhood's memories alive deep in him.
The villa was later transformed into a museum (the website also lists some B&B and hotels in Leccoand nearby). It now hosts some of Manzoni's belongings but also pictures and photographs that testify to how deeply the writer was attached to his territory. In further rooms, other Manzoni's books and works are on display. Furniture and decorations are original from 1818, the year when the writer sold it.
Everything there mirrors the spirit of this well-known Italian writer. A nice place where to start from, to visit all the places so close and important for this great Italian talent.