A Brief History of The Lake Como Area

The history of the Lake Como starts since ancient times, when the lake surroundings got populated due to their strategic position between the northern regions and the Pianura Padana. The precious materials found in the necropolis witness the wealth of the people living in the area, at least until the 1st century BCE when the invasion of Gauls started a slow decadence. The Romans, under consul Marco Claudio Marcello, occupied the territory in 196 BCE. Comum (the ancient name of Como) was already established in the 1st millennium BCE, but it is for the will of Gaio Giulio Cesare in the year 53 BCE that was refounded as Novum Comun in its current lakeside location and experienced a remarkable demographic development.

Pliny the Elder - History of the Lake Como
Pliny The Elder (Plinio il Vecchio), born in Como

The city became embellished with sumptuous buildings, as the baths (le Terme) and the library (la Biblioteca) that were donated by Pliny The Elder (Plinio il Vecchio), born in Como and then sent by his father to Rome to be educated in lawmaking. He became a Roman author, a naturalist and natural philosopher, a naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire. Pliny the Younger (Plinio il Giovane), his nephew, built its two holiday villas known as la Commedia and la Tragedia on the shore of Lake Como.

History of The Lake Como: The Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages Como was invaded by the Goths and then by the Longobards. A war that lasted for 10 years (1118-1127) between Como and Milan left the city with the walls and houses destroyed, while the inhabitants were dispersed.

Frederick Barbarossa
Frederick Barbarossa, the Holy Roman Emperor

Through the alliance with Frederick Barbarossa (Federico Barbarossa), Como found in the following years the opportunity to rebuild and aspire to regain the lost hegemony. With the help of the Emperor, the city walls were rebuilt and expanded with its towers of Porta Torre, St. Vitale and the tower of Porta Nuova (or Gattoni). The Baradello Castle was also restored and enhanced with the construction of its mighty tower.

In 1162 Como had its revenge by participating in the siege and destruction of the city of Milan.

The French Invasion and the Spanish Domination

In the 14th Century Como was included in the territory of the Duchy of Milan, a state of the Holy Roman Empire in northern Italy created in 1395. The city then faced the French invasion and the Spanish domination, until when in 1714 the territory was taken by the Austrians. It is only after the arrival of Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1859 that the city was freed to become part of the newly formed Kingdom of Italy by the House of Savoy.

Benito Mussolini - History of the Lake Como
Benito Mussolini

Recent History of The Lake Como

During World War II, Como was never bombed, although it will be always remembered as the place where Benito Mussolini was taken prisoner while trying to reach Switzerland. He was then shot by partisans in a small town on the north shores of Lake Como.

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