Just beyond the foaming Camoggia waterfall sits the village of Colonno, lounging comfortably across the slopes of Monte Costolone as they swoop down to meet Lake Como. The residential part of the village is split in two by the Strada Regina, which runs parallel to the lake.
The mountainside is home to a series of terraces that were created in order for the land to be farmed. As for Colonno’s street plan, it has changed little since mediaeval times. Its narrow roads are packed tightly with houses, making it all the more surprising when its typical alleyways open suddenly onto the lake.
Some of the village’s landmarks include the house bridge over the Pessetta stream – still scarred by the flood of 1905 – and the lakeside Palazzo Pretura with its beautiful sixteenth-century wooden door.
The parish church of San Michele Arcangelo, which borders the only lakeside piazza, is also not to be missed.
Its name harks back to its Roman roots, when Julius Caesar decreed that the banks of Lake Como be colonised by wealthy farming families from Magna Graecia (Sicily).
During the Middle Ages the village’s fate was linked to that of the Comacina Island, and continued to be throughout the lengthy war between Como and Milan. The current church of San Michele Arcangelo was rebuilt in the nineteenth century on the site of the previous Romanesque church, traces of which can still be found in the bell tower and in several fragments of fresco on the back wall of the chancel that date from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
The village’s economy used to revolve around the trade in agricultural products and fish, which the women of Colonno would take to market in Como and Milan.
In the sixteenth century, the fiefdom was granted to the family of Alberti di Colico and in 1640 it passed to the marquises of the Gallio family of Como. From 1927 to 1950, the village fell under the administration of Sala Comacina and Ossuccio.