Dongo is located on the plain formed by the Albano stream at the entrance of the Albano Valley. At the bottom of the valley lies the important pass of S. Jorio, which already in Roman times connected the Upper Lario and the Swiss Mesolcina Valley. In the 4th and 5th centuries Dongo, together with Gravedona and Sorico, constituted the community of the Three Parishes, the pivot of the diffusion of Christianity in the Upper Lake, which benefited from autonomy until the end of the 16th century.
On April 27, 1945, the troops escorting Benito Mussolini and some of his ministers were stopped on the road between Musso and Dongo. The ministers were initially taken to Palazzo Manzi, then they were shot along the lake in front of the square. The Duce and Clara Petacci were taken to Giulino di Mezzegra and executed the following day. These facts are recalled in the Museum of the End of the War inside the Manzi Palace. The palace was built in 1824 and is one of the most expressive examples of the Napoleonic age in the Lario. Inside you can visit the so-called Golden Room, place of reception of the family Manzi. For information contact the Cooperative Imago: tel. 0344 82572
On the left of Palazzo Manzi you take via del Mercato and immediately after a portico, you turn right in via Osteria to enter the historical center where there is the small church of Romanesque origin of S. Maria in Martinico, a single nave building with sculptural decorations. From the church you take the cobbled via dell’Erbolo, to reach the ancient nucleus of Barbignano. On the other side of the river you can see the big plants of the former Ferriere Falck, then Cagiva.
Back towards Palazzo Manzi, follow via Roma and via Tre Pievi. After crossing the bridge over the Albano river, on the other side of the state road, you reach the beautiful Franciscan Convent of the Madonna delle Lacrime. The church has a seventeenth-century aspect and it is annexed to the convent of the Franciscan friars. 50m further on we take viale Mons. Bellesini, which leads to the parish church of S. Stefano of very ancient origins but rebuilt in 1700. The church is embellished by frescoes painted by artists of European fame such as Carlo Scotti and Giulio Quaglio. Behind the church begins the beautiful walk of 50 minutes that runs along the lake connecting Dongo to Gravedona. Along the way there are benches, beaches, lidos and picnic areas. The market of Dongo takes place every first and third Thursday of the month.