All Posts from June, 2017

Cistercian Abbey of Piona

June 22nd, 2017 | By Wendy Koppen in Parco San Marco, Surroundings, To know more about | No Comments »

The Priory of Piona, commonly known as the Abbey of Piona, is a rare jewel of Romanesque architecture in Lombardy. Built with the typical coma stone art in a square style, it is located on the Lecchese shore of lake Como in the municipality of Colico and can be reached by boat.

PionaNestled at the foot of the Legnone and Legnoncino Mountains, the abbey rises at the end of the Olgiasca peninsula in front of Gravedona on the extreme tip of Lecco.

It was consecrated in 1138 and named after the Virgin.

The Church appears slightly behind the western side of the monastery on which it stands.

The first church dedicated to Santa Giustina was erected in medieval times and many centuries later the priory was founded with the abbey complex. The place sits along a strategic military route as via Valtellina connects Milan and central Italy to the rest of Europe.

In present-day Piona, therefore, there are two buildings: today’s church of St. Nicholas, which constitutes the true building nucleus of the Piona Priory, and behind this is the ruins of a portion of apse. They are the preserved remains of a building that degraded over time and was then destroyed, thus making room for the next building dedicated to St. Nicholas.

The architecture of the Abbey complex falls into the so-called Romanesque Lombard with transalpine influences. The present building is the result of multiple extensions of a previous church whose consecration dates back to 1138.

In the south part of the church, there is a beautiful cloister built later around 1242, replacing perhaps a previous one of which there is no evidence in present day. It is the reference point of the entire monastic complex, a place of silence. The structure is quadrangular to evoke the symbolic force of number four.

In the center of the cloister the source and the tree represent the source of the delights and the tree of life of the earthly paradise.

 ABBAZIA-DI-PIONA-COLICO-4

Strolling through the olive groves and discovering the main church, the splendid cloister, the apse, the ruins of the church of Santa Giustina, the beautiful chapter hall and the views of the lake is surely a mystical and exciting experience.

In one of the buildings of the complex, the monks who still inhabit this place sell some products including medicinal herbs, sacred objects, cosmetic creams, honey and famous liquors cleverly distilled according to the oldest traditions – all natural products created by the monks themselves.

written by Sara Biacchi

The Begna waterfall

June 19th, 2017 | By Deborah Giorno in Parco San Marco, Surroundings, To know more about | No Comments »

Cascata-di-BegnaJust 25 minutes from Parco San Marco (10 minutes by car and 15 minutes on foot) you can reach one of the most beautiful places in Porlezza. You will be immersed in a wonderful natural space where you can enjoy the view of a splendid, albeit small, waterfall: the Begna waterfall.

If you leave your car at Begna near the parish church and the playground (the parking is free), you can continue on foot following the signs for the “Strolech Bridge” and then to the waterfall. The trail is not difficult, apart from a short but steep descent leading to an old stone bridge.

The trail begins on a paved road through the town’s streets leading to the forest path. At a certain point the trail offers a  fantastic panoramic view of the plain of Porlezza, after which will find old farmhouses and then a small chapel. Taking the left-hand path that continues downhill, you will arrive in a matter of minutes at the waterfall .

It is ideal to go on a hot summer day, when you can start out with a costume and towel to appreciate the coolness of a place that, even in the summer, never gets too hot.

If, however, after seeing the waterfall you want to keep walking, you can go back to the old chapel and, following the signs for the Strolech bridge, you will arrive there in just over an hour.

Returning to the parking area, take a few minutes to see an old “ice house” that is right next to the playground. It was used to preserve snow and ice to be exploited as a rudimentary refrigerator for the preservation of perishable foods.