February 13, 2024 0 Comments What to see

Brienno, the right village to get lost in

Brienno lake como, dicsover what to see in this beautiful village


In Brienno one is constantly getting lost and finding oneself.

It is one of the most intricate and intriguing villages on the lake, I think, and it has always exerted an irresistible fascination on me.

Let’s say you really appreciate it, if you like labyrinth-like villages, those where you have to give up some comforts and even a bit of privacy to live, those villages where you open the window and, if you stretch out a hand, you can pass the salt to your neighbour.

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I cannot say what it is like to live there and every now and then I think I would like to find out.

What I do know is that every little street, doorway, staircase and porch seems to fit perfectly with its surroundings, creating a perfect jigsaw puzzle.

What to see in Brienno

Wondering what to see in Brienno? Let me first tell you that Brienno is a village to explore far and wide!

Of course, like all villages, it too has its must-see attractions (which I’ll tell you about in a moment), but surely a good part of its charm comes from the endless tangle of staircases and alleys, its stone houses, attached one to the other, and its lakeside location.

So, as a first step (I did this too) dive into this tangle, enjoy the glimpses between one arcade and another, observe the details!

Only after you have done this, start visiting everything that frames the historic core.

The churches and the public park

There are three churches to see in Brienno, the Church of Saints Nazaro and Celso, the Madonna del Ronco and the Church of St. Vittore.

They are all located at opposite ends of the village, the last one (which I did not see for the moment) even outside the village, in the direction of Como.

The Church of Saints Nazaro and Celso, in addition to being rich in stucco decorations, frescoes and stained glass windows, conserves in its sacristy both a relic of Emperor Federico Barbarossa and a wooden statue of the Infant Jesus (17th century) to whom the inhabitants are so devoted that they dedicate a festival to him, the “Festa del Piscen” (Child’s Feast), on 31st December and 1st January each year.

The church of Madonna del Ronco, on the other hand, is worth seeking out, if only for its location (north end of Brienno), which is extremely scenic.

I did not see the interior, but I appreciated its portico and the general atmosphere of the place.

Madonna del Ronco, see this church in Brienno

Madonna del Ronco

Just below this church then lies another attractive spot in Brienno, its public park.

It is very small, but the idea behind it, of re-evaluating the area and the lives of the village inhabitants, is great!

In just a few square metres, a green area, a playground for children, a solarium and a space suitable for organising various types of events have been created.

Public park in Brienno

Public park

It is easy to see how the renovation of this beautiful corner of the village has contributed to improving the quality of life for those living in Brienno! Not for nothing did the project win first prize in the national competition Public Administrations and Public Spaces.

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A treat not to be missed in Brienno

A stone’s throw away from the park is what for me was definitely the most curious and interesting attraction in the whole country, the Mina Gallery.

Have you ever heard of it?

There are three tunnels of this type in the area (the other two are in Sondrio and Nobiallo – Menaggio) and they are so called because they were filled with mines to be detonated to bar the way to the enemy in case of danger during the Great War.

This is the explanation, but imagining how they worked is another story altogether and I admit that I only realised while writing this article what exactly they were.

What lies ahead is the tunnel that we can all walk through, but above it there is another one that few people know about. Helping me understand how the defence system worked was a video by singer-songwriter Davide Van De Sfroos, which I found on You Tube and which I suggest you watch.

It lasts 1 minute and 44 seconds and takes you inside the ‘secret part’ of the gallery.

I was fascinated!

The small harbour of Brienno and the old spinning mill

Another corner that I really liked and that I recommend you do not miss is the small harbour just a stone’s throw from the parish church, with the imposing structure of the old spinning mill alongside.

What to see in Brienno? Its small harbour

The small harbour

The building of the old spinning mill

The latter was built in the first half of the 19th century to produce silk and today belongs to the Mantero silk factories and is used both as a residence and for events of various kinds.

The silhouette of its smokestack silhouetted against the sky has something very evocative about it and brings to mind images of a past world, known to most through grandparents’ stories.

In short, Brienno is as small as it is enchanting, to be appreciated with curiosity and with slow steps!

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