The town and resort of Lecco is in a lovely location at the southern tip of Lake Como, one of the popular Lombardy lakes. The highlight is the waterfront area, with its views along the lake and between the mountains, and the surrounding old town of Lecco.
Lecco is quite a busy commercial town rather than a 'tourist destination' so while a visit is certainly recommended to appreciate the setting and the monuments in the town, it is not a common base for visitors to Lake Como.
The main focus of your visit will be to take a promenade around the waterfront area - the view along this southern fork of Lake Como (actually it is called the Lago di Lecco here) is very lovely and you will want to allow time to stroll around enjoying the views before heading into the town itself.
The famous town belltower is also near the waterfront, and the bustling squares called Piazza XX Settembre and Piazza Zermenati here are the place to find a good selection of cafes for that all important coffee break!
Although the medieval centre of Lecco is quite small and not perhaps as charming as some medieval towns you will come across in Italy it is worthwhile to stroll around this part of the town in the streets around Piazza Roma.
Elsewhere in the town there are various historic monuments such as the Visconti Bridge, usually referred to as the Old Bridge. Dating from the 14th century this is among the oldest monuments in Lecco. You will also see the 96 metre high octagonal bell tower that is often used as the symbol of the town. The tower was completed in 1904 on the site of a medieval tower.
There are also various churches and religious monuments in Lecco such as the Basilica of Saint Nicholas (connected to the belltower) with a facade in the neo-classical style and containing some medieval frescoes, and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Victory. The Church of Santa Maria has quite a plain facade but is actually one of the oldest churches in Lecco and has an impressive baroque interior.
A more unusual religious monument is the golden statue of Saint Nicholas (actually bronze and covered with gold leaf) standing above the water at Punta della Maddalena and protecting the town from harm.
There are several imposing villas in Lecco, typically dating from the 18th and 19th century. These include the Villa Manzoni on Via Amendola which is now a museum to the 19th century author Alessandro Manzoni who was born in the villa. The defensive walls you see in Lecco date from the 13th century, and were once part of a very substantial castle.
The town you can see across Lake Como from here is Malgrate.
After a stroll around Lecco there is one attraction that is very popular and highly recommended - the cable car up to Piano d'Erna. On a clear day the views from here are magnificent, and there are plenty of walks to follow from the top if you are want to extend your visit. Which you will!
There are also several activities for younger children at the top as well as rather basic facilities. To get back down to Lecco you can either take the cable car again or walk down which is a nice walk that takes a couple of hours.
Map of Lecco and places to visit
Places to visit near Lecco
See more places nearby in the Lombardy guide