Moltrasio is a small pretty town located on the western shore of Lake Como.
It is one of the many villages that follow one after the other along the perimeter of the lake. For its famous villas, also home to illustrious personalities, its gardens, the mild and sunny climate and the enchanting panorama, is called one of the pearls of the Lario. It is made up of many characteristic hamlets that from the lake rise up to the mountains including Borgo, the administrative, religious and commercial heart, San Rocco is on the lakefront and Tosnacco is at a higher altitude. A copper ax and two Gallo-Roman tombs, dating from around 2000 BC shows the human presence already in those distant times. The first known document that presents the town as a municipality dates back to 1058. Immediately after the year 1000, Moltrasio experienced its age of greater splendor. It is in this period that the oldest monuments in the country are made. After the last war, Moltrasio and its valleys, given its proximity to Switzerland, were visited by dozens of men who carried sacks with smuggled goods to supplement their meager salaries. Some very picturesque escapes are still told by spalloni hunted by financiers.
A fraction, a church.
The church of S. Martino
The church of S. Martino is located in the central hamlet of Borgo. Inside it is rich in numerous paintings and stuccos executed in various periods. The date of its construction is not sure, but a notarial document documents its existence already in 1207. The oldest frescoes in the presbytery and in three medallions in the apse date back to the 17th century and were made by the Recchi brothers, the side chapel dedicated to the relic of the Sacred Thorn and the high altar are enriched by paintings by Giovan Mauro Della Rovere known as Il Fiamminghino, to be admired is certainly the splendid altarpiece by the painter Alvise Donati executed in 1507, which is, without doubt, the most valuable artistically preserved work in this church.
The church of Sant’Agata
The splendid church of Sant’Agata, is the oldest evidence of Roman-Lombard architecture in the territory. It is located in the Vignola hamlet, along the ancient Via Regia and its construction dates back to the second half of the 11th century. It can be reached from the lake by climbing the spectacular Scala Santa. Inside you can see some frescoes from the early 1500s depicting the Christ and on the sides the saints Rocco and Antonio Abate.
The Regina Pacis church
The Regina Pacis church is located in the hamlet of Tosnacco and was built between 1945 and 1946. In the square in front of the church of Tosnacco there is a bronze crucifix which was melted by the local painter and sculptor Franco Pizzotti and donated by his son to the Parish in memory of his father.
The oratory of San Rocco
The oratory of San Rocco, of alleged fifteenth-century origins and restored in the Baroque period, as evidenced by the graceful portal surmounted by an elegant stucco cornice with a putto head and small scrolls. It is flanked by small shaped windows and topped by a medallion bearing the title of the church to the Saint of Montpellier. The interior has a single nave with a polygonal apse, where a rich stucco frame frames a faulty fresco depicting the Virgin and Child among the Saints on the high altar. Rocco and Sebastiano di Giovanni Paolo Recchi.
Moltrasio is famous for the ancient quarries of Moltrasina stone still visible along the Sentee di Sort. Moltrasio stone, the pride of the Maestri Comacini, was used in Moltrasio to build churches, splendid villas and numerous crotti, where good local wine was kept fresh and sparkling. The characteristic terracing made with dry stone walls, are still present today, although in smaller numbers due to the building growth, also used as vegetable gardens or private gardens.
The most important villa in Moltrasio is Villa Passalacqua, built by the Odescalchi family on the site where once the monastery of the Humiliate once stood and then ceded to Count Andrea Passalacqua. The villa is located on the top of a large terraced park, with a fantastic view of the lake. Between 1829 and 1833 it hosted the famous composer Vincenzo Bellini, habitué of the place since in those years he also lived in the neoclassical Villa Erker Hocevar.
Villa Fasola is also interesting in the hamlet of Vergonzano, Villa Pizzo with its waterfalls and fountains, Villa Le Rose, famous for its gardens and for having hosted the British statesman Winston Churchill on holiday on Lake Como and finally Villa Fontanelle, the residence of the late stylist Gianni Versace who had recreated the original atmospheres of his creative style in the halls of the sober eighteenth century building.
Along the avenue that overlooks the lake, not far from the landing stage, there is a monument to Vincenzo Bellini, the great musician who spent a long time in Moltrasio, where he composed some songs from La straniera and La sonnambula.