Bellagio is a comune in the Province of Como in the Italian region of Lombardy. It is located on Lake Como, also known by its Latin-derived name, the arms of the lake form an inverted Y. The triangular land mass at the base of the inverted Y is the Larian Triangle, the Como arm of the lake lies to its south west, the Lecco arm of the lake to its south east. At the northern point of the triangle sits Bellagio, looking across to the arm of the lake and, behind it. It has always been famous for its location, Bellagio is situated upon the cape of the land mass that divides Lake Como in two. The city centre occupies the tip of the promontory, while other districts are scattered along the lake shores, from the ancient glacial blanket only the highest tops emerged, one of them Mount St. Primo, which obliged the glaciers to divide into two arms. Nowadays, a luxuriance of trees and flowers is favoured by a mild, the historic centre of Bellagio shelters 350m southwest of the promontory of the Larian Triangle, between the Villa Serbelloni on the hill and the Como arm of the lake. At the far tip of the promontory are a park and a marina, parallel to the shore are three streets, Mazzini, Centrale and Garibaldi in ascending order. Cutting across them to form a grid are seven medieval stone stairs running uphill. The Basilica of San Giacomo and a tower, sole relic of medieval defences. In 225 BC, the territory of the Gallo-Insubres was occupied by the Romans, the Romans, led by consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus, defeated the Gallo-Insubres in a fierce battle near Camerlata, occupying Como and the shores of the lake. Insubre hopes of independence were raised by an alliance with Hannibal during the Second Punic War, Bellagio became both a Roman garrison and a point of passage and wintering for the Roman armies on their way through to the province of Raetia and the Splügen pass. Troops wintered at the foot of the present Villa Serbelloni, sheltered from north winds, such variant Latin names as Belacius and Bislacus suggest Bellagio was originally Bi-lacus. Between 81 and 77 BC Cornelius Scipio brought 3,000 Latin colonists to Lake Como, from 59 BC Julius Caesar, as pro-consul, brought up another 5000 colonists, most importantly 500 Greeks from Sicily. Their names are borne by their descendants. Bellagio became a mixture of races which became more and more complex in the following centuries, also it increased its strategic importance because, as well as a place for wintering, it sheltered warships especially at Loppia, where the natural creek made it easy to repair them. Around Loppia there formed one of the first suburbs of Bellagio, the Romans introduced many Mediterranean crops, including the olive and laurel, from the name of the latter derives the Latin name of Lake Como. In the early decades of the Empire, two great figures brought fame to the lake and Bellagio, Virgil and Pliny the Younger, Virgil, the Latin poet, visited Bellagio and remembered the lake in the second book of the Georgics, verse 155
Image: Bellagio dal traghetto panoramio
A view over Bellagio looking along the Como arm of the lake.
The Basilica of St. James (San Giacomo), built by 12th century artisans from Como.