At the mouth of the River Pioverna, on the eastern bank of the Lario, just north from the tip of Bellagio, we find Bellano, nestled into a favourable position of control of the entry to the Valsassina valley.

In the last century, tombs of the Roman age were frequently unearthed.

Since the year 905, but most likely even in earlier centuries, the city was owned by the Archbishop of Milan who had established a residence there.

A great deal has been said about the origins of Pieve, perhaps even as early as the VII century given the age of the dedication to Saints Nazarius and Celsus, to which Saint George was later added.

Like Valsassina, it came under control of the Torriani family and, without conflict, passed into the hands of the Viscontis in the late 1200s; since 1370 it has enjoyed the right to issue its own charters.

This XIV-XV century city played a prominent role in the Lario area: with its city walls, Praetorium, the old Parish near the Pioverna, numerous buildings and an early education system (we have testimony of grammar schools dating to 1417), Bellano was a site of great prestige. Indeed, this explains the frequent lootings (renown is the Venetian plunder of 1447) and resistance to attempts at enfeoffment (in 1467 at Rusca, in 1471 at Lorenzo da Pesaro), until a large portion of the Riviera was handed over to Pietro Dal Verme and Chiara Sforza in 1480. Despite frequent expropriations and damages (the city walls were destroyed by order of Medeghino), Sforza was able to keep the situation under control until her death (1530) while her heirs, the Fregoso, preferred to cede Bellano and the other fiefdoms to the Sfondrati in 1533. It is interesting to note how, during the turbulent and often dramatic decade 1520-1530, Bellano saw a flourishing of the arts as clearly witnessed by the Parish workshop.

Between 1533 and 1788 the city was an important part of the Sfondrati della Riviera fiefdom although it did undergo difficult trials: the plagues of 1576-1577 and 1630 and the raids of Montalto (1629) and Rhoan (1634).



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