Built in early 1600 the Forte of Fuentes represents a military fortress placed in Colico, mentioned also in The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni.
The Forte of Fuentes is named after, in the early 1600s, Pedro Enriquez Acevedo, Count of Fuentes, wanted to erect the fort on the top of the hill Monteggiolo in Colico, which dominates Pian di Spagna, the beautiful nature reserve today to visit.
Colico was chosen for its strategic location, because here you meet the three way of communication to and from Milan, Val Chiavenna and Valtellina. Colico was a borderland between the Duchy of Milan and the Three Grey Leagues (current Grisons).
The Forte of Fuentes was an important fortress with two entrances: the large main door and a smaller one called door of Socorso (Relief). On the main door, in addition to the walkway and to the driveway, it is also visible a walled door, actually a false door that had only the aesthetic value torespect the symmetry of the facade.
Within the area of the fort and to the side of the parade ground of about 15,000 square meters, there were several buildings:
- the Governor’s Palace: seven rooms for each of its two floors; a first floor room used as a private chapel. The palace also had a large stone staircase, of which no trace remains;
- the church dedicated to Santa Barbara, on the west side of the parade ground, was also destroyed. The church, with a barrel vault and two side altars, were decorated with frescoes;
- housings for the chaplain and Lieutenant of the Fort at the side of the church;
- barracks for 400 soldiers;
- water tanks;
- underground warehouses.
The Forte of Fuentes has played its territorial presence function until the Austrian Emperor Joseph II in 1769 considered it militarily useless and struck off the imperial fortresses putting it up for auction. The fort thn became private property.
It was destroyed by the French troops of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796.
During the period of the First World War in the area of Forte of Fuentes a vault location that housed eight cannons was built: it was divided in two by four batteries of which one headed to Val Chiavenna and the other towards Valtellina.
In the same period it the nearby Forte Montecchio Nord was built, today the best preserved military fortress in Europe.
Fortunately, the war did not touch so closely this fort that was not involved in the First World War, and only touched in the War of Liberation during the Second.
From the literary point of view we have a written record of the Fore of Fuentes in The Betrothed, the masterpiece of Alessandro Manzoni, who shows us how the Count of Fuentes was the Spanish governor who wrote out many of the edicts – “fully informed of the wretched condition of this city and state, in consequence of the great number of bravoes that abound therein, and resolved wholly to extirpate them,” publishes, on the 5th of December, 1600, a new decree, full of the most rigorous provisions, and “with firm purpose that in all rigour, and without hope of remission, they shall be wholly carried into execution. “(chap. I, the Betrothed).
At the entrance of Palazzo Belgiojoso in Lecco you can see, on the portico walls, some vestiges of the Forte of Fuentes: the coat of arms of the Count of Fuentes, the plaque that was placed above the main door and the weapon of Spain.
Cover’s image: Ph. Emilio Buzzella
Ordinary opening: from Easter (25 March) to 4 November – continuous from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
On Saturday, Sunday and holidays (April 25, May 1, June 2, 15 August)
July: just in the morning from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
August: all week long from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Opening on reservation: you can book your visit at the fort every day of the year, even outside the above-mentioned openings: only for groups at a cost of € 65 for accompanying service (maximum 25 people per guide) + € 6 for each visitor.
Guided visit and educational labs for kids (5-10 year): every last Saturday of the month from April to October. Ticket € 7 per person.
- full price: € 5,00
- kids from 6 to 14 anni: € 3,00
- free: kids to a 5 years
- combined ticket (Forte Montecchio e Forte di Fuentes): adults €9,00 – kids from 6 to 14 years €5,00
- by train: from Milan, Lecco, Sondrio Trenord lines, stop at Colico station. The fort is located 20 minutes from the station on foot
- by car:
from Milan and Lecco – take S.S. 36 towards Sondrio, exit Piona. Here take SP72 (Via Nazionale) towards Colico-Sondrio. Immediately after the center and the Colico railway station turn left and then proceed under the railway underpass to get out onto Viale Padania. Go along following the signs.
from Sondrio: take S.S. 38 Stelvio towards Milan until the “Trivio Fuentes”, crossing of roads to Lecco-Milan, Como, Chiavenna. Here take SP72 (Via Nazionale Nord) that leads to Colico and continue for 3 km until the intersection with Via Monteggiolo, then follow the signs.
Forte of Fuentes Via Forte di Fuentes 24, 23823 Colico – Lecco