The history of the Castillo di Vezio is uncertain but the general consensus takes the castle’s origins back to the 4th Century and its position as a Roman outpost. The purpose was to establish a military center at the far north of the Roman Empire and guard the road from Bellano to Esino Lario. One of the first mentions of the actual castle is in conjunction with the Comacini war with Como about 1169.
After recovering from the walk, we purchased our tickets and walked the gravel path up to the ruins. To say the ruins are impressive is an understatement. What I appreciated the most was the mixture of restoration in the midst of deterioration. The surrounding walls demonstrated the castle’s extensive footprint. The tower in the center with 62 steps going to the top gives a 360 degree view of the surrounding area and Varenna below. The surrounding gardens and olive groves which provided the sustenance for the troops have been restored, allowing us to see the extent of non soldier work which goes along with a military outpost. For more information check https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castello_di_Vezio
The Chiesa di Saint Antonio Abate di Vezio is a little harder to track down, especially with my limited ability to translate Italian. For more information the Italian website is: http://www.terrenghi.eu/frame%20vezio.htm
I found the church one of the most interesting I have ever visited. The outside is completely unimposing. It is very easy to walk past.
After leaving the trail to Vezio we walked along the stone sidewalls of a series of buildings (and a very interesting ceramics shop well worth the stop) and entered a small square. The first thing we noticed is the small cemetery across the square. Not until we turned around to see the square did we notice the church.
Entering the church turned into what I have to say is an incredible experience. On the ceiling over the aspe/sanctuary are the authors of the four Gospels watching over the alter. Lining the eves of the walls are frescos of various saints watching over the congregation in the nave. The Gospel (left) and Epistle (right) walls are adorned with a combination of statuary and frescos from fairly new (renovated) to what appear to be nearly original.
Back to my research. The founding of the church seems to go back to a legend concerning Queen Teodolinda of Longonard who spent her last years in the nearby town Perledo. She is responsible for the building of the Church of Saint Martin and the connection of the church to Castillo di Vezio. The best I have been able to determine, this happened somewhere in 1400 or the early 1500s.
These two discoveries along with the marvelous Lake Como and the surrounding villages make the trip to Verenna well worth the effort.