From the 1950s on, Lake Como became a point of reference for motor boating worldwide. It was here that the most powerful and luxurious boats took shape, in that stretch of water known to all as the Maranello of the water. And the boatwrights of Lake Como were the best in the world.
And it was no mere coincidence and nothing happens by chance.
First and foremost, we need to take into consideration the fortunate geographic positon: from the top end of the lake, passing through Val Chiavenna, you can easily reach Lake Constance
. A convenient series of valleys and passes allow for a much easier crossing than in other areas of the Alps.
The second factor morphological conformation of Lake Como.
There were no roads apart from the steep trails along which it was no easy matter to drive carts heavily laden with merchandise.
The Strada Orientale was only finished in the 18th century, while the Strada Occidentale was not completed until the turn of the twentieth century.
For centuries, water was the only way of quickly moving people and goods. In past centuries, a ship could travel the entire length of the lake in fourteen hours compared with the three days it would take to walk the via Regina, and there were boats which could carry loads of up to 1200 quintals. Just imagine how difficult it would be to move a load like that along steep dirt trails with ox-drawn carts!
The third circumstance which favoured transport by lake was the constancy of the winds.
The wind called Breva blows from the south towards midday and keeps up till sunset. At night, the wind known as the Tivano blows from the opposite direction until morning. These two winds blowing from opposite directions and perfectly aligned with the longitudinal axis of the lake, meant that a simple rectangular sail sufficed to power the boats with nothing more than a following wind. In the afternoon, they sailed northwards and at night they sailed back towards the south.
Historical events made up the fourth essential piece.
The deep bond between the people of the lake and their boats was only made stronger by centuries of naval warfare where Lake Como was the theatre of continuous struggles. The name of the mountain Pizzo dei Tre Signori
summed it up perfectly, being a watershed between the territories governed by Milan, the Republic of Venice and the Swiss.
The many different cultures that passed through the area wove a historical fabric without equal anywhere in the world. Each invader brought their nautical tradition and experience which over the centuries enriched the skills of the shipwrights of Lake Como.