Looking for a great little base town to explore the Lake Como area? Look no further than Lecco. However, don't expect to see Michelangelo this or da Vinci that. The lakes region in Italy is not really about that. It's about relaxing in the sun, sailing, dining alfresco, walking along the promenade, and shopping.
Although you won't find any major ancient Roman monuments or Renaissance art museums, Lecco is noteworthy in the literary world, especially the Italian literary world. Alessandro Manzoni, a 19th century Milanese writer, set his work "The Betrothed" (I Promessi Sposi) in Lecco. We chose to stay in Lecco mainly for its location, where the River Adda meets the southeastern part of Lake Como, and for the fact that we had never heard of it before. In fact, I didn't know this tidbit of literature trivia until I checked my Italy guidebook for some information about what there is to see and do in this town. Had I read Manzoni's work, I probably would have wanted to visit the Villa Manzoni, which is about the only touristy thing in Lecco.