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Arts & Culture

Museo della Barca Lariana

Travelling along the western shore of Lake Como, a few kilometres before reaching Pian di Spagna, we reach the village of Pianello and, following minor roads that slope down towards the shore, we come across a building dating from the mid-19th century. This is the former spinning mill of the Erba family, a three-storey building that stands parallel to the waters of the lake. The inscription “Museo della Barca Lariana” (Lake Como Boat Museum), stands out clearly on its walls.

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Since 2018, after being closed for eighteen years, the Museum, a unique heritage in the nautical sector and for the history of Italy, has been housed here, with its priceless collection of over four hundred boats on display on all its floors and in its warehouses. It is like entering a well-signposted maze for a true historical and geographical journey.

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It is the opportunity to enjoy the sights of rowing boats, sailing boats, fishing boats, vaporettos and catamarans, as well as vessels used for smuggling. Admiring the exhibits, we can close our eyes and imagine hearing the excited voices of families and school trips on the shore, and the happy sighs of fishermen returning from a fruitful outing on the deep waters of the Lake Como.

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As we reopen our eyes, we can emerge from our daydream to be captivated by a formidable collection of over three hundred motors and rare speedboats that have over the years been raced flat out beyond all limits.

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A great addition to the museum is the huge variety of objects and tools used in the boat-building world, as well as the important collection of photographs, videos and more than 2,500 publications on the nautical world. All these enable visitors to fully immerse themselves in the history and customs of an area that is so much worth preserving and handing down.