Forte Fuentes and Forte Montecchio Nord: the control above Lake Como
In 1912, the high commander of the Italian Royal army, before the Grande Guerra (The Great War), initiated the building of a fortress on the Montecchio hill, along the short piece of coast between Colico and the mouth of River Adda.
The fortress was completed at the end of 1914 and represents the most technological Italian innovation of World War One. Its four cannons are still there today and are the biggest in the whole Italy; the cannons still function perfectly and can fire at a very long range, with great precision. Thanks to its dominating position, the fortress offers a suggestive and unique view above Lake Como, Valtellina and Valchiavenna Mountains. The visit, better with a guide, is possible during the weekend from March to November, and in the summertime (July and August) during the week.
Forte di Fuentes rises on Montecchio Est, in Pian di Spagna. It was built between 1601 and 1605. This area, close between the Adda river and the Mera river at the Northern end of the lake, was considered to be very important for its strategic position; the marsh was drained by the Romans and was occupied by Spanish encampments for the entire XVI century from which is how this area became named the Piano di Spagna (The Spanish Plain). The Spanish defensive mainstay was the fortress of Fuentes, located on the long isolated headland that rises from the plain, and controlled the last section of the river Adda. This position is important, because from the fortress the soldiers could control Valchiavenna and Valtellina.
The fortress was abandoned during the Austrian domination, sold as private property and converted for agrarian use. When Napoleon reached Milan, sent some soldiers to destroy it. After the demolition, it was restored and used during the First World War: two gunship oriented to the valleys, perfect to help the Forte Montecchio Nord
Today Forte Fuentes is available for guided tours.
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