The Giardino del Merlo beautifully overlooking the waters of Lake Como is located between the villages of Musso and Dongo and extends from the banks of Lario to the church of Sant'Eufemia and the remains of the ancient Castello of Medeghino. It was the noble Giovanni Manzi in the mid-nineteenth century who created this amusement park designed to amaze visitors with its caves, bridges, statues, rare plants and breathtaking views. The heirs of Manzi continued to take care of the park until 1946, then it fell into desuetude and only in 2013 did the village of Musso decide to reopen it to the public, after having secured some sections of the park.
There are several access points to the Giardino del Merlo, the main entrance is just before the entrance of the tunnel to Dongo (Via del Giardino 12), other entrances you’ll find along the path that leads from Genico to the church of Sant'Eufemia, the gates are always open except for municipal prohibitions. For a safe visit we recommend wearing hiking shoes, paying attention to the exposed sections, to always watch out for children and to keep dogs on a leash, the paths are not marked but you’ll find the descriptions of the arboreal species that you’ll encounter along the way.
A wall of stones hides the real secret of the Giardino del Merlo, which means the entrance door to the ancient house of the caretaker. The rooms are in a state of neglect but the view that you can admire from the balconies is still magnificent. After the visit to the Giardino del Merlo we recommend going up to the church of Sant'Eufemia where there is a rest area complete with tables, benches and a fountain, not far away you can admire the remains of the ancient castle of Musso.
An easy circular excursion that allows you to visit these places starts from the Dongo pier, reaches the church of Santa Maria Martinico and carries on up to the church of Sant'Eufemia, descends through the Giardino del Merlo and returns to Dongo along a short pedestrian stretch next to the tunnel.
In Dongo, among the buildings stands out the neoclassic Manzi, today town hall and site of the Museum of the end of the war (Resistance Museum), a building realized by Pietro Gilardoni (1824), a student of Pollak.Dongo
Dried Shad (Agone), called Missoltini or Missultin, were at one time a precious food for inhabitants of Lake Como, the particular processing allowed them to be conserved for more than a year, excellent traditional Lake Como cuisine.Lario Cuisine
In Pianello the International Museum of Vintage Boats is definitely worth a visit, set up in an old spinning mill which houses over four hundred boats that recount two millennia of nautical history here on Lake Como, a unique exhibition.Pianello del Lario