History of Como







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History of Como                                                (Back to Como main information page)  

According to documented records, inhabitants of prehistoric times were located around the current location of Como, at least since the Bronze Age.

Remains of settlements are still present on the wood covered hills to the south west of town. The people that inhabited these settlements were known as the Orobii, a Celtic tribe.

Como developed during the Roman Empire to be the capital of a territory bordering with Milan and Bergamo. The newly founded town was named Novum Comum and had the status of municipium.

The remains of a Roman city, where for sure there were a stadium, gym, public baths and a theatre can still be spotted in modern Como today, like eight greenish striped Roman limestone columns in the portico of the Volta Liceum, various bits of the old city walls, and the remains of the Porta Praetoria.

With the invasion of the Franks led by Charlemagne, Como became a center of commercial exchange. Consequently, it shared the vicissitudes of the surrounding region. In the X century the Bishops of Como were also its temporal lords and in the XI century the city became a free commune.

In 1127 the city lost the decade-long war against the nearby town of Milan but with the help of Frederick Barbarossa, the city could avenge the defeat when Milan was destroyed in 1162.

Frederick promoted the construction of several defensive towers around the city limits, of which only one remains, the Baradello.

Then followed the rule of the Rusca family, in1355, which freely ceded the town to the Visconti. From there on the history of Como followed that of the Ducato di Milano.

It followed the French invasion, then the Spanish domination until 1900, when the territory was finally taken by the Austrians.

Napoleon descended into Lombardy in 1796 and ruled it until 1815, when the Austrian rule was resumed after the Congress of Vienna.

Finally in 1859, with Giuseppe Garibaldi, the town was freed from the Austrians and it became part of the newly formed Kingdom of Italy under the House of Savoy.

The role of the Partisans was very important for the end of the WWII. Here on its escape towards Switzerland, Mussolini was taken prisoner and then shot by the Comaschi partisans in Giulino di Mezzegra, a small town on the north shores of Como Lake.

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