Cave of Moncodeno

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The Mocodeno cave (also known as Da Vinci's cave, La Ghiacciaia or La Ghiacciaia del Moncodeno) is a cave located on Lake Como in the territory of the municipality of Esino Lario in province of Lecco, exactly above Lierna, near the Bogani refuge and can be reached from Alpe Cainallo. It was thus baptized by Leonardo da Vinci who studied it for a long time, strolling along the paths of Lierna and Esino Lario, who will mention it in his Codex Atlanticus (F 573 b). It is considered one of the most important caves. The Grignone has thousands of caves not yet explored with vertical development like the Moncodeno. The project "InGrigna Project!" he is responsible for studying the numerous unexplored caves in the area with speleologists and universities, in areas with perennial glaciers present even in summer.

In the early 1500s Ludovico Sforza, prince of the Grand Duchy of Milan, understood that cold was needed to preserve some agricultural products.

Leonardo da Vinci became interested in the world of iceboxes in his studies on the mysteries of water, affirming that underground waters flow in the grigne as if they were the veins of a human body. Speleologists are still trying today to explore the connections that cross the different underground waterways. Niccolò Stenone was one of the first scientists to deal with it by identifying mysterious and unique natural realities in the world. Among these waters Leonardo da Vinci also studied the unique properties of the Valdonedo water which comes out only in two places in Lierna, going down towards Lake Como.

Story[change | change source]

The cave was used for a long time for the production of ice, transported with mules to Milan, initially to supply the royal families of Italy and the nobles of Milan, as if it were a quarry. Only the very wealthy families could have access to ice, including the Savoy who received it in their Villa in Monza, and the Natoli in Milan and Lierna, who used it to preserve meat and vegetables from boundless lands as in "natural refrigerators".

In 1967 the internal path and the 15-metre iron staircase were created to reach the base of the cave.

The mining of ice blocks was very important in the whole area, as was the mining.

Leonardo da Vinci's infinite curiosity during his stays in Lierna, where he strolled along the lake as far as the Fiumelatte, prompted him to "look inside the mountain" and study the flow of water that feeds the Fiumelatte all year round with a white very white foam, to understand how it feeds, something still mysterious today, so much so that speleologists are still trying to understand the flows. There are numerous imaginative legends about the Fiumelatte cave which compare it to a portal to other magical worlds.

Description[change | change source]

Part of an ancient branch of the Orobie Alps. The cave is still shrouded in mystery and its waters flow into the Fiumelatte, on the border of Lierna, on which numerous legends are told. Leonardo da Vinci visited the cave for the first time in 1493 and then returned numerous times, studying the paths between Esino, Lierna and Mandello, and staying in Lierna on Lake Como, and taking walks along the lakefront between Lierna and Fiumelatte, cites in his Codex Atlanticus (Folio 214) and nicknamed by him "il Fiumelaccio". Speaking of the Grigna mountains above Lierna Leonardo da Vinci wrote "it is the highest mountain in these countries, edé pelada" and speaking of Moncodeno "the lake is different, which goes under 200 equal steps every time and ice event".

Bibliography[change | change source]

  • Leonardo da Vinci, Codex Atlanticus (F 573 b; Sheet 214)

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