The Fiumelatte Cave is a cave in the municipality of Fiumlatte near Lierna Lake Como for a long time by Leonardo da Vinci, while staying in Lierna, and mentioned in his Code Atlantic. In the 1600s the sons of the high nobility had to visit it as part of the Grand Tour to form their culture.
Ancient history[change | change source]
The cave was sacred in Celtic antiquity. Many popular legends are told about it. Its access is very easy, and has been the subject of several artistic representations. Near the cave at the foot of the mountain, it is possible to reach a further unique cave to preserve the millenary perennial ice called the Ghiacciaia del Moncodeno.
Fiumelatte water river begins to appear around March 25 of each year to disappear on October 7. Among his first to deal with the mystery we find even Leonardo da Vinci, in his Codex Atlanticus. The characteristics of Fiumelatte have given birth to several legends. The most famous tells us of a splendid girl with blue eyes and blond hair, courted by many suitors who promised her heart to anyone who would reveal the origin of Fiumelatte. The young suitors entered the cave and then came out after a long time prematurely aged and mute, paralyzed by who knows what encounters and visions.
Studies[change | change source]
There is a relation between the cave and the karst system shown in the mountain's summit that gives rise to the perennial ice. In 1989 there was a scientific proof. This confirmed the ancient studies by Leonardo da Vinci. His study described the flow of the particular beneficial waters under these mountain as "the veins of the human body". The study of water has always been one of the most cherished times by Leonardo da Vinci who traveled long time to the paths of these mountains.
The cave was studied for a long time by Leonardo da Vinci who describes it in Codex Atlanticus with the term "fiumleaccio".
Leonardo da Vinci was very attached to Lake Como. The Mona Lisa, whose outlines follow the promontory of Bellagio on Lake Como seen from above, gives a glimpse in the background of the bridge of Azzone Visconti in 1300, with its arches, and the mountains of Lecco on Lake Como such as Monte Barro and the course of the Adda which becomes the lake of Garlate, while on the left is the San Martino. The Mona Lisa's hairstyle is a "sperada", the typical sunburst linked to the iconography of Lucia Mondella. Pascal Cotte, the scholar who was granted the honor of analyzing Leonardo's painting with a particular photographic camera, has highlighted around the head of the Mona Lisa twelve pins typical of the women of Lierna on Lake Como, where Leonardo da Vinci stayed to study its mountains and the Fiumelatte present in its Codex Atlanticus, and the tradition of the surrounding territories.
Even the painting by Leonardo da Vinci, "The Virgin of the Rocks", kept in the Louvre, is located in the cave of Lecco in Laorca. In the painting you can see the spikes of the Val Calolden, the Sasso Cavallo and the Sasso Carbonari. It is not a question of random elements, but of sought-after references, to trace a historical map of the Sforza of Milan. Leonardo also made the map of Lecco, A plan of the city before the construction of the sixteenth-century walls designed by Leonardo da Vinci, in which you can clearly see the fourteenth-century fortifications, the arc of the lakefront, the course of one of the streams that crosses the city with four mills and a tower, now incorporated in the walls. In the Windsor codes, we can trace drawings of snowy crests that belong to the Lecco landscape. We list, among all, the central massif of the Grigne, seen from the Brianza mountains that he traveled. The jagged profile of Due Mani and Resegone portrayed from Lake Oggiono and from Garlate. The hurricane in a valley between the mountains that among the low clouds, gathered between Moregallo and S. Martino, shakes the Lecco basin with winds.
Geography[change | change source]
The mountain trails of Lierna and the Fiumelatte cave were one of the most interesting attractions of the Grand Tour, a long journey in Continental Europe undertaken by the rich of the aristocracy European since 17th century and destined to perfect their knowledge. For this reason there are many high quality prints depicting this river, at the time called "the shortest river in the world".
Others who described its peculiarities were Pliny the Elder and Spallanzani.
The cave has galleries placed at various levels and characterized by the presence of a main fault, over 60 meters are under water.
At the top of the caves, you’ll find the Ninfeo di Fiumelatte. A nymphaeum built by the ancient Romans as a stone monument decorated with plants and flowers to serve as a sanctuary and assembly chamber consecrated to the Nymphs. Nymphs are mythological creatures, small and beautiful female nature deities, similar to mermaids. They were known as the water gods and a large reason for the Fiumelatte creek’s fresh water supply.