They cross every day the quiet lake. Almost you don’t note these ancient boats that for centuries (it says from 1500) were carrying fishermen during their work on Lake Como. They are called “Lucia” or “Batell”, they are rowing or sailing boats very small and they as become the symbol of the lake. Fishermen used it to transport fishes from the lake as Agoni, Lavarelli or perch,ready to be sold at the fish market along the lake shores or in restaurants and taverns.
But why are they called “Lucia”? It’s exactly how do you think, the typical lake boat has inherited the name from Lucia Mondella betrothed to Renzo Travaglino. The two, together with his mother Agnese, during their escape crossed the lake thanks to a “batell”, which then changed its name thanks to the success of the Manzoni’s novel.
“Batell” is a boat with an ancient history, whose size is about 6 meters long and 2 long, with sides high enough and inclined, and that is smaller than another boat called “Navett”. “Lucia” to sail a lake so deep had to be a safe boat, so they chosen chestnut wood to build the hull and circles, while for the oarlocks (4 or 6) it was used the oak, fir instead was perfect for rowing. As you noticed the “Batell” is very similar to “Navett”, regards the sail, rectangular and as large as the hull, and the rowing.
“Lucia” was a boat normally used by 2 fishermen at a time, devoting more space dedicated to fish and nets. If it was used for the transport of persons obviously it had more places. “Lucia” began to be used as a pleasure boat starting from ‘800, assembling benches for passengers along the sides. In addition, it was decided to add the helm. Have you ever seen any Lucia on the lake? Probably it was white and blue on a black and red background, like most of them. It can happen to meet some of them that have been heavily modified with modern materials such as fiberglass, which is a shame because they are not as beautiful as the traditional ones.
Currently, the “Lucie” are also used for small rowing races normally held on Sunday. If you see one of them on the lake, take a picture, they are truly unique also thanks to the magnificent panorama that Lake Como offers as background. Even in Moltrasio you can see them go, even while relaxing on your balcony overlooking the Lake from the Hotel Posta.