Thinking about the lake’s treasures you can imagine picturesque spots, colorful views, light and reflections, sudden clouds that are arriving or going while you are walking, villages and harbors embedded in the green Lake Como shores. Here the perspective is that of someone who crosses the lake on a modern boat, in a predetermined path that has a beginning and an end as well.
But now I am going to tell you something different, an alternative way to experience the Lake Como’s old charm and the authentic atmosphere. The look this time comes not from the water, goes no longer to places and banks, it is leaning towards a glorious past. I’m taking you inside a particular boat, historical and valuable proof of the Larian navigation, now moored in front of the magnificent Villa Olmo: I talk about the holdover boat “Patria”.
Yesterday: from Savoia to Patria, a twentieth century’s story
The ex-steamer “Savoia” is designed with its twin “October 28” just after the Great War, when the shipping company “Lariana” was preparing a program for adaptation of its fleet. It is a steam engine, an “half-saloon” boat, that has a stern room located under the level of the main deck, with the peculiar side wheels used as engine. It was designed for the lake’s commuters and for tourists coming from beyond the Alps that since the nineteenth century loved to rediscover the classic antiquity and the atmosphere of the Italian Grand Tour.
Launched in July 31st, 1926, when he was 1 year old, the boat was hosting on his deck the King Vittorio Emanuele III for a small cruise on Lake on the occasion of the Centenary Volta’s Exhibition at Villa Olmo. The ship was involved in various events in the World War II’s years, he ran aground near Gravedona under the blows of the Allied guns. Meanwhile in 1943 the fascist regime fell and it changed its name becaming “Patria”.
From the ’50s the boat “Patria” was used as a passenger ship, with various management appointed by the government who restored it without it was done conserving the charming and the refined style of the belle époque in which designers were initially inspired.
Today: restored, ready to new life
After the last trip made in October 1990, associations and lake lovers were working to promote the recovery and to perform the necessary Patria’s restoration. Six years after was ready, thanks to the interest expressed by the Comasca family and institutional and economic support of the Como’s Province. On July 19th, 2013 the steamer Patria was back in its native waters, finely restored in its original form. Finally it was opened in December 2015 with a photo exhibition celebrating the boat’s life.
Why you should visit the “Patria”? In that way you can see one of the few steamers still existing in Europe, witness for your generation and subsequent ones, where you can hear the echo of the past the lake and of the larian nautical tradition. You can walk along the wooden planks of the bridge, browse into the dashboard and to contemplate the helmsman’s view, curves, the wooden ship’s wheel, together with the quadrant and the fascinating engine room telegraph’s levers. You are going to make wonderful discovering by observing the “Patria’s” observing closely the mechanical parts of the propulsion system, such as the details of the wheel inside of the drums: the curiosity about the authentic twentieth-century steam engine will certainly be satisfied.
Soon there there will be openings, exhibitions and special events, or small cruises that you have to book early. Patrizia and I can not wait to get you set sail from the Moltrasio’s dock into a new and unrepeatable adventure. We’re waiting for you!