Culture by Rosa Maria Lamberti

Konrad Adenauer and Lake Como – a Great Love

Rosa Maria Lamberti am Comer SeeCari amici, dear Lake Como friends, our wonderful Lake Como has always been a first class holiday destination for visitors from all over the world. In the 1950s the Lago di Como became particularly popular in Germany.

In spring 1957 the first Federal Chancellor of Germany,  Konrad Adenauer  * 05.01.1876 – † 19.04.1967, spent his vacation for the very first time in Cadenabbia on Lake Como.

He traveled to the Lario on the recommendation of the then German Foreign Minister, Heinrich von Brentano. The Brentano family had been located in the Tremezzo area of Lake Como since the 12th century.

Adenauer was at once fascinated by the scenic landscape, the imposing mountains, the splendid nature and the old villas with their dreamlike gardens.

He loved it so much that he traveled about eighteen times to Cadenabbia, between 1957-1966. At first he used the Villa Arminio and Villa Rosa as holiday dwellings.

Villa La Collina

In August 1959 the Federal Chancellor moved to the Villa La Collina, located on a hill. The large park of this villa, built in 1899, and the fantastic view on Lake Como outweighed for the lack of comfort.

For example, he got the missing furniture as a loan from the Hotel Britannia.
The Chancellor’s staff secretly described the dark living room of the villa as a „crypt“!

Only the communication technology was updated. Thus, a permanent link with the government seat in Bonn was ensured, because Adenauers political business must been continued during vacation.
There were also appointments with politicians from Germany and abroad as well as visits by journalists and artists such as Golo Mann, Kokoschka, and Graham Sutherland.

Villa La Collina belongs since 1977 to the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and is used for international conferences, seminars, workshops, weddings and other events. Also private holiday stays are possible in the villa.

The old man and the boccia game

The favorite leisure activity of the „old man“, as he was secretly and respectfully called by his co-workers, was the boccia game. He carried out many competitions with his companions and also with local players. But he was practically unbeatable.

The boccia lane was outside the park of Villa La Collina. Nowadays you find two boccia lanes within the park area for the guests of the villa.

Adenauer always wears a tie and his often caricatured shepherd’s check hat while playing boccia. He considered that the exercise in playing boccia was a very good for him.

For this reason a boccia lane was built in the garden of his residence in Rhöndorf near Bonn, Germany.

Adenauer – a welcome guest on Lake Como

Already in 1957 Adenauer became a honorary citizen of Cadenabbia di Griante. In 2007 a monument was erected on the promenade of Cadenabbia, showing the boccia-playing chancellor. Another Adenauer sculpture is located inside the park of Villa La Collina.

19th April 2017 – the 50th anniversary of the death of Konrad Adenauer

About the 50th anniversary of the death of Adenauer a seminar takes place in the Villa La Colina from 19th-23rd March 2017. The seminar deals with the life and work of the Federal Chancellor and reveals four periods of German history.
Konrad Adenauer was 91 years old. He grew up in the founding years of the German Reich and died when the first signs of globalization came in sight.

His experience of life was a great benefit for him and the German population by the implementation of his difficult function.

A walk in the footsteps of Adenauer

Cari amici, if you are planning a trip to Cadenabbia you should walk there in the footsteps of Adenauer.
After you have welcomed his monument on the promenade, you will reach Villa La Collina via the Via Roma. Then follow the Via Franzani and the Passeggiata Adenauer to the small sanctuary of San Martino.

The 80-year-old chancellor walked this way every Sunday during his vacations on Lake Como to participate in the service.
From San Martino you’ll have a fantastic view on the Lario.

Tip: Take the Via Brentano on your way back and visit the quaint Bar Vecchia Torre. If this walk is too strenuous for you, just play a relaxed round of boccia.

No matter how you decide, I wish you a lot of fun.

Tanti saluti e a presto
Rosa Maria Lamberti