Page 34


Zelbio: 200 inhabitants a thousand stories

the highest peak in the Lariano Triangle), the Tivano Plain is subdivided administratively between the Municipalities of Zelbio and Sormano, and connects the Nesso Valley to Vallassina (the Asso Valley). The economy which has always been based on grazing and agriculture went through very difficult times, so much so that in the early 1900s many of the villagers decided to emigrate to other parts of Italy or often even abroad, especially to America. Many people left their mark on post-war Zelbio with Don Mosè Pertusini standing out as the parish priest for over 50 years, from 1946 to 2003 when he died. One of Don Mosè’s achievements was definitely the support he gave to Paolo Sorbini, the founder of Also

With around 200 inhabitants Zelbio is one of the smallest municipalities in the Province of Como, but it’s also a little ‘green’ gem set on the side of Mount San Primo in a dominant position overlooking Lake Como. A village – like others in our area – with great tourist potential, if only such potential were more appreciated. Today we’re going to take you on a short ideal tour with us round this little village, and we’re sure we’ll manage to arouse your curiosity so that you’ll later want to get to know Zelbio for yourselves. Zelbio (in dialect ‘Gelbi’) stands – as we said – on the heights above Lake Como at 802 metres above sea level. The height of this local area ranges between 700 and 1630 metres on Mount San Primo. It’s surrounded by Sormano, Veleso, Bellagio, Lezzeno and Nesso. The municipality covers an area of 467 hectares. The hamlet’s original name used to be Gelbi, said to be derived from the Sanskrit Ji’vri (old) or Jala (water), but it might also be from Gerb (Zerb), i.e. sour. The period after the 2nd World War was to see Zelbio’s development as a tourist attraction which was further enhanced by the vicinity of Piano del Tivano, although its full potential was never really exploited. Surrounded by the mountains of Palanzone, Cippei, Preola and San Primo (whose 1682 metres make it

Enervit. Back in the early 1970s Don Mosè managed to persuade ‘Dr Sorbini’ that Zelbio was the right place to set up his business. Thirty years later events have proved him right; today Enervit (shortly to be listed on the Stock Exchange) is in fact the leading Italian company in the field of energy foods, and the main company in the Lariano Triangle: a real honour for Zelbio. “Zelbio went through hard times when it risked being totally abandoned”, explains Giuseppe Sorbini the village’s legendary mayor. “Today that risk has disappeared and the situation is now more stable. But to ensure this trend remains positive new enterprise is needed. We’re convinced that tourism is the answer, and it’s in this direction that we’re mainly focussing our efforts”. Over the last few years Zelbio has carried out several schemes including the restoration of the historic centre’s inner streets with special paving, the building of a heliport on the Tivano Plain for the 118 air rescue service and, above all else, the renovation and reopening of the Stoppani-Schiavetti Preschool. On the tourist front Sorbini’s dream is to landscape a golf course on the Tivano Plain. “In the locality of ‘Fraccia’, where there’s a lovely wide piece of land belonging to the council. This project is even more attractive due to the recent construction of

Sotto, una veduta del Pian del Tivano Below a Pian del Tivano view

a heliport which could also be used by tourists”. THE FESTIVAL OF TASTES AND PIZZOCCHERI Just 2 years old it caught on immediately as a summer event thanks to the great quantity of good food on offer in mid-July to hundreds of visitors seeking relaxation in a cool place. This year the festival of tastes and pizzoccheri is planned for Sunday 20th July, together with ‘Parà’. What’s that? Come to Zelbio on 20th July and you’ll find out...! THE ABBOT AND THE STRIKER We must first mention the abbot Antonio Stoppani, author of the famous book ‘Il bel paese’, who was born in Zelbio in 1824 as were his parents; a tablet still testifies that the family house was built by the abbot’s father Giovanni Maria. Another native of Zelbio is the great football champion Angiolino Schiavo, main striker and world champion with the Italian National Team in 1934, who also scored the deciding goal in the final against Czechoslovakia. For further information check out website


Magic Lake summer 2008  
Magic Lake summer 2008  

Magic Lake #10