Dongo rises on the plain formed by the mouth of the Albano torrent, at the entrance of the uncontaminated Albano Valley, with a beautiful view that sweeps from the Alto Lario to Bellagio.
Since ancient times, the village has been of economic and historical importance. In fact, the important Passo San Jorio is found at the bottom of the valley, which since as far back as the Roman times has been connecting Lake Como to the Swiss Valle Mesolcina. Together with Gravedona and Sorico it forms the “Tre Pievi”, and since the 15th century, the municipality has been exploiting the iron deposits of the valley, building furnaces and buildings to melt and work the mineral. As the centuries passed, the mining activity grew, so much so that in 1791 Pietro Rubini founded a steelworks plant in the village. At the end of the 19th century the mines were completely abandoned, but in the 20th century the economic development of Dongo increased dramatically when the Falck family took over the steelworks plant, and transformed it into one of the most important industrial centres in the territory. Nowadays, the iron and steel industry has suffered a great decline.
The municipality is known mainly for the historic events linked to the end of the fascist regime: in April 1945 Benito Mussolini and his men tried to escape to the Swiss border but were captured between Musso and Dongo, and the last of the fascist hierarchy were executed on the lake square.
These facts are well documented by the End of the War Museum located on the ground floor of Palazzo Manzi, which offers a multimedia immersive journey dedicated to reconstructing the episodes and events relating to the Resistance of Como and the end of World War II. Palazzo Manzi, home of the Town Hall, was built at the beginning of the 19th century for a local noble family and is a rare example of Neoclassism in the Alto Lario area. Its interiors are very sumptuous such as the Chapel of the Immaculate, the old library and in particular the Sala d’Oro (Golden Room), the Manzi family hall of honour featuring widespread gilding decorations and frescoes.
Apart from recent history, there are also many other points of interest in the town, starting with the Romanesque church of Santa Maria in Martinico, built in the 12th century in the oldest part of the village and remodelled at the beginning of the twentieth century, while on the shores of the lake stands the Parish Church of Santo Stefano, the third reconstruction (18th century) of one of the oldest churches on the lake, which preserves fine art works. Not far away is the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Lacrime, built in the 16th century following a miracle, which was later annexed to the Franciscan Convent.
Today Dongo is a popular holiday destination for water sports enthusiasts. There are schools, rental points, clubs and beautiful beaches where visitors can spend unforgettable days indulging in their favourite water sports.