Colorful houses line the steep mountain

Gandria is nestled into the crook between steep Mt. Brè and Lake Lugano. The glacier that formed this part of the lake dug so deep that the lake waters were at one time below sea level.

Lakeside view

We wandered the crooked, narrow paths and wondered what it would be like to live here, in such a remote village.

Gandria’s car-less streets

Gandria was once known for its olive oil production, but the harsh winter of 1709 killed most of the trees. Since then, olive trees have been planted and there are placards depicting the olive industry’s history scattered about.

Olive press

Gandria sits at the base of Mt. Brè, which means “mountain” in Celtic. The Celts were the first known inhabitants, back in 800 B.C.

Vertical dock

One church tower rises among the staggered houses: Chiesa di San Vigilio, which was built in the 15th century.

Church tower

Interior, Chiesa di San Vigilio

Local families are memorialized on the exterior wall.

Chiesa di San Vigilio memorial

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