Luigi Mario Belloni
A life dedicated to his research into the Comacina Island
This building, which was originally the Hospitalis de Stabio and now contains the Antiquarium “Luigi Mario Belloni e Mariuccia Zecchinelli”, houses the archaeological finds and artefacts that the architect Luigi Belloni (Milan 1927 – Gravedona 2004) collected in over forty years of tireless and passionate activity. It all started in 1958 when he was appointed honorary Inspector for Archaeological and Standing Building Heritage.
Of all his versatile and untiring work, his research into the “Isola Comacina”, commissioned by the Superintendence for the Antiquities under the guidance of Prof. Mario Mirabella Roberti, is especially remembered. His aim was to expand his understanding of the many architectural ruins on the island that had intrigued and interested him since his days as an architecture student at university, as well as to probe beneath the surface in search of evidence useful to understand the history of the “Isola Comacina” from roman times up to its destruction in 1169.
Apart from the three seasons of archaeological excavation on the Island (1958/9, 1962/3, 1968/9) Belloni also organized two underwater surveys (1970/2, 1978) with Como’s “Neptune Diving Centre” to explore the lake bottom just off the Comacina Island.
Thanks to his research in 1965 the architect Belloni was appointed Honorary Curator of the Island and Director of the Antiquarium which was housed in the sacristy of the church of St. John the Baptist on the island. In this new role Belloni planned measures to safeguard the building heritage of the island, as well as to publicize the results of his research through a number of scientific publications. In this he continuously collaborated with his wife, Dr. Mariuccia Zecchinelli (Milan 1917 – Ossuccio 2011), she too a passionate local historian and at that time the Director of the Civic Museums of Como.
Thanks to his vast knowledge of the archaeology, art and history of the Island and its surrounding territories (Ossuccio, Sala Comacina, Lenno) it was since the mid sixties that Belloni had pictured excursions and projects for this patch of the territory of Como in an attempt to revitalise the local area and to weave it into the broader fabric of the whole of the Larian territory. His commitment to promoting and enhancing the area’s historic and artistic heritage via the cultural associations that he promoted and the cultural and social initiatives that he was able to solicit foreran many examples that today characterize this territory.
In memory of Luigi Mario Belloni and Mariuccia Zecchinelli the town of Ossuccio, within the framework of territorial development set out in the “Magistri Comacini” and
in agreement with the Superintendence for the Cultural Heritage of Lombardy, has reopened to the public the ancient Hospitalis de Stabio after a long period of renovation. The intention is to give everyone the chance to appreciate the results of the research that has been underway since the early twentieth century and which has enriched the history of the Island and the coastal territory with the preservation of its historic buildings and the data gathered. It is also an opportunity to realise just how much research and evaluation has been done, the restoration carried out in recent decades and to hear what initiatives are in the pipeline.