Comacina Island’s fireworks – San Giovanni festival
The festival takes place on Comacina Island, at Tremezzo, just in front of Bellagio on Lake Como on June 24th, the day of St. John the Baptist. If the recurrence falls on a weekday, it is celebrated the following Saturday and Sunday (27th of June fireworks, 28th of June San Giovanni Sagra/Festival in Bellagio).
The origin and name of the sagra dei lumaghitt (Festival of the Lumagghitt) date back to an antique legend according to which three centuries ago the area’s inhabitants liberated themselves from the terrible hailstorms that each year in June destroy the harvest, by imploring the protection of St. John the Baptist and carrying out a solemn boat procession to the Comacina Island, where a small church dedicated to the saint stood.
From that time on, the furious storms ceased and the procession is repeated each year, with a contour of festivities and nocturnal luminaries.
It became a tradition to eat, upon the occasion, polenta and snails. Someone thought of using the empty snail shells: with a little oil and a wick they became small luminaries, and from there comes the name lumaghitt.
With time, the fires ignited on the island and on floating rafts assumed yet another meaning.
They remind of the great fire of Comacina Island in 1160, when the inhabitants of Como, as a vendetta against the Comacini (people of Comacina Island, with whom the Milanese had participated in the destruction of their city in 1127), laid waste to the island, destroying everything, including the nine churches that stood on the fortified rock.
The lumaghitt show begins at dusk.
The fireworks, which last about an hour, generally begin after 10:00 p.m. on 27th of June.
For a cruise on the lake from Bellagio to Comacina Island on fireworks night check at Navigazione Lago di Como