The Sagra di San Giovanni is the oldest historical event that takes place on Lake Como. It is celebrated this weekend 24th and 25th June with folk arts and fireworks, boat procession and boat race.

The Sagra takes place on the Island Comacina and commemorates the destruction of the island which took place June 24, 1169 by Barbarossa, who with the help of the city of Como, set fire to the ‘only island of the Lake Como, destroying every building.

A legend says that three centuries after the horrific massacre in 1435, San Giovanni Battista as a pilgrim appeared on the island and has asked to dig under a walnut tree. And so the ruins of the basilica emerged. Since then, every year on the day of San Giovanni, the memory of these events are celebrated. For the occasion the classic dish is polenta with snails so someone thought of using the empty shells of snails and with a little ‘oil and a wick, became candles called “Lumaghitt.”

This year the festival will take place on 24th and 25th June. Saturday evening the lake will be illuminated with thousands of lovely “Lumaghitt” lights (snail shells with burning olive oil) and with candles placed in the boats and on the windows and balconies of Ossuccio’s districts.

Around 10:30 pm will start the beautiful firework display will take place sparking off the island and the night with 1,200 workstations shot which will project more than ten tons of fireworks that will light up for about an hour the lake. The lake will be crowded with boats, motorboats and ferry full of tourists flocked to enjoy the show. Thus remember the burning and destruction of the island Comacina happened centuries ago.

For those who will be attending the festival remember that the Statale Regina will be closed from Argegno to Lenno on Saturday from 8pm to midnight, so we suggest booking the pass and parking in time!

In occasion of the annual commemoration of the island Comacina, the institution for navigation on Lake Como, organizes night cruises departing from Como and from other locations of the central lake to watch the fireworks show. For information and details:

On Sunday, a procession of boats called “Lucie”, typical Lake Como boats, decorated and conducted by boatmen in folk clothes, reports on the Island the relics of the martyrs of the Parish of the island. After the mass at the Basilica of St. Euphemia, in which everyone can participate reaching the island by ferry, a traditional lunch will take place at the Inn of the Island.

Concludes the holiday weekend, the inevitable San Giovanni Regatta, reserved for Lucie boats, departing from Ossuccio and arriving in Sala Comacina.

The Sagra di San Giovanni is one of the most awaited events of the summer and it attracts every year thousands of tourists on the beautiful shores of Lake Como.

Why not choose to watch the firework display from one of the terraces of our holiday apartments at Lake Como?