What is it? I asked the citizens of Lecco

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An unusual structure

I often go jogging along the lake following the cycle path parallel to Viale Don Giovanni Ticozzi heading towards the Rivabella campsite. Midway between the Bione sports club and the campground,  there is an unusual concrete structure standing on the grass next to the path. It looks like two U shaped blocks of concrete held together by cement and reinforced iron brackets and bolts. A desperate admirer wrote “Mary Ti Amo” (I love you Mary) on the side as his heartfelt declaration of love. It is heavy and weather-worn and in a way, sadly lost, as if it was thrown off a truck and abandoned. Is that what happened? Or is it a piece of artwork?

In an effort to get an answer, I asked the local Facebook group of residents. I was told the structure has been there for years, about 20 years.

The fun-spirited community gave me some very amusing answers as to what it might be:

  • “A weather shelter. If it rains you can hide under it.”
  • “A metal detector used by the Flinstones, but abandoned because it wasn’t up to norm.”
  • “He who has entered can never tell you, they have never returned!”
  • “To get to the land of magic, before  track 9 and 3/4, there was The Bione hole”
  • “An engagement ring.”
  • “It’s a dolmen, isn’t it obvious?!”
  • “A magic passageway. If you pass through you will find gold!” 
  • “A stargate, pass through and you will find yourself in another dimension!”
  • “A  tunnel. A very short tunnel.”

The most plausible and true answer explaining what it is:

“An Industrial acid tub left by a former company called SAE – Società Anonima Eelettrificazione

The pylon towers of the Messina straight

SAE was established in 1938 and constructed high tension transmission towers. The pylon towers of the Messina straight were fabricated by SAE workers in Lecco. After acquisitions and mergers, the factory in Lecco was eventually closed. Today, the former employees have created the SAE Lecco Club and charitable organization.

The “unusual structure” has new meaning for me now. I believe it should be given some sort of official status such as a plaque of recognition remembering the hard-working citizens of Lecco.



Below, a video of SAE vintage film footage published on Youtube by Gianfranco Oberti






Celia Abernethy

Originally from New York, Celia now spends her time between Milan and Lake Como sharing her discoveries and experiences living in Italy. Follow @CeliaAbernethy on Twitter