“Three little houses/ with sweeping roofs/ a small green field/ a meager stream…/ microscopic village, that’s true/ insignificant village, and yet/ there’s always a star above it/ a star in love!” These are the verses from a famous poem written by Aldo Palazzeschi, which was learned by heart in the ‘50s/’60s and it seems the picture of this lonely hamlet of San Fedele Intelvi which already has a scent of Switzerland. The Canton Ticino with the settlement of Scudelatte is in fact very close and the two villages are joined by a comfortable walking path. The charm of Erbonne is probably due to its “pocket size”; it can almost be held whilst stroking it.

A tiny village but with an ancient history: its human settlement in fact dates back to 300 years before the foundation of Rome and 1000 years before Como’s. Even more amazing is the discovery of artifacts dating back to Neanderthal (50,000/60,000 years ago) by the paleontologist Andrea Tintori. In the Middle Ages Erbonne belonged to Milan Dukedom geopolitically never forgetting a spirit of brotherhood with its “neighbours” from Scudellate and despite the determination of the border between Italy and Switzerland in the sixteenth century. Centuries later the same border was profaned by the night shadows of the smugglers.

The tiny “Museum of Guardia di Finanza (customs police) and smuggling “ preserves objects belonging to the romantic and now bygone world of the “bionde” (cigarettes), “sfrusaduu” (smugglers), “burlanda” (customs officers) and of “pedu de sacch” (smugglers’ shoes made with jute bags). The graveyard is a miniature place too. The engraved surnames are only two: Cereghetti (widespread in Ticino) e Puricelli (typical of the Valle d’Intelvi) because of consanguineous marriages, habit also in use by the nobles and even by royal families.


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