I moved to the Lake Como, Italy area in 2013. Occasionally, I’d go to the lakefront in Lecco to enjoy the activities of the town, feed the swans and people watch – basic, normal stuff. Lecco is a small city, on Lake Como, surrounded by the Italian Alps. It’s a beautiful town, however, it is not a cosmopolitan or flashy city. Just good old normal life & people in Lecco.
One warm spring day in 2014, I see this man sitting on a bench lakefront. How could he not catch my attention?! He was dressed so snazzy – I could see the sorbet yellow jacket was a super soft leather, the shirt, striped tie, Zebra striped Bermuda shorts and the wonderful black & white socks to finish off the look. I wondered if he was a tourist visiting for the weekend as I admired his unique fashion style. Since he was quietly sitting on the bench, enjoying the lake and sun, minding his own business, I did the same and left him alone. But, I wondered – who is this man?
Later I asked a friend who has been living in Lecco for a few years if she knows of the man. She said she’d never seen him. At this point, I thought he was a tourist passing through for the weekend.
I wondered about his story – who is he? I thought, he could be a tourist, spending the summer by the Lake. I don’t know?
A couple weeks later, my friend from Lecco told me she had seen him walking north of town while she was running errands. One, this confirmed I was not crazy and imagining this man and two, he may be a local resident.
Time goes on, it’s now late fall and I spot the Mystery Man strolling down one of the main streets in Lecco. It was a warmer fall day, so he was sporting his Bermuda shorts. I was up above in an office looking down. I see a group of teenagers call him over and ask to take a photo with him. I couldn’t hear what was said, but the man was smiling and joined the guys for a photo. He shook their hands and he continued his walk. Now, I was certain, this man must be a resident. But, what is his story? The impeccable outfits, the hair styled just right and he always has a nice tan.
From seeing his friendly interaction with the teenagers, I thought it would be fine to approach him if I ever ran into him again in person.
It’s winter now (colder) and there weren’t any spottings of the Mystery Man of Lecco in Bermuda shorts for a while. But then…. one warmer winter day in February I glance out of the office window and I see him. Turns out he does own long trousers, and of course, stylish as ever!
At this point, I’m setting it in my mind I’ll be heading to the lakefront in Lecco once the warmer weather arrives – I need to speak to this man. Curiosity is getting the better of me!
That brings us to the current time. As I was going through Facebook, I see an acquaintance’s post – it’s a photo of her with the Mystery Man! With her photo there is a link to a Facebook page about him – it turns out I’m not the only one who is intrigued by this man. All that I know is, he is named as “Il Dandy Sgargiante”. (translation: the stylish flamboyant gentleman).
I hadn’t wanted to publicly post about him because I wanted to respect his privacy. However, after seeing a Facebook page with photos of him and 10 thousand followers – I realized he’s somewhat of a public figure. The page seems to be created by another intrigued person, but not Il Dandy himself. After some additional googling, I found there have been plenty of articles about the Il Dandy Sgargiante of Lecco. Because of this, I am sharing my story of a captivating gentleman I ‘met’ while experiencing life in Italy.
What I find fascinating is, it isn’t stated clearly in any of the articles who this man is. There are rumors that he lives up in a town above Lecco, he was a musician in England but nothing certain. I think that’s great in a way, the Mystery lives on.
I do hope to run into Il Dandy at some point and speak with him. But, until then, he is the Mystery Man of Lecco to me.
(I have intentionally blurred his face in the photos to respect his privacy/identity)