When I first visited Lake Como in 1978, I remembered seeing these canopied boats, known as Lucia's bobbing around the lake. They were used as fishing or leisure craft, and were rowing boats, manouvered by oars, which the oarsman wields while standing, facing forwards.
I was entranced by these vessels, and bought a silver charm of one of these to remind me of this iconic image of Lago di Como.
Seeing this land-locked Lucia in Varenna, was my first sighting of one this trip - I'd expected to see one or two on the lake already. I'm afraid that despite keeping a keen eye out during my visit, I didn't spot any 'working Lucias'
Apparently they are still raced on the Lake.
Some towns have these retired boats as an 'attractive feature' - some repainted and adopted as a planter for flower displays - pretty as these are, It's not the same as seeing them in their natural environment!
On my visit to Varenna I noticed plenty of signs reading 'Watch the Cat'. There are two possibilities: either Varenna cats are big felines and then dangerous or they are too often killed by vehicles...