Lake Como in Lombardy, also known as ‘Lario,’ belongs to a region frequented by celebrities to escape from the public eye or used in Hollywood movies (did you know that Villa Balbianello was the setting of Casino Royal and Star Wars: Attack of the Clones?).
Aside from being famous for its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and romantic vistas, Lake Como is also home to a cryptid legendary beast called a Lariosaurus, also known as ‘Larrie.’
A cryptid creature is a plant or animal whose existence has been suggested but not yet recognized by the scientific community, much like the Yeti or the Loch Ness monster in Scotland. Perhaps, Larrie isn’t a myth after all and just a newly discovered species waiting to come across!
Here are three things to know about the Lake Como monster.
Larrie may not be a myth
Many believers subscribe to the idea that Larrie may be somewhat related to Scotland’s Loch Ness monster, also known as ‘Nessie.’
While Nessie may be more popular than Larrie, the reality is that such a creature as Larrie existed is more plausible. The fossil that Giuseppe Balsamo Crivelli found could’ve existed during the mid-Triassic age, which is older than the dinosaurs. Since Lake Como is one of the deepest in Europe, it is possible to hide a creature that is as big as Larrie.
Also, it is possible that when plate tectonics shaped the continents of the world, Larrie or the Lariosaurus could’ve been trapped inland and would’ve evolved to live in deep freshwater.
First sighting was in the 1830s
The discoverer of Larrie said that a monster lived in this glacial lake, and its fossil was discovered at Perledo (next to Varenna) on Lake Como back in 1839.
The fossil of this creature consisted of a long tail, four flippers, and a small head and neck shape of a crocodile. This discovery fueled the stories about the legendary creature in this deep lake.
Locals and believers subscribe to the idea that this lake monster is a descendant of the Loch Ness monster. This lake creature was known as Lausiosaurs or Larrie, which means Lizard from Lario after its fossils were classified as an extinct type of northosaurus in 1847.
The legend started in 1946
Modern-day interest in this carnivorous marine reptile’s legend, however, started in 1946 when two hunters in the north area of Lake Como, Pian di Spagna, claimed to have seen a creature 10-12 meters long and covered with reddish scales near the shore.
Legend says these two hunters drew their rifles and aimed at the beast, who swam towards the middle of the lake and disappeared with a sharp hiss.
Several years later, another sighting creature got reported from Argegno. This time, a father and his son saw an animal with a rounded snout and webbed feet swimming on the water. It confirms a story by the scientists who explored the area in a submersible vehicle.
Similarly, reports sighting in August 1957 where a group of fishermen claimed to have seen something that looked like a 10-meter eel between Dongo and Musso.
The latest sighting of Larrie was in 2003. A giant eel-looking creature about 10-12 meters long was spotted in Lecco. A researcher, however, thinks that a group of fish swimming together was what was seen and not a lake creature.
Myth or not, this animal’s existence is scientifically possible if one leans into the tectonic plate theory. It is important to remember that the fossilized bones found by Giuseppe Balsamo Crivelli may not be the same animal seen in Pian di Spagna in 1946. It could have been an evolved relative of the original Larrie.
And although this legend of a fearsome creature exists in the minds of locals and believers, one can’t deny that this mysterious cryptid adds a certain charm to the region of Lombardy, which celebrities, divers, and tourists’ flock.