Breva, Tivàn, Revultùn: Lake Como Unique Winds

At Lake Como we like to call our winds as old friends, with their names: Breva, Tivano (Tivàn in local dialect), Bellanasco, to name but a few.

The most romantic and sensitive souls among you will be happy to hear that at Lake Como we are somehow fond of our winds. It’s true: sometimes we are desperate because the strongest winds give us a massive headache; but in the end we all know that the winds are simply the breath of our lake. And we can’t even imagine the water without the elegant dance it does with the wind.

The mountains and valleys embracing our lake create like an amphitheater that funnels the winds coming from all the cardinal points: the result is a complex winds system.

Lake Como winds have also inspired many artists and singers, like Davide Van De Sfroos, who wrote a song specifically dedicated to Breva and Tivàn.

The emotional text of this poetical song tells the story of a man – probably a fisher – who finds himself in the middle of the lake during a storm, with the local winds that drive his boat increasingly away from the shore. Surprisingly, the protagonist feels excited: the lake is not an enemy, rather a joker who wants to have fun. He doesn’t care if all his neighbors from the shore consider him an idiot. Somehow, the winds cradle his boat: he looks like he has found his inexplicable balance in the heart of the storm. You can easily grasp the overall metaphor that links the nature of a restless soul to the wild waves of the lake during the stormy days.

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Tivano, the “petit vent”

Tivano, whose name comes from the French “petit vent”, is a morning wind.

It regularly comes around 6 in the morning from the north-east, from Valtellina, and it generally disappears around 10/11 am. We like to say it’s an optimistic wind, as it always brings good weather (conversely, its total absence forecasts bad weather); and yes, it’s a gentle wind, for its speed never exceeds the 4/6 meters per second.

In summertime there is the Tivanel (or Tivan d’acqua): it’s quite weak and you can feel it after a storm in the mountains of Valtellina.

Breva, a sweet nightmare

Breva comes when Tivano runs aways, around 11 in the morning.

This wind comes exactly from the opposite side of Tivano, i.e from the south (precisely from Brivio, a little village along the Adda river that gave the name to the wind): it’s felt better on the Lecco branch, but it rapidly climbs the whole lake. It’s always felt strongly in the central area of the lake, and much less in the Como branch (except for the villages of Argegno and Brienno).

Breva always introduces itself with a first acute breath; then it meditates a moment, and finally it blows confident and powerful.

This wind goes at a speed of 7/8 meters per second (often up to 12 m/s: in this case it’s called Brevùn).

Interestingly, Breva is forerun by a deep mist that covers the whole surface of the lake. No haze means no Breva, little haze stands for an imminent light Breva, whereas intense haze (i.e. when you can’t detect the shape of Bellagio) is a clear index of strong incoming Breva.

Fun fact: there’s a local proverb that defines a person with a dishevelled look like someone who has been literally blown away by the strong Breva coming from the branch of Lecco.

When Breva and Tivàn fight: the Revultùn

There is also a curious wind - known as Revultùn - that is nothing more than the fight on the lake between Breva e Tivano.

Generally, after a thunderstorm occurring in the mountains, a violent wind comes in the morning on Lake Como, combining himself with the Tivano and reinforcing it; it follows that Tivano lasts longer than usual, and that’s why it ends up fighting with Breva from the south around 12 am. Breva generally prevails and the wind from the north ends.

The waters, moved by these opposing forces, keep like ‘boiling’ and turning (from here the name Revultùn - literally something that keeps restlessly turning and returning on itself).

Other winds of Lake Como you should learn about

Besides Breva and Tivano there are actually other less known winds that contribute to Lake Como winds system.

The Menaggino, for instance, comes from Val Menaggio: especially in summertime (in July and August), it’s associated with thunderstorms. It goes at a speed of 100 km/h: it’s the nightmare of all fishers.

The Ventone comes suddenly from Val Chiavenna especially in spring, with a speed of 80 km/h, and can last up to a week.

Other summer winds associated with thunderstorms are the Bellanasco (from Bellano), the Argegnino or Sant’Anna (from Valle Intelvi), the Bergamasca (from the mountains around Lecco; it’s less common but very violent), and the Garzenasc (from the valleys around Dongo).

The Montivi are regular breezes that blow from all valleys in the evening, generally between 18 and 21.

The Fiaa de San Vincenz (literally San Vincent’s breath) is a winter wind coming from Sondrio, in Valtellina.

The Fohn is one of our favorite friend: it’s a dry wind coming in winter from the north, and generates higher temperatures.

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