Believers in the Loch Ness Monster might be interested to know that the Lago di Como has its own version – the Lariosauro, which is a borrowing of a name of a real dinosaur that existed in the area – as does the Lago di Garda. (‘Lario’ is the traditional name for the Lago di Como.) In November 1946 two hunters at the northern end of the lake saw an aggressive lizard-like animal. Shot and wounded, the animal swam away, and was seen again at Varenna, further south, before disappearing altogether. There have been other sightings since – probably all hoaxes. Anyway, today I read a novel based loosely on the original episode by Giovanni Galli. It’s a sort of Don Camillo and Peppone meet Nessie affair and, with its mixture of local history and colour with the bare bones of the original case, enjoyable enough in its own sweet way. Northern Italy remained troubled in the immediate post-war years and Galli uses the sighting as a sort of metaphor. But readers should be aware that the monster on the cover of his book has nothing to do with the eyewitness accounts – T Rex couldn’t even swim, could he?