A Trip to the Italian Lake Como

Updated On: February 07, 2022

a shot of the scenery of lake como including the mountainous area.

Lake Como is located in the northern region of Italy, only 48 kilometres north of Milan. The area of the lake is 146 kilometres, which makes it the 3rd largest lake in Italy after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore and it is the fifth deepest lake in Europe. Como has been famous since the old ages where Celtic tribes settled there followed by the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC. If you are visiting Como, you will see its Roman origins in the orderly grid of streets of its historic centre.

Due to the location of the city, it has played an important role in Lombardy and was a centre of commerce and trade in the old ages. In the middle ages, a major defensive network was built to protect the city consisting of series of watchtowers, including a popular tower called the Baradello which you will see when you visit Como, and after the French and Austrian conquests, Como became a part of the Italian kingdom in 1859.

Nowadays, Como is a famous destination for tourists from all over the world to explore the lake and the surrounding area, the natural landscape, and many attractions, such as the historical buildings, restaurants, and museums. Como is also close to the train station and boat dock, so you can reach it quite easily. A popular place to make films, Lake Como is as beautiful as it appears on the silver screen.

Things to Do at Lake Como:

  1. Como Cathedral:

This is one of the famous attractions in Como. It was built in the 14th century, located in Piazza Duomo, and is renowned for its beautiful architecture. Its front façade is a Gothic design with marble highlighted by detailed stone carving and statues around a rose window. The interior is well decorated and the central dome is one of the main features of the cathedral.

  1. Brunate:

It is a town located in a high place in the mountains surrounding Lake Como and you can take the funicular train to reach the mountain and stop at Brunate. Once you reach this magnificent place, you will be able to see the city of Como and the Lake. You can also sample some delicious food in the restaurant at the top. If you are an adventure lover, you can hike for 2 hours till you reach the top of Mount Boletto for the beautiful view of Brunate.

  1. Basilica di Sant’Abbondio:

Located outside the city centre in Como, the Basilica di Sant’Abbondio was built in the 11th century and was made in Romanesque style. The façade of the church is plain and has simple stonework, and its interior design is characterized by Gothic frescoes from the 13th century, stone columns, and an ornately decorated main altar. The alter is impressive and has some collections of coloured frescos that depict various religious figures.

  1. Alessandro Volta Museum:

It is a white Neoclassical building on the lake which was dedicated to Alessandro Volta, who was given the name the electric volt due to his invention of the electric battery in 1800. The museum was built in 1927 to commemorate the centennial of Volta’s death. In the museum, you will see the equipment he used in his research. While you are in the museum, make sure to visit the monument commemorating the victims of World War II, which was created by Gianni Colombo, the Milan sculptor.

  1. Museo Civico:

The museum is located near the cathedral; it is divided into two palaces with a lot of history. The museum contains many artefacts dating back to the ancient Greek period, an exceptional collection of Neolithic and the history of Como and its inhabitants throughout the years. Also, you can find many collections of pottery, jewellery, stonework, and agricultural machinery.

  1. The Town of Cernobbio:

It is one of the largest towns located on Lake Como. One of the famous attractions in this town is Villa d’Este which was built for an English Queen and is now a luxury hotel. It is a beautiful town where you can enjoy watching the lovely fishing and sailing boats or relax at one of the restaurants or cafes to grab something to eat or explore the Art Nouveau villas. There is a 1310-meter road that leads to the top of the mountain of Monte Bisbino to see a magnificent view of the countryside.

  1. Villa Balbianello:

Villa Balbianello is located near the town of Lenno. It was constructed in the 18th century over the original site of a monastery. You can reach the villa by boat from Lenno and then through a path in the woodland and by the way it is a good place to go hiking. You can also check out the magnificent view of Lake Como from there as well as the towns of Vergonese and Bellagio. The villa is a great place to explore the amazing architecture and make sure to have a guide on your tour to learn more about the villa’s history.

  1. The Town of Menaggio:

Overlooking the western shore of Lake Como, above a town called Bellagio, like many other towns on the lake; it is a great place to take some photos of the landscapes and the lake. You can hire a boat and start exploring the place and there are plenty of restaurants that where you can relax and enjoy the amazing food.

  1. Abbazia di Piona (Abbey of Piona):

The Abbey of Piona was built in the 13th century and it is surrounded by the church of San Nicola which was built in the 11th century. It is surrounded by delicate columns and each of these columns has different stone-carved motifs of plants and animals. The abbey’s walls are covered by frescoes dating back to the 14th and the 15th centuries and after you finish your tour in the abbey, you can buy some products from a shop that sells some of the abbey’s gardens products like herbal lotions, honey, and candies.

  1. The Town of Bellagio:

This town is known as the most beautiful town on Lake Como due to its location where the three arms of Lake Como meet. Take a walk in the town and you will find several shops, gardens, and restaurants. Also, you can enjoy walking along the promenades and taking some amazing photos.

  1. Villa Serbelloni:

Villa Serbelloni can be found in the town of Bellagio so don’t miss visiting this historical complex when you visit the town. It served as home to the Sfondrati family in the 16th century. The villa was built at the top of the promontory and it has a magnificent view of Lake Como and the Alps in the far distance. Unfortunately, the villa isn’t open for tours but its gardens are, so you can admire the rose garden and the beautiful wooded areas surrounding it.

  1. Villa Melzi:

Another famous villa in Bellagio which is a great example of Neoclassical architecture is Villa Melzi that is well known for its label of green bordering the shore. It is a nice place to have a walk; the gardens that surround the villa were designed by the architect Luigi Canonica in the 19th century with cypresses, statues, and some rare plants. The villa isn’t open for the public but art exhibits are often held there. The interesting thing is that besides the stunning gardens in the villa, it also contains a chapel and a museum.

  1. Villa Monastero:

One of the stunning villas located on Lake Como specifically in the town of Varenna. It is known as the most romantic spot in the area because of its location on the lake and its botanical garden. The villa contains a museum and it is now a conference center when it is not open for tours. If you want to go to the gardens, it is a short walk south of the town where you will find a cluster of pastel houses along steep streets.

  1. Villa Carlotta:

It is a modest spot in Lake Como, where you will see the green foliage all winter. The strange thing is that although the 18th-century villa is full of sculptures and paintings, most of the tourists go there to see the hillside of gardens. When the camellias and 12-meter tall banks of massed rhododendrons are in bloom, the gardens are filled with colorful flowers throughout the season.

  1. Canyoning at Porlezza or Lenno:

If you love to have an unforgettable adventure then the landscapes of Lake Como will give you the opportunity for that. There are companies, such as Lake Como Adventures that offer a range of sports and outdoor pursuits. The company offers an activity called Canyoning which includes abseiling, jumping, and sliding through a series of canyons and cliffs to reach the ground or water below. It is an interesting activity to explore Lake Como and many lovely places such as the canyons at Porlezza and Lenno.

  1. Rock Climbing:

The nature and the mountainous region in Lake Como have many opportunities for rock climbing where you can explore the range of different surfaces, such as granite and limestone, and explore some truly stunning parts of Lake Como.

  1. Villa Olmo:

Looks like Lake Como is full of many beautiful villas and Villa Olmo is one of them. The villa was built in the 18th century and it is a great spot for history and culture lovers. It also has a wonderful park where you can take a long walk and relax surrounded by nature.

  1. Faro Voltiano Lighthouse:

When you stop by the town of Brunate make sure to visit the famous lighthouse called Faro Voltiano by taking the funicular. The lighthouse was built in the memory of Alessandro Volta, the Como-born Italian scientist, and inventor of the electrical battery. It is 29 meters high and was built in 1927. When you enter the building there is a spiral staircase with 143 steps that allows you to reach the top.

  1. Orrido di Bellano:

This is a fascinating waterfall located in Lake Como, it is a great place for nature lovers. It is easy to reach from all the towns around the lake and you can get there by car or by train. The tour to Orrido di Bellano takes about 15 to 20 minutes and you go to the top to see the waterfall from a unique view.

  1. Comacina Island:

The island has a long history from the Romans till the Middle Ages until it was inherited by the King of Belgium in the 20th century. Then he gave it back to the Italian government and the archaeology and natural landscape of the island were protected from then on. After that, the island became the main place for celebrities to stay, where the architect Pietro Lingeri built unique houses for artists which are a great attraction on the island. When you visit the island, you can also visit the UNESCO Heritage site The Holy Mount of Ossuccio.

  1. Boat Trips:

There is a good way to explore Lake Como and it is by a boat ride from the city of Como. You will find many tour companies that will take you by boat to any destination you would like in Lake Como. Some trips are one-way boat rides from Como to visit some of the coastal towns, such as Cernobbio and Bellagio, and you can also take a boat ride that travels on the lake while a guide points out different landmarks and explains the history of Lake Como and the surrounding areas. It is a fantastic adventure that you won’t regret.

  1. Coffee at Cafe Mazzini:

After having an amazing tour at Lake Como, of course, you would need time to relax and enjoy a fine coffee and a snack. Cafe Mazzini is a great cafe that you will enjoy relaxing in. It’s in the Piazza Giuseppe Mazzini near the harbor of Como. The lovely thing about the café is that it offers a great selection of Italian dishes and light snacks with desserts and drinks.

  1. Madonna del Ghisallo Church:

This church is not far from Lake Como. It is the official patron saint of Italian cyclists and that’s why the church is always visited by bikers. The church offers a spectacular view of the mountains, and there is also a museum near the church.

  1. Moto Guzzi Museum:

This is the perfect place for motorcycles lovers. When you enter the museum, you will find out more about the history of motorcycles created by the Italian motorcycle manufacturer Moto Guzzi. There are about 80 motorcycles, including the first model ever created by one of the founders, Carlo Guzzi, from the year 1919.

Places to Stay in Lake Como:

  1. Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni:

It is a 5 stars hotel in the city of Bellagio and gives you a wonderful view of the lake. The rooms in the hotel are classy and have everything you need in it. You can enjoy sunbathing by the swimming pool, relaxing at the spa, working out at the gym and the hotel’s restaurants offer high-level cuisine.

  1. Villa d’Este:

The hotel is located in the town of Cernobbio, it was built in the 16th century and it is one of the most expensive hotels there. The hotel has a wonderful garden that you would enjoy spending time in wit

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *