By looking at Lake Como on Google Maps, you will immediately distinguish it from the other lakes of northern Italy for its inverted Y shape. Located approximately 31 miles from Milan, the lake is the third-largest Italian lake, after Maggiore and Garda. It is also the deepest, at 1,345 feet.
For centuries this lake, protected by promontories, has fascinated vacationers from all over the world.
The charm of the lake lies in the diversity of landscape that it is possible to admire while navigating the lake from North to South and from side to side.
Here below we have selected some of the most charming spots for you to visit in the Lake Como area. We have drafted an itinerary that will accompany you to discover some of the most beautiful places in Italy.
Bellagio is an enchanting village overlooking Lake Como which has the characteristic of being exactly at the meeting point between one arm of the lake and the other. For those who do not know, Lake Como develops into a portion of territory that forms the shape of a Y.
At the centre of the lake, Bellagio rises on the confluence of the two branches of Como and Lecco.
In the nineteenth-century period, the village was the most sought-after holiday destination by aristocrats and nobles. Even though many years have passed, Bellagio still maintains its fame and status as an internationally renowned tourist destination.
Ancient churches, impressive stone stairways, narrow streets, enchanting alleys and colourful villas make the village a seductive destination for those looking for a romantic and unforgettable stay.
The village of Cernobbio undoubtedly represents one of the most prestigious locations to spend a holiday on Lake Como. The main square of Cernobbio, Piazza del Risorgimento, overlooks the lake and hosts artistic and musical events on various occasions. A nice walk along the magnificent lake allows you to fully enjoy the beauty of this place, boasting unique landscapes. In Cernobbio, Villa d’Este is not to be missed, a residence dating back to the sixteenth century, later transformed into a prestigious luxury hotel. Villa Erba, a nineteenth-century structure, once the home of Luchino Visconti, is also worth a visit. By admiring Villa Bernasconi and Villa Pizzo you will be able to step back and have a taste of the flavours of distant and sumptuous eras.
Laglio and Moltrasio
Laglio and Moltrasio make for an excellent itinerary for an unforgettable trip to the lake, which can be done along the historic Via Regina Vecchia that goes through the villages. Laglio, now a city well known for its residence to many VIPs, is a very nice village boasting spectacular views of the lake. Laglio is also the home to Villa Oleandra which is the ancient residence of the Lombard nobility, bought in 2002 by George Clooney.
In Moltrasio, on the other hand, there is the wonderful Villa Passalacqua, a diamond overlooking the waters of the lake reflecting the style of ancient Greece.
Argegno is a medieval village divided into two parts by the waters of the river Telo. Beyond being a well-known place for mountain and nature lovers, its historic centre boasts numerous undoubtedly fascinating sites, surrounded by impressive houses perched on the lake. From Argegno, it is possible to go up to the Pigra plain by cable car in order to enjoy a marvellous landscape view.
Varenna, once a fishing village, is now a picturesque town and elegant refuge for tourists located on a small promontory on Lake Como at the beginning of the Lecco branch. There are many restaurants with a cosy atmosphere, furnished in the name of tradition. This charming village is characterized by typical houses featuring a great variety of very bright and vibrant colours. In addition to admiring the Vezio Castle, it is possible to take the so-called “walk of lovers”, a romantic site that leaves its mark on its visitors and will provoke long-lasting memorable emotions. It is also interesting to explore Piazza San Giorgio and visit the Church of San Giorgio, dating back to the Middle Ages. Villa Cipressi and Villa Monastero, are also worth a visit as they are two of the most beautiful buildings on Lake Como.
Tremezzo is a borgo that offers a breathtaking view of Lake Como making it an unmissable destination for those visiting the lake area. Situated about halfway to the western shore of Lake Como, this village boasts a naturalistic heritage to be discovered.
Tremezzo features many valuable and unique architectural works such as Villa Carlotta, with gardens characterized by azaleas, rhododendrons, Japanese maples, palms, cacti, bamboos, orchids and other plants. The park extends to more than 14 hectares. It is also worth paying a visit to the indoors of the villa in order to admire paintings, sculptures and tapestries.
Lecco is a city with an industrial vocation with a nineteenth-century core. The symbolic monument is the Ponte di Azzone Visconti or Ponte Vecchio, still in use today. In the historical centre stands Villa Manzoni, which belonged to the family of the great writer until 1818. Among the historical places recognizable in the novel, the Convent of the Capuchins in Pescarenico.
On the Lecco bank, not far from Colico, a visit to Abbey of Piona is not to be missed. This abbey was founded in the 11th-12th century. The cloister in Romanesque and Gothic style is stunning. Here you can buy the delicious Gocce Imperiali or Tintura Imperiale liqueur, also produced in other abbeys in Italy.
San Pietro al Monte
San Pietro al Monte is an architectural and artistic complex of great value, located in Civate. It stands on a ledge of Monte Cornizzolo at over 600 m in height. An absolute masterpiece is the Ciborium inside the church of San Pietro which surmounts the altar.
At the beginning of the valley that leads to Lake Lugano, it is the ideal starting point for reaching various sites: the paths of the Val Sanagra Park; the Via Ferrata of Mount Grona and the climbing wall between the town and the hamlet of Nobiallo.
From the lake’s shores, it is enchanting to admire the numerous villages overlooking the banks, and the splendid historic villas surrounded by lush gardens, which in the past belonged to the Italian aristocracy, to the nobility from the bordering countries beyond the Alps, or to high prelates of the Vatican. One after the other, they encircle the lake since the 16th century.
Lake Como is definitely one of the most romantic and evocative destinations of the Belpaese.
Daniela De Luca is CEO at Home in Italy. Home in Italy is a luxury villa rental company offering high end holiday villa experiences throughout the best regions of Italy since 1993.
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