Lago di Como
It is the third largest lake in Italy. It is also known with its Roman name, Lario. It has 50km length and 410m depth. The lake has three arms; Como, Lecco and Cólico.
Although Lake Como is known to be the most attractive and romantic of the northern lakes, it is unfortunately the most crowded one.
It is the nearest of the northern lakes to Milan, therefore it is one of the most visited holiday destination for Milanese.
The city of Come is located on the southwest arm of the lake. The first settlements probably were at the Bronze Age but the city gained importance during the Romans.
The city’s most of the income is from textile, engineering and tourism. It is not only an industrial but also a historical city. Piazza Cavour is the main centre of Como with hotels and cafés.
The cathedral was begun to be built in 1396. It was 1744 when it was completed. It is a very good example of the transition from Gothic to Renaissance. The statues of the Elder and the Younger Plinys located on the main west door are the works of the Rodari Brothers. Inside the cathedral there are tapestries hanging between four columns of the nave which date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Broletto, the Town Hall, is attached to the north side of the cathedral. It was built in 1215.
Piazza San Fedele
The old corn market is located in this square. The 10th century Basilica of San Fedele is the main attraction in the piazza. It is decorated with Romanesque bas-reliefs. Sant’Abbondio is the other church in Como which is also a Romanesque example built in the 11th century.
Museums in Como
There are three museums. Museo Civico is located close to San Fedele which is housed in two palaces. The Palazzo Olginati has the Risorgimento Museum and the Palazzo Giovio has the local collection of archaeology and art. The museum is open between 09:30am and 12:30pm and from 14:00 to 17:00 every day except Mondays and on Sundays it is open between 10:00am and 13:00.
It is located in the park by the lake. It has the instruments and documents of Allessandro Volta who is the famous scientist born in Como. He gave his name to electrical measurement. The museum is open between 10:00am and 12:00pm and from 14:00 to 16:00 every day except Mondays.
The Museo della Seta
It is located in Via Vallegio. It has the examples from the city’s silk industry. The museum is open between 9:00am and 12:00pm and from 15:00 to 18:00 every week day except Mondays and weekends.
It is built in neoclassical style during the 18th century on the site of a monastery. The gardens of the villa are open for visitors between 09:30am and 12:00pm and from 15:00 to 18:00 every day except Sundays.
The funicular to Brunate
The funicular runs every 30 minutes from the lake side station to the hill village Brunate. It is a good location for hiking.
The Western Shore of the Lake Como
It is the largest town on the lake. The town has a market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It is the start of a 130km trek through the mountains known as the Via dei Monte Lariani. The town is famous for its villas such as Villa Erba, Villa il Pizzo and the 16th century world famous Villa d’Este. Other towns on the western shore are Moltrasio where Villa Passalacqua is located, Carate-Urio, Torrigia, Brienno and Argegno.
The Eastern Shore of Lake Como
Lago di Piona
It is a small lagoon. There is an 11th century abbey, the Abbazia di Piona which was taken over by the Cistercians during the 20th century. It can be visited by visitors between 08:00am and 19:00.
It is the home town of the Boldini family who were in the silk industry. There is the church of San Nazzaro and San Celso dating back to the 14th century.
It is located in the south of Bellano. There is a ruined castle on the hill above the town which is believed to have been the last home of the Lombard Queen Theolinda. Pirelli, who founded the tire company, is from Varenna. There are the Oratorio di San Giovanni dating back to the 10th century and San Giorgio which was built in Romanesque style.
There are some famous villas which are now hotels or conference centers such as Villa Cipressi and Villa Monastero.
It is open between 09:00am and 20:00 in summer and between 09:00am and 18:00 in autumn and spring. Villa Monastero was built on the site of a Cistercian monastery. It is today used as a scientific center by the government. The gardens of the villa are worth seeing. It is open between 09:00am and 19:00 everyday from April to October.
It is another attraction in Varenna which is open between 15:00 and 18:00 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from June to September, and on Sundays between 10:00am and 12:00pm. There is a ferry from Varenna to Tremezzo and steamers to Bellagio, Villa Carlotta and Menaggio.
The Lecco Arm
It is the southeast arm of Lake Como. It is known as Lago di Lecco. This area is the least developed part of the lake.
Mandello del Lario
There is the mountain Grigne which is 2410m high. Mandello del Lario is known as the headquarters of the Moto Guzzi motorcycle firm. The firm runs the Museo del Motocicio in Via Parodi. There is the Church of San Lorenzo in the town which was built in the 9th century.
It is the only island of Como Lake. It is full of ruined churches. There are a few inhabitants on the island who are artists.
Pliny the Younger had a villa in Lenno.
In this village, Mussolini and his mistress were executed by partisans in 1945.
This village is facing Bellagio, located at the junction of the three arms of Lake Como. On its shores there are palaces which have been changed into hotels. Villa Carlotta was built in the 18th century in neoclassical style by Marchese Giorgio Clerici. The gardens of the villa are worth seeing. It is open between 09:00am and 11:30am and from 14:00 to 16:30 every day between 15th March and 31st October. Between April and September it is open every day from 09:00am and 18:00.
It is the busies town on the western shore. There is a ferry to Varenna from Menaggio. The town has good hotels, golf course, shops and a harbour.
The town is protected by a castle built on the Sasso di Musso. It used to be the home of II Medighino who was a member of the Medici during the 16th century.
It is where Mussolini was captured while he was trying to escape to Switzerland in 1945.
It is the oldest town on the lake after Como. Here, there are two attractions, the Palazzo Gallio which was built in 1586 for Cardinal Tolemeo Gallio and the Church of Santa Maria del Tiglio which was built in the 12th century.
At the northern of the Lake Como there is a very small lake called Lake Mezzola which is 3km by 2km. It was created by the silt and the boulders from the Rivers Mera and Adda.
It is an industrial town which is the second largest town on Lake Como. The settlements in this town go back to the 6th century. During the time of Viscontis, Ponte Vecchio was built in 1336. Alessandro Manzoni was born in Lecco. He is a famous Italian novelist. Villa Manzoni in Via Amendola which was his home is today a museum. It is open between 09:30am and 17:00 every day except Mondays.
There is a cable car to Piani d’Erna from Lecco which is 1328m high and a good for hiking.
It is located between the two southern arms of Lake Como. There are nice villas such as Villa Melzi which was built in 1810 and Villa Serbelloni which was built in the 16th century. Another attraction is the 12th century Church of San Giacomo.