• Lakes
    • Art & Culture

Lago di Como: charmingly seductive

Described by Stendhal as ‘voluptuous’, the south-western branch of Lake Como charms with its gardens, villas and breath-taking views.

The Duomo di Como, or Como Cathedral, skilfully constructed using late Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements, and the Tempio Voltiano temple, built to mark
the centenary of Alessandro Volta's death, summarise the spirit of Como perfectly: a medieval town that reached out to the world with the brainchild of the battery, defined
by Einstein as the basis of all modern inventions.

The neoclassical Volta Temple, evidently influenced by Andrea Palladio, nestles on the lake’ shore.

It displays original (and replica) scientific instruments belonging to the great scientist, along with documents and other items illustrating his life.

Before arriving at the Duomo, it's worth detouring from the fascinating shoreline route to take in the Novocomum, the condominium designed by Giuseppe Terragni that is one of Italy's first examples of modern architecture.

It is to Terragni that the Itinerario razionalista (Rationalist tour) - which includes buildings such as the former Casa del Fascio, the Monument to the Fallen and the Sant'Elia kindergarten - is dedicated.

The island
Lake Como's only island, the tiny Isola Comacina, has a long and intricate history. In Roman and medieval times it acted as both a military base and a key religious centre.
In alliance with Barbarossa, the Comaschi (people of Como) later razed it. Its rediscovery came in the 20th century when Pietro Lingeri built three “artists' houses” in the rationalist style, leading to the discovery of a fascinating archaeological heritage. Stunning views and lush vegetation make the island a must-see.

All aboard!
Just getting there is a thrill. From Como, a funicular railway, in service since 1894, climbs
700 metres to Brunate, a gorgeous borgo dotted with numerous art nouveau (or 'Stile Liberty' in Italy) style villas, the main protagonists of a clearly marked itinerary. Another must-see is the Faro Voltiano lighthouse in San Maurizio, a 29 metre high octagon-plan tower built to mark the centenary of Alessandro Volta's death. A climb to the top of its 143-step spiral staircase rewards the visitor with astounding views not just of the lake but also the Alps beyond (on a clear day Monte Rosa is visible).

Sheer beauty
One of Italy's most beautiful villages, Tremezzina is spellbinding, its natural and man-made beauty almost overwhelming. Verdant gardens, water and stone merge to compose a unique symphony. Superb palazzi (Villa Carlotta, Villa Mayer with
its publicly owned Teresio Olivelli park, Villa Amila, designed by Pietro Lingeri to look like a ship sailing through the woods), spinning mills, the scent of
lemons and a kaleidoscope of azaleas, hydrangeas and camellias offer a unique experience that has been enjoyed since the 1700s when Tremezzinawas a favourite with the European bourgeoisie.

On-the-go quiz
Kids, keep your eyes peeled in Menaggio, the gorgeous village located half-way up the lake's western shore. The Tourist Office offers a fascinating 'historical quiz' that takes you through the streets of the village and its environs. Getting the right answers will require attentive observation and involve drawing what you see, from the castle to Luigi Tagliaferri's frescoes in the church of Santo Stefano.

Pirates ahoy!
Today, all that remains of the 'Medeghino' castle in Musso are its ruins. Yet it's easy to imagine the exploits of brigand Gian Giacomo de’ Medici (the diminutive Medeghino nickname referred to his diminutive stature) and his band of pirates, whose members included the legendary 'Falco della Rupe'. The latter's exploits were
immortalised in the same-named novel by Giambattista Bazzoni.


5 reasons for...

1. The “Museo del cavallo giocattolo”, toy horse museum, Grandate. Over 650 toy horses from all over the globe, dating from the 18th century to the modern day. Utterly unique, the museum is housed in the stables of the legendary trot racehorse, Tornese. On display is a fascinating array of rocking, tricycle, hobby and clockwork horses made of wood, papier-mâché, tin and fabric.

2. The “Museo didattico della seta”, silk museum, Como. A collection of machines and industrial exhibits to preserve the textile traditions that made Como the 'city of silk'.

3. Spina Verde Park. Nature, archaeology and history all play pivotal roles in the Spina Verde regional park. A far-reaching network of paths leads visitors to several points of interest. Such as the Baradello Castle: its tower commands sweeping views
of Como, the plains towards Milan and the rolling foothills. Every year, at the end of summer, the Palio del Baradello is held: 20 days of exciting historical re-enactments that take over the town and the lakeside villages.

4. Tremezzo beach. Inspired by the Italian gardens of Villa Colonna in Rome, the Teresio Olivelli park hosts bathers in the shade of its age-old trees. Its pebbly shore has a refreshments bar and a beach volleyball court.

5. Sport. Lake Como is the perfect place to practice a variety of water sports: rowing, sailing, windsurfing, scuba diving, canyoning and more. Numerous facilities offer tuition or boat rental services.

On the same topic

Lake Como in 5 Villas

Como, Varenna, Bellagio. Go for Villas on Lake Como, discovering enchanted gardens and work of art
  • Lakes
Lake Como in 5 Villas

Lake Iseo From Shore to Shore by Boat

  • Lakes
Lake Iseo From Shore to Shore by Boat

Lago di Lugano The Little World of the Past

A place of cultural interest indeed with the landscapes of Fogazzaro’s novels, the fossils of Monte San Giorgio, the fortifications of World War land the secret places of Ceresio
  • Lakes
Lago di Lugano Piccolo mondo antico

Luino

The tourist boast of Luino is the picturesque and folkloristic weekly market.
  • Lakes
The Luino Market

Centomiglia, sailing challenge on the Garda

Centomiglia: the most important sailing event in Garda and known throughout Europe.
  • Lakes
Centomiglia, sailing challenge on the Garda

Lake Como Itinerary

  • Lakes
Lake Como Itinerary

Botanical garden and lakeside of gardone riviera

Splendid village of Lake Garda, an exceptional place, among botanical gardens and memories linked to Gabriele D'Annunzio.
  • Lakes
Botanical garden and lakeside of Gardone Riviera

From Como to Bellagio by Boat

Traveling between the two shores of the lake, between splendid coasts and the majestic frame of the Pre-Alps
  • Lakes
From Como to Bellagio by Boat

Lago d'Idro Clear cool water

At the foot of the Piccole Dolomiti mountains, and surrounded by their wooded slopes, this is almost a mountain lagoon.
  • Lakes
Lago d'Idro Fresche e dolci acque

Canoeing

Vivere i laghi lombardi in canoa.
  • Lakes
Canoeing

Lago Maggiore Unspoilt landscapes

Monteviasco can only be reached on foot or by cableway from Ponte di Piero. This village is famous for its 18th century mills placed in a natural setting.
  • Lakes
Lago Maggiore Paesaggi incontaminati

Canyoning in Valmalenco

Un percorso di canyoning unico in tutte le Alpi, creato dal torrente Cormor, che ha inciso profondamente il proprio letto nella serpentinite.
  • Lakes
Speleocanyoning nel torrente Cormor in Valmalenco

Lake Iseo Photo Gallery

A way to get to know landscapes, places, characteristics and peculiarities of a vast and very varied territory.
  • Lakes
Lake Iseo and Valcamonica from A to Z

What to do in Lake Iseo

  • Lakes
What to do in Lake Iseo

Lake Maggiore

The Doll Museum. The villages and the districts. Trekking, horse riding and water sports. Advice for experiencing Lake Maggiore
  • Lakes
Vivere il Lago Maggiore

Discover Alto Garda bresciano

Towns perched on cliffs over the water, with dizzy views. And roads dug out of the rock, as harsh as…
  • Lakes
Lago di Garda: il lato selvaggio

Rabbit Island in Lake Garda

A very suggestive island, a small lake paradise.
  • Lakes
Discover San Biagio, the Rabbit Island in Lake Garda

Lago Maggiore Artist’s brushstrokes

Trompe l’oeil frescos, five centuries of pictorial cycles, spontaneous and organised murals: colour is everywhere in and around Laveno Mombello
  • Lakes
Lago Maggiore Pennellate d'artista

Centre of colico

Discover what to see in Colico, the pearl of Lake Lecco.
  • Lakes
Centre of Colico

Sailing

Sailing in the lakes of Lombardy with a sailboat is the best choice if you want to enjoy a breezy climate.
  • Lakes
Sailing