The main municipality around Lake Como is Como, the city that gives its name to the lake, with its important landmarks, beguiling old town and interesting vistas. A trip on boats and hydrofoils are a phenomenal opportunity to appreciate the city and fully appreciate the beauty of the landscape. However, there is no better way to see a more comprehensive representation of the city than that by funicular railway.
From Como to Brunate. Here you will find the most beautiful sights to see on Lake Como. A trip to Lake Como in the Lombardy region is a must for lovers of nature and the magnificent buildings of the past. They are splendid towns that rise on its shores, all rich in artistic, cultural, historical and scenic heritage, worthy of the beautiful country of Italy, which is not called the “bel paese” for nothing.
Lake Como, Lombardy, Italy. (foto © Shutterstock.com)
1. The Cathedral of Como
Perhaps the most charming landmark in northern Italy, Como Cathedral is a stunning and extraordinary building, begun in 1396 and completed in 1740 with the raising of the vault by Filippo Juvara, builder to the King of Sardinia. The building in Como, built to replace the Romanesque church of Santa Maria (1015) and introducing various stylistic elements (Gothic façade, Renaissance side walls and side doors), offers a friendly and surprisingly unified whole. The impelling façade with towers and zeniths is rich in sculptural improvements, generally carried out by the workshop of Giovanni Rodari, to whom we owe in particular the two aedicules dedicated to the Latin authors Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger, and the embellishments of the three gates, the left one of which is called “della Rana”, in view of a frog depicted on the pilaster segment of the entrance, which, jumping out of a lake, scales the foliage to stun a butterfly.
Aerial view of Como Cathedral the city cathedral, near Lake Como in Lombardy, Italy. (foto © Shutterstock.com)
2. Palazzo del Broletto
Right next to the cathedral is another building of great historical and cultural interest. We are talking about the Broletto, also known as Palazzo della Ragione. This is where the city’s meetings were held, including those of the merchant society, and above all where justice was administered. The adjacent bell tower served to convene the various assemblies, while the proximity to the cathedral symbolised the bond between civil and religious power. Whereby the former, however, lost out to the latter. When the construction of the “new” cathedral was commissioned in 1396, the broletto was reduced in size, although it continued to perform its civic function until 1764.
Church Santa Maria Assunta and the old town hall Broletto, Como, Lombardy, Italy. (foto © Claudio Divizia / Shutterstock.com)
3. Volta Temple
A mausoleum donated to the city by the industrialist Francesco Somaini, who chose the architect Federico Frigerio as designer. The latter designed a neoclassical-style temple, clearly inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, with the aim of turning it into a municipal museum to house the original models, reconstructions of scientific works and other memorabilia of the Como scientist.
Aerial drone view of the famous landmark Tempio Voltiano in Lake Como, Lombardy, Italy. (foto © Shutterstock.com)
At the beginning we mentioned how Lake Como is appreciated by the international scene and jet set. From this point of view, Cernobbio is one of the most exclusive destinations in Italy, and not only that. The merit is, of course, the enchanting landscape in which the town lies at the foot of Monte Bisbino on the western shore of the lake. Also very special are two historic buildings, namely the single-enclosed Villa Erba and the proud Villa d’Este. Both are now used for ceremonies, banquets and conference tourism. The Villa d’Este, for example, hosts the annual Ambrosetti Forum, attended by ministers, heads of state and the best of the academic world, especially from the field of business.
And that’s not all, because Cernobbio has long attracted many trekking fans. In fact, one of Italy’s most popular hiking trails starts here: it’s called “La Via dei Monti Lariani” and it winds its way over 100 km at an altitude of between 600 and 1200 metres. In short, relatively easy (as long as you heed the usual warnings for trekking and hiking enthusiasts) and with countless breathtaking views in terms of the beauty of the landscape.
Cernobbio at Lake Como, Lombardy, Italy. (Foto © Shutterstock.com)
Lenno is another enchanting lakeside town, set in an impressive bay known as the “Gulf of Venus” for its beauty, ending at the headland of Punta Balbianello, where the fantastic FAI villa of the same name stands. A leisurely stroll along the Bay of Venus, admiring the beauty of the lake waters, and a stop at Villa del Balbianello to see the beautiful gardens and luxurious interiors is a great idea for romantic couples looking for a breathtaking view.
Villa del Balbianello, Lavedo, Lenno, Lake Como, Lombardy, Italy. (Foto © Shutterstock.com)
Tremezzina contains a series of places of unusual splendour and charm. After negotiating the twists and turns and bottlenecks of the Regina state road by car, when one emerges in the Tremezzina area, one is overwhelmed by the excellence of the residences, private and public accommodation and restaurants that leave the lake to the left. One is inclined to be transported by a time machine to a time when class, sophistication and serenity prevailed.
Another must-see stop in Tremezzina at the moment is Parco Olivelli, a jewel of design and organics whose amazing staircase and dramatic fountain was the catwalk for one of Dolce and Gabbana’s style shows. In Tremezzina, a visit to the gardens of Villa Carlotta is a must.
Villa Carlotta, Lake Como, Tremezzina, Lombardy, Italy. (Foto © Shutterstock.com)
Varenna is a delightful fishing village just a few minutes’ drive from Lecco, offering visitors a maze of cobbled streets and a wonderful “Love Walk” from the centre to the pier. This beautiful walkway, which partially floats above the lake’s cobblestones, offers spectacular scenery at any time of year, an ideal spot for romantic couples seeking tranquillity and beauty. Another attraction not to be missed in Varenna is the beautiful Villa Monastero and its botanical garden, rich in rare plants and flowers.
Varenna old town with the mountains in the background, Lake Como, Lombardy, Italy. (foto © Shutterstock.com)
It can be easily reached by boat from Varenna or Bellagio. Among flowerbeds, palm trees and wrought-iron balustrades with delicate curls that offer a view of the lake in a refined and peaceful setting, you can certainly catch a glimpse of the elegant lakeside that Menaggio offers. Inside, there are churches and villas, such as Villa Mylius Vigoni, surrounded by an English garden. If you like walking, in this charming town you can take the ancient Strada Regina up to La Crocetta, a panoramic point 500 metres above sea level, from where you can enjoy an enchanting view of Lake Como.
Menaggio, Lake Como, Lombardy, Italy. (Foto © Shutterstock.com)
It is the town that gives its name to the eastern arm of Lake Como and here everything reminds us of the famous Alessandro Manzoni and his novel I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed), which he wrote inspired by these places. There are many important monuments in Lecco, including the Basilica of San Nicolò with its bell tower, the symbol of the town called “Il Matitone”, the Palazzo delle Paure, Villa Manzoni, which was the writer’s paternal residence and which is now a museum about Manzoni, the Church of Saints Vitale and Valeria as the parish of Don Abbondio. Very curious is also the presumed house of Lucia Mondella, located in via Caldone at number 19, while in via Resegone, from the courtyard of an old trattoria, one can clearly see the hill of Don Rodrigo’s palace. Finally, the Azzone-Visconti Bridge, built during the Renaissance, served to link Lecco to the Duchy of Milan and is still the access to the city for those coming from Milan or Como.
Lago di Como. Evening aerial panorama at sunset over Lake Como of the town of Lecco, Lombardy, Italy. (foto © Shutterstock.com)
Brunate is easily reached by the Como funicular, a real attraction originally intended for the rich Milanese bourgeoisie who owned the prestigious villas in this village almost 800 metres above sea level. Over the years, the destination has become more and more international and today tourists from all over the world use this mode of transport. “The balcony of the Alps” is the name of Brunate, famous for its Art Nouveau villas, all of which can be admired along a footpath from which there is a spectacular view of the Western Alps. Brunate is also home to the Faro di Volta (Volta Lighthouse) named after Alessandro Volta.
Aerial view of the Voltiano lighthouse of Brunate and Lake Como, Lombardy, Italy. (Foto © Shutterstock.com)
The village of Laglio has only 905 inhabitants and the famous actor George Clooney bought a villa there. Laglio is located on the western shore of the lake and is directly on the route of the old Roman road Via Regina, which connected Como with Chiavenna. A must-see in Laglio: the church of San Giorgio and Villa Oleandra, built in the 18th century and now Clooney’s summer residence. The whole town is ideal for walks thanks to the lake and the surrounding hills with vineyards and olive groves that offer an impressive panorama. In addition, the Monte di Torriggia area is ideal for birdwatchers. Here you can admire falcons and migratory birds that migrate in flocks to Switzerland and northern Europe.
Villa Oleandra, Laglio at Lake Como in the Lombardy, Italy. (Foto © Shutterstock.com)