Lake Como

Lake Como, also known as Lake Lario, is a long and narrow lake crafted into a wishbone shape by glacial erosion. It offers fine views up to the Lombard foothills of the Alps and down to the towns of Como and Lecco. Set in an idyllic landscape of mountains and rugged hillsides, Lake Como is surrounded by thick woods, sumptuous manors and small villages.

Surrounded by popular spa resorts and interesting tourist sights, Lake Como offers tourists high-quality accommodation facilities, absorbing events and interesting activities. Lake Como has for centuries attracted visitors who come here to go boating, cycling and trekking or for walks in the hills, and to enjoy breathtaking views over the Lake from cable railways and seaplane.

Como, Lecco and Colico are the three main centres overlooking Lake Como. Como, which is situated along the south-eastern stretch of the lake, is a lively town featuring outstanding buildings and monuments. Further east are the main tourist resorts, such as Cernobbio, which is scattered with plenty of sumptuous villas and elegant manors. The most representative one is Villa d’Este, which nestles among lush gardens with lovely views. The mountainous territory of Cernobbio offers guests the possibility to enjoy breathtaking views over the underlying landscape. The highest peak is Mount Bisbino, which gazes across the countryside from on high. A short distance from it are the small and welcoming villages of Laglio, Brienno and Argegno, the latter being a popular tourist resort situated in a privileged panoramic position.

The only island of the lake is situated just upon the intersection of the three stretches. Comancina Island, a small strip of land situated a short distance from the lakeshore, cherishes important Roman and medieval remains belonging to an ancient fortress. Not to be missed is the boat procession dedicated to St. Giovanni, which takes place on Sunday during the week of June 24. In front of the island is Ossuccio, which is dominated by the Baroque complex of the Sacro Monte. All buildings, which were erected over the remains of an ancient Roman temple, are surmounted by a beautiful bell tower. Once in Lenno, tourists will have the possibility to admire the wonderful Villa del Balbianello, which was built in 1787, and the well-kept garden which was repeatedly chosen as the location for several Italian and foreign films.

The eastern stretch of Lake Como hosts the thriving town of Torno and Pognana Lario, the latter revolving around tourism and the manufacture of iron items. Bellagio is a delightful resort on the cusp of the lake's two arms. Its privileged raised position offers sweeping views of the foothills of the Alps and the lake. Not to be missed are Villa Serbelloni, the most elegant manor house of the surrounding area, and Mount San Pirmo, which is equipped with state-of-the-art sports facilities and ski slopes. The lakeside promenade is punctuated with well-equipped sports centres which are specialized in water sports, as well as with plenty of landing stages for tourist boats and hydrofoils.

The western shore of the lake hosts Grignate and Tremezzo, enchanting resorts which are scattered with elegant villas built between the 18th and the 19th century. Not to be missed is Villa Carlotta, an elegant 18th-century summerhouse known for its gardens. In springtime, rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas burst into colour in this pretty setting. Inside, the villa houses a precious collection of sculptures. The nearby Menaggio, a small centre situated halfway between the lake and the surrounding mountains, attracts large numbers of visitors, who are interested in visiting its beautiful lake front and in going for pleasant excursions across the nearby mountains and surrounding resorts.

Once past Colico's arm, visitors will have the opportunity to reach the province of Lecco, which in turn hosts Dongo, Sorico and Gravedona, the former historical territory of the Three Parish Churches. Gravedona is an appreciated holiday destination featuring a beautiful old town, enchanting gulf, fascinating lake front and modern sports facilities and high-quality tourist services. A long cyle path and a charming footpath lead to Dongo.

Domaso and Colico are the northernmost resorts of Lake Como. Domaso is an ancient amphitheatre-shaped fishing village situated just in front of a charming inlet of the lake. Provided with state-of-the-art sports facilities, Domaso attracts the lovers of windsurfing and sailing looking for the local Breva, a fresh breeze which regularly blows around the lake. Colico is situated halfway between the lake and Mount Legnone, Lake Como's higheast peak (1609 m.). Both in summer and in winter, Colico makes the ideal base for making interesting excursions to the top of the mountain, to go trekking and to perform amazing winter sports. Heading south along the eastern stretch of Colico's arm, visitors will have the opportunity to reach Piona, which hosts an interesting medieval monastery, Dervio, the traditional departure point of charming excursions to the shelters of Bellano and Nogara, and Varenna, a thriving summer destination.

Lecco's arm is wilder and less populated, featuring sheer cliffs and quiet pebbly beaches which are shrouded in an almost eerie calm. The most famous resorts overlooking this arm are Lecco, whose picturesque old town is peppered with medieval monuments and buildings, Lierna, which is home to the popolar public beach of Riva Bianca, Mandello del Lario, a tiny village which hosts the workshops of Moto Guzzi and the Museum of the Motorcycle, and Abbadia Lariana. The western shore of the lake gathers Onno, Vassena and Limonta, the three major hamlets of the municipality of Oliveto Lario. Vassena and Onno are the ideal departure points for adventurous excursions to the so-called massif of Sasso di Onno.