Splendid Villa del Balbianello, Lake Como, Italy
Lake Como, Italy is a gorgeous place surrounded by charming towns and luxurious lakeside villas with exquisite gardens —the favorite retreat of aristocrats and wealthy people since Roman times.
Famous people that stayed on the shores of Lago di Como include musician Vincenzo Bellini, fashion designer Gianni Versace, politicians like Winston Churchill and Konrad Adenauer, Richard Branson, Madonna and the American actor George Clooney, who owns Villa Oleandra in the small town of Laglio.
Located about 30 miles/40 km off Milan, in the Lombardy region, this magical lake of glacial origin that locals also call Lario, spreads a surface of 56 square miles or 146 square kilometers. It is the third in size of Italy’s three major lakes, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore, and one of the deepest in Europe.
If you are currently browsing vacation destinations and enjoy combining days packed with activities with relaxation time devoted to admire the superb views and the exquisite natural scenery, here are a few tips about the best things to do in Lake Como, Italy, and the endearing towns around the lake.
Visit the City of Como
The capital of the province of Como is a beautiful town on the south shore of Lake Como centered around the Como Cathedral and Piazza del Duomo.
The Duomo di Como is generally regarded as the last Gothic cathedral built in Italy. Construction works began in 1396 but the impressive west front wasn’t built until the second half of the 15th century.
The town has been a world-famous center for silk making for centuries, so interested visitors can visit the Educational Silk Museum –Museo Didattico Della Seta in Italian– to see the steps in the silk-making process.
Although nowadays most of the raw silk thread is imported from China and Brazil, Como still has many weavers and factories that transform the raw silk into ties, scarves, designer accessories among others. Some famous designer brands that rely on Como’s silk industry include Armani, Chanel, Yves St Laurent, Versace and Ungaro.
Lake Como is the ideal place to do some silk shopping and get truly special gifts to take home. InComo in the town of Como and Azalea in Bellagio are two good outlets to shop for quality Italian silk items.
Take a Tour of Charming Bellagio
This is another town you must see. The steep and narrow streets, the quaint buildings, the welcoming little cafes and eateries with their terraces in the street exude the Italian rural charm that make this region so idyllic.
Take a Cruise on Lake Como
The lakeside towns show their most beautiful face when you look at them from the lake. Embark on a cruise ship to see the superb villas where the rich and famous spend their time, take one of the regular ferry services to cross the lake or hop into a Venetian-style water-taxi – the itineraries are just as varied as the vessels you can choose from.
Take A Look At The Lake From High Up
There are several funicular railways and cable cars that take you up to green, scenic hiking trails above the lake.
A very popular ride is the funicular that connects the town of Como to the small village of Brunate, 700 m/3,000 ft above the sea. This funicular made its first journey in 1894 and it’s still the quickest way to go to Brunate. It is very safe an environmentally friendly despite its age and the panoramic views of the azure lake are memorable.
If you aren’t afraid of heights you can also take the cable car between Argegno and Pigra that takes you from 200 m/650 ft to 800 m/2,600 ft in 5 minutes and offers spectacular views of Lake Como, Italy.
Whether it is the small towns like Lecco, Varenna or Cernobbio, the medieval architecture, the lake’s natural beauty or the Italian countryside that you are interested in, Lake Como has it all.
Get a Taste of Exquisite Lake Como, Italy
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