Festivals and Conferences

Citta dei Balocchi

cittadeibalocchiThis winter festival is now into its 24th year. It consists of a wide range of activities and events over the Christmas period organised for children and families. It is also intended to attract local and international tourists to visit Como and hopefully spend some of their Christmas budget here.  The events run from 25th November until 7th January (the day after Epiphany). The most obvious aspect is the Christmas lighting in the main piazzas of the town. They also organise the Christmas market around the ice rink in Piazza Cavour. Cultural events include the annual exhibition of cribs in San Giacomo church, a number of different Christmas concerts and exhibitions like the Christmas in Africa at the Broletto.  Major events include the massive firework display on the lake on New Year’s Eve and the dramatic arrival of the Befana flying down into Piazza Duomo on the 6th January.

Citta dei Balocchi is organised by the Consorzio Como Turistica which is a partnership between council and state entities with local businesses.

NOW Festival

A festival onow festival logof meetings and workshops for businesses, professionals, administrators, academics, students and the general public where themes linked to a sustainable future are explored alongside experts of national (Italian) and international renown.

The main dates are from 10th May to 26th May 2017 but with a pre-event on 18th April which was a fascinating presentation by the British economist Kate Raworth presenting the outline of her recent book, ‘Doughnut Economics’ – subtitled 7 ways to think like a 21st century economist.

The other sessions in the programme are all primarily in Italian. Details are available from this website: nowfestival.it

PosterFestival della Luce

Science as it confronts art and technology. A series of meetings, events, music, and workshops organised by the Fondazione Alessandro Volta.

The festival runs from 28th April until 14th May. Events are free but, apart from the open exhibitions, you will need to subscribe via the website www.festivaldellaluce.it.  Some events, such as the exhibition in the Broletto and the concert that forms part of the Lake Como Music Festiva, are included in our calendar. Details of all other events are available from the festival’s website.

Fond Volta Incontra Fondazione Alessandro Volta Incontra

Rather than an actual festival, this is a series of meetings on themes where science, art, literature and music may converge that are open to the general public at no cost. They give an insight into the work of the Fondazione Volta and its associated organisation – the Lake Como School of Advanced Studies.

The Spring meetings run from 25th April until 30th May and are as follows:

  • 25th April, 18.00 Villa del Grumello – Concert of 16th century musi. Subscribe for free via www.concerto25aprile.eventbrite.it
  • 27th April, 21.00 Sala degli Stemmi, Palazzo Cernezzi, Via Vittorio Emanuele, Como – Lecture by philosopher Nuccio Ordine entitled, Eulogy to the Useless. Subscribe for free via www.conferenza27aprile.eventbrite.it
  • 23rd May 21.00 Sala degli Stemmi, Palazzo Cernezzi, Via Vittorio Emanuele, Como – lecture by Ugo Moschella, Iniversity of Insubria – A Brief History of Cosmological Thought. Subscribe for free via www.conferenza23maggio.eventbrite.it
  • 25th May 21.00 Sala degli Stemmi, Palazzo Cernezzi, Via Vittorio Emanuele, Como – Lecture by Dominique Lambert, University of Namur on Georges Lemaitre, the priest who invented the Big Bang. Subscribe for free via www.conferenza25maggio.eventbrite.it
  • 30th May 21,00, Sala degli Stemmi, Palazzo Cernezzi, Via Vittorio Emanuele, Como – lecture by Sabino Matarreses from Padova University entitled What’s in the Sky. Subscribe for free via www.conferenza30maggio.eventbrite.it

Lake Como Film Festival

Lake Como Film Lake Como Film Festival is now into its 5th year – with the intention of linking national and international cinema with the glories of the lakeside landscapes.

It runs in 2017 from 24th June to 16th July and is organised in two main parts as follows:

Part 1. 24th June to 3rd July

a) Longscapes – International landscape film competition held at the Università di Sant’Abbondio. Consists of 12 films, conferences and meeting with authors.

b) Cinema in Piazza – 5 films projected in Piazza Grimoldi on 25th, 26th June, 1st and 2nd July and 8 and 9th July. All at 21.30

c) Film and urban structures – 6th July double projection either side of the Monumento ai Caduti at 21.30

Part 2 – 9th to 16th July

a) Landscape in the Visual Arts – 10 films, conferences and meetings with authors in various locations along the Como lakefront.

b) Short film competition from 10th to 16th July involving 7 communes based along Lake Como, namely; Albese con Cassano, Cernobbio, Gravedona, Nesso, Carate Urio, Lezzeno and Zelbio

c) Weekend visits to Lenno and Villa Balbianello, Monte generoso for video trekking and Nesso for a guided tour.


orticolarioHorticultural show running from Friday 29th September 2017 to Sunday 1st October. This show is held in the grounds of Villa Erba, Cernobbio. transport from Como includes specially commissioned boats that land at the Villa Erba dock.

Information available in English from the website.


parolarioThis cultural event is now into its 17th edition having been set up in 2001. It is a celebration of books, literature, and culture in it broadest sense. It consists of meetings with writers, philosophers, poets, debates, exhibitions, music, walks, shows and cinema. It is held between 15th and 24th June with most events being held at Villa Olmo in Como but also in Villa del Grumello, Villa Sucota, Villa Bernasconi in Cernobbio and the public library in Brunate.

Refer to the website for info on all the events.

Sagra Gioventù 2017

sagra GioventuThis is a potentially great resource for parents of young children and adolescents in that it brings together local sporting, cultural and charitable organisations so they can present the courses and projects available to young people over the coming academic year. In addition, they hold events, live music and food. It is all organised by the Oratorio S. Giorgio in Como. The event this year is into its eighth edition and runs from the 7th to the 10th September from 19.00 during the two weekdays and all day on the Saturday and Sunday. All booths and events are in Piazzale Somaini by the Tempio Voltiano. Details for the event are NOW in our calendar.

Como Lake Burlesque Festival

BurlesqueOrganised by Champagne Production, this somewhat eccentric festival is now into its fourth edition. It promises to invoke a vintage atmosphere over the city during the four days from 14th to 17th September with a spirit of ‘irony, glamour and seduction’.  In addition to a ‘Great Opening Party’ there is a ‘Queenette of the Lake’ competition and a swing/electroswing party. There are also numerous other events and workshops over the 4 days in a variety of venues  with some of the major international names in burlesque participating. Information of these events is NOW in our calendar. Check out their website for further details.

Sagra del Borgo (ex-Sagra dell’ Uva) Mendrisio

sagra del borgoThis is a festival in origin to celebrate the local grape harvest since Mendrisio is one of the main areas of wine production in Ticino producing Merlot. The Sagra is a mix of food, wine and music with different associations laying on food in the ‘curts’ or courts of the old town. It runs from 22nd to 24th Sept this year (2017). You pay 8 CHF to get into the old town but this fee also includes a ticket on public transport to Mendrisio. Information and tickets are available on the web site although there is only a version in Italian.

8208 Lighting Design Festival

8208 Lighting Design FestivalNow into only its second edition, this festival, held in November between 4th and 24th in 2017, aims to bring together technology and art in a series of events including lighting installations around the town, talks, workshops,  art gallery exhibitions. it is promoted by the Fondazione Alessandro Volta and the Comune di Como.

The ‘8208’ of the title refers to the name of an android dedicated to Alessandro Volta.

More information about the festival is available from their website which is not however available in English.

Noir in Festival

logoThis festival of crime and detective fiction is now into its second year at its current shared location in Como and Milan. It transferred here from Courmayeur last year. This year the Milan-based activities run from 4th to 6th December and the  Como activities, all staged in either the auditorium or the Sala Bianca of the Teatro Sociale, run from 7th to 9th December.  The events are either film screenings or meetings with authors. The author meetings are usually in Italian but the films shown in Como are usually international with projection in original language with Italian subtitles. The Festival also includes competitions for a variety of prizes with the most renowned being the Raymond Chandler Award, given this year to Margaret Atwood. Details of all events are available on the Festival’s website. Please note that all events are free.

Fuori Mercato – Como’s Independent Film Festival

Fuori mercato

Fuori Mercato – Como Independent Film Festival is here to support emerging and independent filmmakers. Our goal is to give them a chance to showcase their films, far from usual blockbusters and made up with independent spirit.

From March 22nd to 25th, four wonderful days full of feature films and short films projected inside our beautiful historical theatre in Como.

Fuori Mercato is a free and independent festival dedicated to free and independent cinematography.