Festivals and Conferences


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 16th May to 25th May 2018 with four sessions all primarily in Italian. Details are available from this website: nowfestival.it 

Festival 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 this year (2019) runs from the 3rd  to 23rd May. Events are free but, apart from the open exhibitions, you will need to subscribe via the website www.festivaldellaluce.net  . Some bilingual events  are included in our calendar. Details of all other events are available from the festival’s website.

Lake Como Comic Art Festival

lake como comic art festivalThe second edition of this festival will be held on May 18th and 19th with an opening ceremony on 17th May 2019.

The festival in its own words is:

The Lake Como Comic Art Festival is a joint presentation by many of the same people who created Big Wow Comic Fest in California and the Paris Comic Expo. As with the prior events, LCCAF will focus on the best creators from around the world in the comic book industry. After looking at our initial guest list (with more names to come!), we hope you agree. What you will not see are media or cosplay guests or vendors selling trinkets only marginally related to the comic art world. They clearly have a place at some conventions but not at LCCAF.

Another trend which we view as unfortunate in many cases is the continued expansion of many other conventions seeking more and more attendees to the point that the shows are so crowded that no one can have access to panels and creators. We are avoiding this sea of humanity by strictly limiting the number of tickets we sell. We hope to harken back to the days when a fan could actually interact with his or her favorite creator!

With its very limited attendance, beautiful location and access to the very best comic artists, we hope that this festival will become the new optimal environment for both creator and fan alike!

More info available from its website and Facebook page.

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 27th to 31st May and the opening session is:

  • 27th May, 18.00 Villa del Grumello – Piano recital by Costanza Principe – Free entry until places are all taken

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.

In 2019 the second edition of this festival will run from 6th to 9th June at the Spazio Gloria on Via Varese, 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.


Lake Como Film Festival

Lake Como Film Lake Como Film Festival is evolving away from its previous focus on films where the landscapes play a significant role to the idea of building up a more general interest in film. They are now launching a three year plan to redefine the festival. This year they start off following the success last year of Lake Como Film Night – a night-long film extravaganza in the gardens of Villa Erba.

Films will be projected on  4 different sites in 2021 including Villa Erba, Villa Olmo and Villa del Grumello. The festival runs from July 1st to August 2nd. Details are listed on their website.


parolarioIn 2018, this cultural event is now into its 18th 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 14th and 23rd 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.


Como Lake Burlesque Festival

BurlesqueOrganised by Champagne Production, this somewhat eccentric festival is now in 2019 into its sixth edition. It promises to invoke a vintage atmosphere over the city during the four days from 12th to 15th 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 not yet in our calendar. Check out their website for further details.

Fiera di Sant’Abbondio 2018


The Fiera Sant’Abbondio is a yearly festival celebrating Como’s patron saint, Abbondio. The festivities in 2018 take place from August 30th to September 4th and are primarily located in the complex beside the Basilica di Sant’Abbondio or in the area close to Porta Torre.

One feature is local food available at lunchtime and dinner, a free concert in the Basilica, various activities for children, guided tours of the Basilicaand the launching of the Palio di Baradello which is a series of competitive events between the different quarters of the city. Information is available  from the official website    but the Italian version has the details.


Gastrolario logo

Gastrolario is a new initiative started in 2018 with the purpose of promoting local products and the cuisine of Como Province. The restaurants that participate are categorised by location and style. The locations reflect the geography of the province namely, lakeside, mountain or hills (this last captures the cuisine of Brianza). The styles are traditional, creative and inspired  reflecting levels of divergence from the originals. In 2018 the festival ran from the 1st to the end of October with restaurants either offering a complete local menu or specific dishes on their a la carte. The recipes get collected to form a repository of local cuisine. There is also a prize giving ceremony at the end of the festival based on feedback from diners.

L’Isola Che C’e

L'Isola Che C'eL’Isola Che C’e is a non-profit organisation committed to promotion of sustainability. The two day festival in September is a mix of exhibitors, discussions, seminars, workshops, live music and activities for children. Food and drink is also available. It takes place in the Communal Park in Villa Guardia, about 10 km out of Como on the road to Varese.


orticolarioHorticultural show running from Friday 5th October 2018 to Sunday 7th 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.

Palio del Baradello

palio del baradello 1The Palio del Baradello is a revocation of the arrival in 1159 in Como of the Holy Roman Emperor, Federico Barbarossa with whom Como allied against Milan and the other cities of the Lombardy League. It is a revocation of medieval food and costumes involving a series of competitions between the different quarters of the city and neighbouring communities.

It starts off on August 31st being Como’s patron saint day celebrated as part of the Fiera di Sant’Abbondio. This year it runs until September 22nd.

More details are available in Italian from the official website. Details of most of the events are NOW in our calendar.

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

sagra del borgoThis is a festival to celebrate the local grape harvest since Mendrisio is one of the main areas of wine production in Ticino. 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 28th to 30th Sept this year (2018). Entry is free all day Sunday and before 18.30 on Friday and Saturday. Th Sagra takes place in the historic centre of Mendrisio. Information  is available on the web site although there is only a version in Italian.

Sagra Gioventù 2018

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 ninth edition and runs from the 6th to the 9th 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. More information is available from their website in Italian.


logoStreetscape is now (2018) into its seventh year. It is an exhibition of street art with about ten installations around the old town. It normally runs in October with many of the sites in the courtyards of public buildings.

Vedere e Sentire – Festival a Due Voci

vedere sentire

This festival is now into its fifth year and consists of a mix of music, presentation, film and political discussion. This year, 2018, the first event is on the 3rd November, the philosophy sessions all held in the Ostello Bello run from the 6th to 14th November and then the main festival starts off on the 15th until the 18th. Check out the full programme on their web site


8208 Lighting Design Festival

8208 Lighting Design FestivalNow into its second edition in 2017, 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.

Citta dei Balocchi

cittadeibalocchiThis winter festival is now into its 25th 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 this year (2018) run from 24th November until 6th January (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.

Noir in Festival

logoThis festival of crime and detective fiction is now into its third year at its current shared location in Como and Milan. It transferred here from Courmayeur in 2016. This year the Milan-based activities run from 3rd to 5th December and the  Como activities, all staged in either the auditorium or the Sala Bianca of the Teatro Sociale, run from 6th 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 the Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo. Details of all events are available on the Festival’s website.  The main events are also NOW listed in our calendar. Please note that all events are free.