Places to Visit

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The official digital map issued by the Chamber of Commerce is the best resource for identifying things to do in and around Lake Como.  The online map allows you to layer different items of interest including nature reserves, cycle paths, beaches and lidos, galleries and museums, places of interest, film sets, transport links, train stations etc..  Use the online map (click here) as a reference guide and then install the app (available for IoS and Google) to help you navigate and make contact when on the lake. Versions of the map are available from tourist offices and a PDF version can be downloaded – follow the link.

Como Companion cannot pretend to offer an extensive range of suggestions for ‘Things to Do’ or ‘Places to Visit’. The most complete reference guide for this is the official internet site for the Lake Como Tourist board – follow their link here. You will also find the websites listed on the right-hand panel of our home page very useful, e.g. Lake Como Tourism.  What follows here is just a very small and personal selection.

#Gardens and Houses

Castello di Vezio

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Il Giardino della Valle

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Villa Bernasconi

villa bernasconiVilla Bernasconi is the house built for industrialist Davide Bernasconi who owned what was the largest textile mill in Italy. He had this extravagant Liberty-style villa built for him alongside his factory. It has now been partly restored and houses a museum dedicated to the previous history of the Bernasconi factory and textile production in Cernobbio.

The exterior speaks for itself and the interior has some beautifully restored decorations.

villa bernasconi interiorThe Villa’s museum describes itself thus:

A new and original museum opens to the public in Cernobbio, on Como Lake: Museo Villa Bernasconi is a jewel of Liberty style, newly restored and accessible by visitors.

A new approach for a museum: the Villa self-narrates and leads the visitors through an itinerary of discovery, telling about its history and the stories of people who lived there

An experience made of influences and connections, leaded by the #vocidivilla: a innovative and interactive way through multimedia contents, historic objects and documents

It is open Monday to Friday from 14.00 to 18.00 and on Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 to 18.00. Entrance fee is €8. More information can be found on their website.

Villa del Balbianello

This villa and its gardens form one of the more iconic views of Lake Como made even more famous for starring as the backdrop to a speedboat chase in one of the James Bond films. The villa was bequeathed to FAI – the Italian equivalent of the UK’s National Trust – and so it and its gardens are open to the public. Additionally it is also open for evening concerts on certain summer evenings.  Access to the villa is best made by boat from nearby Lenno although you can also walk to it following the path along Lenno’s lakefront.

villa del balbianelloFAI describe the villa thus:

Villa del Balbianello is located on a wooded promontory, offering an enchanted view of Lake Como. This elegant, romantic 18th century mansion and its magnificent garden have hosted writers, scholars and travelers, including Count Guido Monzino, the last owner of the Villa.

Opening times and ticket prices are best checked on line at their website since it depends on the time of year. The website also includes details on how to get there.

Villa Carlotta

villa carlotta

Villa Carlotta, just outside of Tremezzo with its own landing post, is well worth a visit both for the gardens and the house.

Opening Times:

18th March – 03rd April and 17th October – 31st October: Opening time:10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (last ticket 5 p.m., museum closure 5.30 p.m.). 04th April – 16th October: Opening time:9 a.m. – 7.30 p.m. (last ticket 6 p.m., museum closure 6.30 p.m.)

 Adult € 9,00
Senior over 65 € 7,00 (with ID)
Student (valid document) € 5,00
Children under 6 free entrance
Family (2 parents + 2 children) € 20,00
Official website: http://www.villacarlotta.it/

Villa Melzi

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Villa Monastero

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Villa Olmo

villa olmoVilla Olmo is now owned and run by the Comune of Como. The exterior has recently been restored alongside some of the interior however there is still a way to go before all is done and the villa is opened up on a regular basis to the public. Even though opening times are irregular, the gardens are always open and on Sundays in summer and throughout the entire month of August, one can walk through the park taking the footbridge over to the Villa del Grumello. There is also a project to retore the extensive greenhouses as has already been done in the neighbouring gardens of the Villa del Grumello.

villa olmo interior

Interior of Villa Olmo

Towns and Villages

Bellagio

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Brienno

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Cantù

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Dongo

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Isola Comacina

Isola Comacina

Isola Comacina

 Isola Comacina lies just off the shore from Ossuccio and Sala Comacina on the west side of the lake. Apart from its natural beauty, it also retains evidence of its extraordinary history . Note also that it is the setting of the Sagra di San Giovanni – one of Lake Como’s better known summer festivals – where each year the sacking of the island by the citizens of Como in 1169 is re-enacted through a dramatic fireworks display. See June’s Calendar for dates. You can reach Isola Comacina from Como via the lake boat service or by road on the Via Regina by car or bus C10 to Sala Comacina where there is a privately run ferry.

Moltrasio

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Ossuccio

Sacred Mountain of Ossuccio
ossuccio campanile

Ossuccio’s bell tower

Ossuccio is well worth a visit for a number of reasons  – a glorious lido with a view over to Isola Comacino, the famous bell tower that has become a symbol of Lake Como, the Sagra di San Giovanni (see calendar for June) and the Sacro Monte (or Sacred Mountain) of Ossuccio. No entrance fees, no opening times – just take it in whenever you fancy a relaxed climb above the lake – or if you are visiting Ossuccio for the Sagra di San Giovanni.

Refer to this website for further information on the different Holy Mountains in Piedmont and Lombardy.

 

Pian di Spagna

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Rezzonico

Rezzonico 5Just a glance at the photo gallery will give you an idea of how beautiful this place is. You can stay over at the Locanda Lauro and try their version of pizzoccheri brought proudly on a trolley alongside your table for final mixing and distribution! It’s not a good town if you have mobility issues since, as the photo shows, you descend to the lakeside via a series of stepped cobbled pathways. There is no boat landing stage here but the road out from Como improves once past Ossuccio if you want to get there by private car or the C10 bus.

Varenna

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