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 Lake Como

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Lake Como

The Colico branch of Lake Como is at the northern end of the lake.

Lake Como    (Lago Como)  is considered by many travelers to be the most beautiful of the Italian Lakes.  The lake has the shape of an inverted Y and each of its three arms has a specific name.  The northern branch shown in the photograph above (near Corenno Plinio) is called Colico for the town on the lake's northeastern edge.  The southwestern branch is named Como, for this is where the town of Como meets its namesake lake.  The southeastern branch is called Lecco, after the largest town on this branch of Lake Como.

Visits to Lake Como are primarily for relaxation .  Most travelers spend their time boating from one town the next, only returning to their home base at the end of the day.  This is an area famous  for its stunning scenery.  During a visit you can expect to encounter extravagant views of the Lake Como and the surrounding mountains, scenic lakeside towns, fine restaurants, great shopping, and, unfortunately,  expensive hotels.

 

 

Many visits to the Lake start in the town of Como, as it is something of a transportation hub. The town was originally inhabited by a Celtic tribe and the Romans subsequently chose this location as an outpost.  More urban and less scenic than the other well-known lake towns,  Como is a genial place.  Even if you are just passing through, try to make time to see its elegant Duomo.  The town of Como offers a wide variety of lodging and has boat service to the other settlements along the Lake's shores. 

The city of Como on Lake Como has a beautiuful Duomo

 

Although there are any number of attractive villages along Lake Como's shores, Bellagio and Cernobbio are generally regarded as the most beautiful and intriguing of Lake Como's towns.

Bellagio is the "pearl" of Lake Como

 

Bellagio, shown above,  is a fascinating place that sits at the apex of the two southern arms of the lake.  Its highest points offer beautiful views of the lake and the snow-capped alps.  There are a number of interesting sites in Bellagio and you may find some information of interest at the town's official website. 

Save time for a visit to the Basilica of San Giancomo (in the Borgo), which dates from the 12th century.  In addition, the Villa Serbelloni and the Villa Melzi D'Eril offer fine gardens. Both are available only as part of formal tours, so make arrangements in advance if you hope to see these beauties.  Finally, Via Garibaldi, the city's main street, offers fine shopping.  Bring your walking shoes, as everything is up the hill - but you will be able to coast back down to the boat.  Of course, the town has several fine hotels if you want to spoil yourself.

Star Wars fans may remember Lake Como as the backdrop for the wedding in the second movie of the series. (If interested enter Lake Como and Star Wars in your favorite search engine for more information.)

 

 

Cernobbio is another of the popular villages along Lake Como

If you are in mood for a fine but expensive indulgence, consider making a reservation at the sumptuous Villa d'Este in Cernobbio (above).  Unfortunately, the only way to explore the stately grounds and beautiful interior is to reserve a room at the Villa.  The present day hotel was originally a grand villa for Tolomeo Gallio, the cardinal of Como in the 16th century.  Since then it has been owned by a who's-who list of royalty, but was converted to a hotel in the late 19th century.  The hotel is closed in the heart of winter.  In spring and summer its gardens are especially attractive.

The town of Cernobbio is delightful, offering several fantastic restaurants and fine shopping.  You may also want to take the time to see Villa Erba and Villa Pizzo for their gardens.  Cernobbio is about two hours from Bellagio by steamer.

 

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