Romantic and lively, the first thing to hit you as you approach Lake
Como is the peace, tranquility and stunning views. It's only
half an hour from Milan, but has a completely different way of life.
The Piazza Cavour, on the bank of the
lake is easily the best place to appreciate the snow capped mountains.
The Piazza is also home to the fabulous 14th century cathedral with
its Gothic and Renaissance additions. An earlier cathedral, San
Fedele should be seen, as should the 900 year old gateway, Porta
Vittoria. If art galleries are your thing, the Pinacoteca is the
one to go to.
Como is the best place from which to explore the
lake. Water taxis, ferries and hydrofoils take you on spectacular
tours and stop in each of the following villages.
Take the ferry to Menaggio where this is only
a short walk to the beautiful promenade running the length of the
village. It has a wonderfully 'dolce vita' feel to it.
Bellagio is well known for being ‘The Pearl
of the Lake'; this beautiful hilly town is full of cobbled
streets with cafes and shops spilling over onto them. It's
also home to important Renaissance villas and grand hotels, one
being the Villa Este with rooms similar to museums, and whose garden
has a floating swimming pool!
Varenna is smaller than Bellagio. Tiny steep
roads wind up to the Castle of Vezio, best known for being the place
that Theolinda, Queen of the Lombards, was killed in the 7th Century.
It's also full of lovely villas, which you pass going down
to the 10th century Romanesque church. En route you can stroll around
the Villa Cipressi gardens.