Lake Como is situated in Italy’s Lombardy region, which is famous for its stunning vistas of untouched natural paradise. Green mountains soar into the sky, capped by snow and reflected in the cerulean water. The flawless blue sky watches over the natural scenes and quaint architecture. Situated in northern Italy, near the city of Milan, Lake Como is the third largest lake in the country. Its elongated shape stretches over 31 miles and forks at the southern end. Between the two forks lies the town of Bellagio.
The Lake Como area has been popular for millennia, with wealthy families and aristocrats from Roman society making it a regular tourist destination long before today. Their patronage has left behind many beautiful and intricate examples of architecture and design in the form of palaces and villas. Even today, properties around Lake Como are associated with celebrities like Sylvester Stallone and Richard Branson. The lake’s winding shore is not just picturesque but a great journey of discovery into the region’s character and history. The towns of Como on the eastern branch of the lake; Bellagio that sits between the branching southern end; and Menaggio, which sits on the western shore are all worth a visit as each adds its own unique flavor to the region. They are all historic settlements that give you a glimpse into Italy’s past.
As with so many places in this country, the architecture and art are exquisite, particularly the work that has gone into churches, their paintings and tapestries. Como’s cathedral was constructed over centuries and is probably the most beautiful building here, both inside and out. It exhibits touches of Gothic, Renaissance and baroque influences and the octagonal dome is a wonder. San Fedele, the town’s former cathedral that was built around the tenth century is another site worth a visit. Como has its own art gallery, the Pinacoteca. Bellagio, sitting in the nook of the inverted ‘Y’ of Lake Como, occupies what is arguably the most scenic spot in the region. Its waterfront promenades are popular with both locals and tourists. There are two gardens open to the public that should be on your itinerary, Villa Serbelloni and Villa Melzi.
Lake Como is an all-year draw, largely because it receives 200 days of sunshine. The lake is deep and the large water mass acts as a thermal reserve to keep temperatures up even in the winter months. The June to August period has the best weather and, consequently, the biggest crowds. The periods immediately before and after offer an ideal combination of pleasant weather and less congestion.