Lake Como is undeniably a breathtaking resort, popular with the literary and glitterati for decades. But it's more than just glitz and glamour; it is a place to relax and bask in the vistas and the warmth of the people who know how to welcome visitors.
Also known as Lake Lario, Como is the deepest lake in Europe (410 meters, or 1345 feet deep), as well as the third biggest lake in Italy. Thanks to its mild microclimate, it enjoys the lushness of abundant Mediterranean flora: cypress trees, laurel trees, camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons, magnolias, and palm trees. There are many gorgeous gardens to show off the profusion of blooms and plants that grow here, many attached to opulent villas and well worth visiting.
Inhabited since prehistoric time, this "piece of heaven" is an oasis of peace, where you can relax, enjoy hikes in the hills, water sports, and sample the excellent local cuisine while you're staring at the majestic mountains reflected onto the lake. There are beaches for a swim, shore-side promenades for strolling, and alluring lanes in pastel towns with cafes and pretty piazzas.
This wonderful landscapes and the surrounding valleys have inspired many artists and scientists, such as Alessandro Manzoni, Virgilio, Alessandro Volta, along with a host of foreign writers and artists, as well. Lately it has garnered lots of attention thanks to mega-star George Clooney, who has a villa on the lake (it was featured in his movie, Ocean's Twelve.)
The Romans were the first to realize the importance of the waterway of Lake Como that they navigated to transport legionaries and goods towards the alpine passes in the direction of central Europe. It was only in 1826, however, the year of launching the "Lario" steamboat, that the first regular navigation service was started up for the public. Today, ferry boats seating 200 and other large motor launches ply the waters on their frequent crossings, with stops at many of Lake Como's towns. Cruising on the lake is an unforgettable experience that lets you glimpse the sumptuous villas, some half-hidden behind trees or bays, other towering above like pearls in a necklace strung along the lake. There are the churches, abbeys, picturesque villages, castles and towers that appear as if by magic amidst the dark green of the oak forests sloping down in all their magnificence from the steep hills to the edge of the deep blue waters.
The Como area has a rich artistic heritage, with cultural events and museums to satisfy everyone. There are historic fortifications for history buffs, and plenty of sports for the active travellers. Lake Como is an ideal spot, with beauty and style. It is luxurious and low-key at the same time, and close to northern Italy's cities, like Milano and Torino.
There are few places as romantic as Lake Como, and even fewer lakeside towns as charming as Bellagio.
Campione d'Italia is an Italian “enclave” of just under one square kilometre, in Swiss territory, at the halfway mark between the border of Ponte Chiasso and Lugano.
Placed at the eastern branch of Lake Como, Lecco is a bustling provincial capital with a 19th-century dignified face.
Mezzegra, along with Bellagio and Varenna, contributes to the breathtaking beauty of one of the most renowned Italian landscapes - Lake Como.
On the slopes of Monte Bisbino, the small garden city of Cernobbio is encircled by fine stately villas scattered around the surrounding green hillside.
Laglio is a sleepy village on the western shore of Lake Como, a leafy place of pines and palms and climbing vines.
Picturesque and centrally located, Menaggio has always been a valued resort in a wonderful setting.
On the eastern shore of Lake Como, at the foot of Mount Muggio is this ancient hamlet surrounded by a dreamy landscape.
Moltrasio sits lazily on the west bank of Lake Como's western branch, upstream from the city of Como.
On the western shore of Lake Como, Pianello del Lario is actually a collection of hamlets on the hill that also lead to the lake.
The picturesque town of Santa Maria Rezzonico is clustered along the lake shore at the food of Mt Bregagno.
A fishing village on the extreme north of Lake Como, Sorico practically skirts the Swiss border.
Tremezzo is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Lake Como, situated on the western shore of Lario, just in front of Bellagio, with a stunning view of the central basin and the Grigne.
Carate Urio is on the western shore of Lake Come, about ten kilometers from the town of Como.
Griante is a pretty village on the western shore of Lake Como, about 30 kilometers from Como.
Mandello del Lario, lying on the eastern shore of Lake Como, in the southern branch known as Lago di Lecco.
A delightful inlet of the western shore of Lake Como holds Musso, at the foot of a rocky spur called "Sasso di Musso".
The name Oggiono is derived from Augionus (place full of water), fitting because the town sits between Lake Annone, and Lake Garlatte and Lake Pulsiano.
Tiny Rezzonico is a charming village of cobbled streets skirted with historic houses and topped by arches and arcades.
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