Picturesque and centrally located, Menaggio has always been a valued resort in a wonderful setting. Its elegant lakefront promenade, charming old town, and location make it ideal.
The heart of the town is the historic centre, with its medieval stair-stepped streets, sitting up above. Around the lake are bars, restaurants and boutiques. Public offices, textile factories and a modern hospital make Menaggio a small metropolis, with traces of its medieval past in the remains of the castle and the carvings adorning the old houses.
There are many regal villas, most are located in the picturesque Loveno district. Noteworthy is Villa Govone, the home of Massimo D'Azeglio. The best-known is Villa Mylius Vigoni with its large English garden. It is a cultural and convention locale, but is open for tours on Thursday afternoons (reserve in advance).
Facing each other in the historic centre are the churches of Santo Stefano and Santa Marta. The parish church of S. Stefano has ancient origins but the current version dates from the seventeenth century. It contains a copy of a Madonna by Luini which was given to the Austrian governor Firmian in exchange for the transfer of the Magistrates' court from Tremezzo to Menaggio; the original is now in the Louvre. The church of Santa Marta, also known as the Crocifisso, is of medieval origins but was rebuilt later, and the facade holds the Roman headstone of Lucio Minicio Exorato (rediscovered at nearby Santa Maria Rezzonico), to whom the origin of the town's name is attributed.
Overlooking Menaggio from the hilltop is the church of San Carlo, built in a Spanish style with a characteristic double gabled bell-tower by the Calvi family in an outburst of Counter-Reformation zeal. Up there you'll also find the little church of San Giusto (also known as chiesa dell'Assunta) from the 15th century.
There are many pretty churches scattered through the hamlets around the hills, called frazioni. Get out and explore, and find these hidden gems. Most notable is the Santuario della Madonna della Pace, situated along the Antica Via Regina, built to commemorate the Peace of the Pyrenees between France and Spain in 1658, housing a Marian bas-relief which is said to have shed real tears. It is worth taking a walk through each of these districts, both for themselves and for the splendid views; they are all well-served by public transport, with restaurants and cafes.
Menaggio has a range of activities, from boating to golf to hiking. Take a boat ride, or sit on one of the beaches (also equipped with swimming pools). A great aspect to Menaggio is its location: an easy ferry ride takes you to Bellagio or Varenna.
Explore nearby towns
Griante is a pretty village on the western shore of Lake Como, about 30 kilometers from Como.
Cadenabbia is the lakeside hamlet that is part of the town of Griante facing lake Como.
Varenna is a small village lying on a promontory along the eastern bank of Lake Como.
Been there? Done that? Share your experience and tips!
Haven't visited yet? Have questions about Menaggio? Ask them here!