Varenna is a small village lying on a promontory along the eastern bank of Lake Como.
The town has Roman origins and is popular to have been the fabled setting for Alessandro Manzoni’s famous novel I Promessi Sposi... an authentic jewel with its cavernous and winding alleyways.
There are numerous beautiful and exhausting hikes around Varenna: the views are simply stunning!
The true story of Varenna started from the year 1000, when it was defeated and plundered by Como's inhabitants. Varenna became very rich when the Comacine island was destroyed and the survivors took shelter there, where the locals welcomed them so heartily, that the islanders contributed to raise the local population.
In order to not forget their glorious island, the islanders named Varenna "Insula Nova" – New Island.
Varenna went to war with Como from 1224 to 1228, and was razed to the ground. The town was later forced to submit itself, firstly to the Visconti family until 1402, then to the tyrant Franchino Rusca, until finally coming under the power of Giuseppe Valeriano Sfondrati, in 1537. In this century Varenna has reached international recognition as tourist centre and seat of congresses.
Every Saturday and Sunday in which falls the 24th of June, Saint John's day, Varenna celebrates the Comacini's exodus and the warm welcome reserved to them by the locals. The lake is enlightened by thousands of “lumaghitt” - floating night-lights - in order to remember the derelict souls that sailed from a bank to the other, leaving their houses in flame.
Been there? Done that? Share your experience and tips!
Haven't visited yet? Have questions about Varenna? Ask them here!
Explore nearby towns
Perledo is a delightful village that sits prettily on the hill at the edge of Lake Como.