Lake Como is a relatively short distance from Milan, and it offers opportunities for visits suitable for all tastes. Possibilities include a Sunday in the mountains with the family, a romantic walk on the lakeside, a visit to sacred or literary locations, a ferry tour to the villas on the lakeside, and visits to the evocative, ancient villages.
The basin known as the Lario divides into two branches, Como and Lecco, as described by author Alessandro Manzoni in his book “I Promessi Sposi” (The Betrothed). The city of Como itself has a fine heritage of art and monuments, such as the Cathedral, the 13th-century Broletto (originally a vegetable market); Casa del Fascio by Terragni, now headquarters of the Guardia di Finanza (the body of police responsible for border patrol and fraud investigation) and strong hold for Italian Rationalist architecture; Comacina Island and the Mediaeval churches San Fedele and Sant’Abbondio.
Lecco is famous above all for its connections with Manzoni. Visitors can directly experience the situations and locations that the writer described in the above-mentioned book. As well as culture, Lecco offers many remarkable mountain landscapes, with the peaks of the Resegone, a ridge with a spectacular conformation, and the dramatic Grigna group of peaks, lofty terraces from which to appreciate the incredible views over the lake.
The enchanting village of Bellagio, known the world over as the “pearl of Lake Como”, is at the tip of the promontory where the two branches of the lake meet. It is famous for its gardens and sumptuous villas. The shores of the branches of this basin are punctuated by many period villas, some of which are famous for the important historical events that took place there. They are also important expressions of architectural brilliance, and they have inspired generations of writers, painters and musicians. They include, to mention just a few, Villa Balbianello in Lenno, Villa Monastero at Varenna, Villa Carlotta at Tremezzo, and Villa d’Este and Villa Erba in Cernobbio.