Things to see in Como - What to see in Como







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Things to see  - What to see in Como                (Back to Como main information page)  

Como is really a must for any architecture enthusiast. The most famous landmark is the Duomo at the Piazza Cavour with its gothic facade and renaissance dome. It is connected to the ancient town hall of the city, the "Broletto". Started at the end of the XVI century it was completed in the XVIII, when the Baroque genius Juvarra added the cupola. The church is reckoned to be Italy's best example of Gothic-Renaissance fusion, Gothic in the fairy-tale pinnacles, rose windows and buffoonish gargoyles, Renaissance in its portals (with rounded rather than ogival arches) and in the presence of the two pagans flanking the main west door, the Elder and Younger Plinys, both of whom were born in Como.

Inside, the Gothic aisles are rich Renaissance tapestries, a Leonardesque Madonna, an ?Adoration of the Magi? by Luini, and a ?Flight to Egypt? by Gaudenzio Ferrari.

In the walled Old Town, there are many 400-year-old buildings, and two more magnificent basilicas to be admired, like the Church of San Fedele, a Romanesque church erected in the 12th century and at the top of via Cant? nearby the old walls most impressive standing tower, the Porta Vittoria, the Romanesque Church of Sant'Abbondio with its beautiful paintings dating to the XI century. Once inside, the visitor wander down the serene aisles to the apse with its colourful XIV-century frescoes, the most appealing of which depicts the Magi dreaming of Christ under striped and patterned blankets.

The ?Casa del Fascio?, possibly Giuseppe Terragni's most famous work, described as an early "landmark of modern European architecture and the ?Monumento ai caduti? again by the Terragni, the Teatro Sociale by Giuseppe Cusi, the expositions of Villa Olmo, the small medieval castle Castello Baradello (climbing its tower there is wonderful view of Lake Como) and Museums like the Museo archeologico "P. Giovio"  and Museo Storico, the Tempio Voltiano, a museum devoted to Alessandro Volta (inventor of a battery, the first reliable source of electricity) built as a classic temple with marble columns and mosaic floors and of course the Museo della Seta.


Beside this wonderful collection of monuments, Lake Como remains the main attraction in the region.

Of glacial origin, it has an area of 146 km?, making it the third largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. At 410 m deep it is one of the deepest lakes in Europe and the bottom of the lake is more than 200 m below sea-level.

The towns of Como and Lecco sit at the ends of the southwestern and southeastern branches respectively, while the small towns of Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna are situated at the intersection of the three branches of the lake: a triangular boat service operates between them

Lake Como is indeed a stunning oasis, an enchanting combination of lush Mediterranean foliage and snowy alpine peaks. One of the best places to enjoy panoramic views is in Piazza Cavour, on the banks of the lake, in the town.

It has been popular as a resort since the days of the Roman Empire. Visitors ever since have admired the blue waters and relaxed in luxurious villas in the wooded lakeside slopes above. Today, most of the towns around the shores of Lake Como are popular with tourists, walkers, cyclists and swimmers.


Around Como?s region:

A short drive from Como is Menaggio, situated halfway up Lake Como, on the western shore with plenty of hiking possibilities in the surrounding area.

The lovely town of Cernobbio, hosts delightful picturesque houses and narrow alleys plus one of the grandest hotels in Europe, the Villa D?Este.

To the north is Lake Como?s only island, Isola Comacina, where every June there is a costumed procession from the ruins of San Eufemia.

At Tremezzo, another lakeside town, there is a lakeside promenade, as well as many wonderful old villas. Varenna is considered the most beautiful town on the lake with its charming homes, flowering balconies and lace-curtained windows. Walking near Varenna, in under an hour, there is a ruined mediaeval castle perched right above the settlement contouring through woods and an olive grove, to the shortest river in Italy, Fiumelatte,. From there you can also walk on, Bellaggio, on the southern shore of the lake, is known also as ?la perla del lago? (the pearl of the lake).

Several buses a day run from Menaggio to Lugano and from Menaggio up to the modern hill village of Breglia. From Breglia a well-signposted and popular route climbs up to Rifugio Menaggio in under two hours, for fine views of the lake.

Not to miss a vertical walk of about two hours to Sasso San Martino, a high and woody shoulder overlooking the lake. From there you can either hike down a little alpine track to the lakeshore up to the domed summit of Monte di Tremezzo (1700 metres).

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