It is no wonder that Italy’s deep blue Y-shaped Lake Como has attracted royalty, aristocrats, and celebrities for centuries. Lake Como is home to luxury villas, high end spas, and countless small farms that sell delicious fresh food. In the early 1800s, romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley said that Lake Como was one of the most beautiful places that he had ever visited. The Northern Italian region of Lombardy has long been celebrated for its beauty, sophistication, and timeless elegance. Lake Como is widely considered to be Lombardy’s sapphire crown jewel.
The gorgeous lakeside towns that surround Lake Como add a great deal of charm to the region. Bellagio is a wonderful starting point for a boat tour of Como’s vibrant blue waters. Bellagio features the stately grounds of the Villa Serbelloni Gardens—which is only accessible through a guided tour, and features rare and exotic plants. This breathtaking space offers a lovely bird’s-eye view of the village of Bellagio, and Lake Como.
The village of Varenna is a short ferry ride from Bellagio. Varenna is a quaint town with strong Roman roots. Varenna is home to the Villa Monastero—an ancient monastery with lush, well-tended gardens. The Villa Monastero features a museum with a collection of artwork and ornate furniture that dates back four centuries. If you have ever wondered what Italy was like in the days when the Romans reigned supreme, Varenna is the ideal place to relive Roman history.
If you’re a museum lover, no visit to Lake Como is complete without a stop at Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo. Villa Carlotta features several stunning marble statues, including a flawless replica of the iconic lovers _Eros and Psyche. _Villa Carlotta is home to numerous acclaimed paintings, including “The Last Adieu of Romeo and Juliet” by Francesco Hayez, Villa Carlotta is surrounded by colorful gardens and regal statues. You will feel as though you have been reincarnated as a revered Italian aristocrat as you stroll Villa’s Carlotta’s exquisite grounds.
Isola Comacina is Lake Como’s lone island. Isola Comacina features an ancient church, a single restaurant, and three distinctive buildings designed by rationalist architect Pietro Lingeri. In 1939, Lingeri dreamed of converting Isola Comacina into an artists’ colony. Isola Comacina never quite became the creative hub that Lingeri envisioned, but it is still a magical place to journey to by boat so that you may take an afternoon stroll to survey some of the ancient archeological ruins scattered throughout the island.
Lake Como is an excellent spot for hikers and cyclists. The hamlets surrounding the lake offer numerous hiking and bike trails that cater to all levels of ability, Most villages surrounding Lake Como offer bike rentals, and a few even offer bike tours. One pleasant hike is the trek to visit Castello di Vezio—an ancient castle located on a hilltop, not far from Varenna. Castello di Vezio features imposing battlements, and a real functioning drawbridge. Castello di Vezio is populated by chilling ghost sculptures who spook visitors and are rumored to keep watch over the grounds. Castello di Vezio also hosts a falconry program. Don’t be afraid if you see birds of prey circling above Castello di Vezio. Chances are a falconer is standing by to summon the circling birds back to their perch.
It is no wonder why George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Richard Branson, and George Lucas all have luxury villas on the shores of Lake Como. Lake Como’s serene blue waters offer inspiration, relaxation, and awe-inspiring beauty. Lake Como’s unparalleled loveliness offers unrivaled restorative powers. Many captivating chapters of Italy’s beguiling history have played out on Lake Como’s shores. If you’re curious about the history of ancient Rome, Medieval Italy, or the lives of aristocrats in the 1800s—the villages surrounding Lake Como offer many valuable insights into how previous generations of Italians have lived. Just like every other square inch of Italy, Lake Como offers delicious cuisine including fresh olives, freshly caught fish, and delectable artisanal cheeses. The striking natural beauty, invigorating fresh air, and opulent villas which have stood for centuries have made Lake Cuomo a celebrated tourist destination since the earliest days of tourist destinations. A dip in Lake Como’s shimmering blue waters will surely revive your spirit.