Lake Como is situated in Lombardy, in the north of Italy. It has the shape of an inverted Y and comprises many villages and villas which are definitely worth a visit. It is the perfect choice for a holiday whether you are looking to relax or adventure, as it has so much to offer it is often bewildering to decide what to do next.
Here are a few suggestions for the undecided.
Villa on the lake
There are several villas on the lake, with flourishing gardens in spring. Villa del Balbianello lies spectacularly on the lake side, just 18 km north of the conference venue. A number of feature films have used the villa for location shooting, including Casino Royale and Star Wars. A few km north, XVII century Villa Carlotta welcomes you with its magnificent botanic garden and art masterpieces in over 70.000 square meters of gardens and museum. In a natural basin between lake and mountains, it faces the dolomite Grignas and the peninsula of Bellagio. Just opposite to Villa Carlotta (a few minutes ferry ride) lies Villa Melzi, whose gardens stretch out along the lake shore and are harmoniously inserted into the hilly scenery of the Bellagio peninsula that divides the two branches of the lake. Among other famous villas is the eighteenth-century Villa Oleandra in Laglio, just 3 km north of the conference venue.
Duomo of Como
This beautiful cathedral is something every tourist in the area should visit, and it is one of the best cathedrals you can see in Lombardy. It lies in the hearth of the city, 150 m from the lakeside, surrounded by magnificent building enclosing Piazza Duomo. Admissions are free-of-charge and the outside of the building creates expectations which the inside will meet. If a visit is not enough, tourists are more than welcome to sit at the tables of the restaurants and bars in the square in front of the Duomo, in order to enjoy the delightful view and etch it into memory. The Duomo can be the starting point for a visit of old Como, with narrow streets, churches like the magnificent Basilica di Sant’Abbondio, and plenty of historical buildings.
Taxi Tours on the Lake
There are several companies running services of taxi tours on the lake. On a sunny day, this is one of the best ways to enjoy the lake atmosphere. Tours have different durations and can lead you to different destinations on the lake. Lake Como Water Taxi, Taxi Boat Bellagio, and Taxi Boat Varenna are just examples of suggested contacts. The best service depends on where you are on the lake: just ask your hotel staff, or local people, for suggestions. The boatmen are in general well prepared on the Lake secrets and history, and will also give suggestions as to where to have lunch or dinner on the lake and other must do attractions.
Museum Moto Guzzi
Lake Como is one of the most beautiful areas for riders, and Italy has in general a very strong tradition and passion in cars and motorcycles. If you cannot enjoy a motorcycle ride around the lake hills, you can at least visit the museum of this historical motorcycle company (1921) having its roots on the lake side. The museum is certainly appealing to those who have a passion for motorcycles and engines in general. It will take guests through various periods of history and illustrate the development of engines and motorcycles by displaying vehicles from different epochs. Admission is free-of-charge and its location makes it an easy stop-off while touring through the various villages on the lake. Not to be missed if you want to find out more about Italian motorcycles.
Milano: Art, Shopping & Nightlife
Milano, the engine city of northern Italy, has seen tremendous improvements and modernization in the last 10 years. It is home of the famous Gothic Duomo Cathedral with thousands of pinnacles, the purely Romanic Sant’Ambrogio Basilica, the Medieval Sforza Castle (where Leonardo Da Vinci spent part of his life), the Last Supper (Leonardo’s masterpiece), the Neoclassical Teatro alla Scala, and hundreds of churches, fountains, monuments and museums. Milano is also home to the tallest buildings in Italy, from the top of which you can enjoy beautiful views. Of course, Milano is known as the fashion world capital, and you can spend time for shopping (Montenapoleone district), eating and drinking (Navigli and Brera districts) in uncountable places. Milano is connected with direct 40-minute trains from Como station.
Bellagio & Other Villages
Bellagio is a lovely town with a great deal of charm and character on the shores of Lake Como in Lombardy, and often referred to as the 'pearl of the lake'. Start your visit in the harbour, and a walk along the promenade admiring the views, the grand villas and the gardens. From here you continue into the streets of the traditional village, a lovely network of ancient streets and alleys and picturesque houses. A steep forested hill rises immediately behind Bellagio from where you can get very extensive views along the lake. A lot of other villages lie on the lakeside (Cernobbio, Menaggio, Torno, Varenna, Bellano)… As an alternative, you may want to explore the lake hills: Brunate, connected by a funicular railway from Como, gives several opportunities for wonderful eating, short walks in the forests and beautiful lake views from the top.