Lake Como is one of the most beautiful areas in Lombardy. This pre-alpine lake surrounded by a crown of mountains with peaks up to 2700 m high, is not only spectacular but rich in history and tradition. The lake is perfect for active as well as relaxing holidays. Splendid 17th century villas with their lovely gardens, antique Romanesque churches, old connection trails, mountain tops with a superb view of the lake, and lots of sport facilities await you.
Lake Como is situated 45 km north of Milan, close to the Swiss border. It is 46 km long and has the form of an upside down Y dividing itself into two branches at the town Bellagio with the town Como at the tip of the southwestern branch and the town Lecco at the tip of the southeastern branch. Its crystal clear waters are up to 400 deep, making it one of the deepest lakes in Europe.
The Lake Como landscape has luxuriant vegetation and a wide range of plants, shrubs and flowers that normally grow in regions that are much further south and even sub-tropic.
This rich, varied flora is a result of the favourable weather conditions on Lake Como, which are in turn a direct consequence of the numerous expanses of water, particularly in the Como area.
Like all pre-Alpine lakes, Lake Como has breezes that blow from north to south in the early morning (the Tivano) and from South to North from the afternoon to late evening (the Breva). These help mitigate the Summer climate and promote a constant change in the air, which keeps the atmosphere clear and free from fog and mist.
Thanks to all these elements, Lake Como has a stable, mild climate that has been appreciated since ancient times. This is demonstrated by the numerous stately villas and great hotels on its banks amidst the shady basins and elegant gardens.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Bellagio, “the Pearl of Lake Como” is located at the edge of a promontory that divides Lake Como into two branches. This enchanting position, its superb villas and little houses clustered together, its luxuriant vegetation and mild climate made it a favourite destination of illustrious figures like Pliny the Younger, Stendhal, Manzoni, Parini, Toscanini and Liszt. During the 19th century, Bellagio became one of the most famous international holiday destinations. The town is divided into twenty-two hamlets that offer visitors a range of different scenery. The most famous is the hamlet of Borgo, centred around its jetty for mooring boats, with its stairways, little squares, shops and workshops where artisans display their wares to passersby.
VILLAS AND GARDENS
The shores of the lake are still today characterized by series of small villages with bell towers in natural stone and beautiful villas surrounded by magnificent gardens with steps adorned with statues leading down to the lake.
Between the XVI and XVIII century many nobles of the close by Milan had their summer residences built on the lake. The villas of various ages are surrounded by gardens in different styles many with exotic plants and trees.
The best way of visiting the villas and their gardens is by boat. The view from the water gives you the opportunity to see their setting in the landscape.
Max. length 46 km
Max. width 4.5 km
Surface area 146 km²
Average depth 154 m
Max. depth 425 m
Water volume 22.5 km³
Residence time 5.5 years
Shore length1 160 km
Surface elevation 198 m
HOW TO REACH LAKE COMO ?
The nearest airports to Como are:
* Milan Malpensa (MPX Tel: 02.74852200) 40-60 minutes drive via the autostrada toll road costing 1 Euro 60 cents; coach 3 times daily or can negotiate with private coach firms outside airport
* Milan Linate (LIN Tel: 02.74852200) 1 hour drive on toll road costing about 2.70 Euros.
From: Paris: TUIfly
* Bergamo’s Orio al Serio (BGY Tel: 035 326323) about 1-2 hours drive away on toll road costing about 5 Euros, or regular coach to Milan then change to train or coach to Como.
The Servizio Ferroviario Regionale connects Como by train to other major cities in Lombardy (R lines). Services are provided by Trenitalia (a.k.a. Ferrovie dello Stato: FS) (website) and LeNORD (website timetables) through two main stations: Como S. Giovanni (Trenitalia) and Como Lago (LeNORD). There is another urban station served by Trenitalia (Albate) and three more urban stations served by LeNORD (Como Borghi-Università, Como Camerlata and Grandate Breccia). From 2008 Como will also be connected to Milan with the line S9 of the Servizio Ferroviario Suburbano (S).
The E35 motorway runs past Como from Milan, and goes on into Switzerland. There are many exits to Como; avoid Como South, choose the next ones (signed Como Nord and Monte Olimpino) for the city, and the last exit (signed ultima uscita per l’Italia) before Switzerland for Cernobbio, Bellagio and for towns on the western lake shore.