From time immemorial, representatives of the nobility, artists and poets loved to build their villas in the picturesque corners of any country. Lake Como, located near Milan in the Italian Alps, was no exception. A huge and very deep lake has an unusual shape. It consists of three branches that merge together and resembles the letter Y. The northern branch of the lake is called Colico. The mountain river Adda flows into the lake and, having passed through it, rushes on. The southeastern branch is called Lecco, and the southwestern part is called Como.
Due to the fact that the lake is surrounded by mountains on all sides, it has a very mild Mediterranean climate. Locals grow olives, pomegranates, grapes. Such southern plants as cypress and myrtle, chestnut, oleander, laurel and fig tree feel perfectly here as well.
Mild climate, beautiful combination of the lake and the mountains, as well as picturesque surroundings, have always attracted the noble and famous here. Even during the Roman Empire, the poet Virgil lived here. The politician Gaius Pliny the Younger also liked to rest here. In the Middle Ages, the great Leonardo da Vinci lived and worked here. Nowadays, Madonna and Sylvester Stallone have villas on the picturesque shore. Besides, Lake Como can be easily reached from the capital of fashion, so there are also many lovers of a day trip from Milan here.
Numerous small towns and villages have comfortably located on the Como coast. Many of them are several hundred years old.
The town of Como has existed for over 2000 years. Local residents were engaged in the production of wool and silk. In the 15th century, a printing workshop appeared here. The city has preserved its magnificent historical monuments to this day. This is the Cathedral, which was being built for over 200 years. The majestic silhouette of the cathedral and its rich interior decoration leave an indelible mark on the memory.
At the dawn of the millennium, the Basilica of Saint Abbondio was built. For centuries, it has been the residence and treasury for the highest dignitaries of the church. Bishops were buried here.
The city is located on a hill beautified with the ancient castle of Baradello. Villa Carlotta, built at the end of the 17th century, and the magnificent park located around it will not leave you indifferent. The villa houses a museum where you can admire a rich collection of works of art.
In the town of Como, there is a funicular that will take you to the top of Mount Brunate to enjoy a fascinating panorama. Not far from the town is the ski resort Medesimo.
The city of Lecco is not as ancient as Como. But even in it there are enough objects that deserve attention. The Cathedral of St. Nicholas, built in the 18th century, has a bell tower up to 100 meters high. We can mention the Palazzo Dele Paure, built at the beginning of the 20th century. People call it the “Palace of Fear”, because now the tax office is located there.
To simplify the way to Milan, 4 bridges were built in Lecco. The oldest of them is the Visconti Bridge, built in the 14th century. The rest of the bridges date back to the 20th century. The newest is the railway one.
You can take the funicular up to the Piani d’Erna peak. There you can ski, climb rocks or visit the park with winter attractions.
Despite its huge size, Lake Como has only one island. It’s called Isola Comancina. It is located not far from the towns of Lenno and Bellagio. In ancient times, the island was used to protect the coast. In the 17th century, a small temple of San Giovanni was erected on the ruins of an ancient temple. The former still protects the island and its inhabitants – a community of artists.
On the western shore of the lake, opposite the island of Comancina, is the holy mountain of Ossuccio. In the period from 1635 to 1710, fifteen chapels were built here, which are a real masterpiece of baroque architecture.