A stone's throw away from Switzerland, the waters of Como Lake are one of the region's greatest charms. The lake and surrounding areas have a mild climate and sit between the water's edge and the mountains. A destination for elite tourism, the lake was chosen as a holiday spot by noblemen and arisocrats, who built a number of fine villas there. An elegant Italian garden surrounds the Villa d'Este in Cernobbio, which was once a stately home and has now been made into a luxury hotel. Villa Carlotta, between Tremezzo and Cadenabbia, is home to an extremely precious artistic treasure that was acquired by Giorgio Clerici, the president of the Lombardy Senate who had it built in the 18th Century. The works of Antonio Canova, Bertel Thorvaldsen and Hayez are all kept in its little museum. Be it the churches of Ancient Rome or the cobbled lanes, all the villages around the lake deserve a visit. By car or by boat, you mustn't forget to stop off at Bellagio, the town located between the two arms of the lake.
Varenna is a picturesque market town on Lake Como's eastern shore© Happyalex / 123RF
Lake Como is divided into three branches: Como, Lecco, and Alto Lario, which come together in the middle of the lake© Fedor Selivanov / 123RF
Lake Como© Rui Santos / 123RF
A well-known tourist centre, the picturesque little town of Lario lies on the shore with its back to the slope of Mount Bisbino© Karol Kozlowski
Lake Como has inspired many poets and writers, including Manzoni.© René Hartmann / 123RF