Yes, it’s now known as George Clooney country. That guy’s presence has transformed the entire area. For the better? It’s not for us to judge. Como is a truly beautiful lake. Is it more beautiful than the other lakes? We don’t think so. And there are disadvantages to Como: it’s more closed in than the other lakes, and therefore roads are necessarily narrower and much more crowded, especially in season. Getting around by boat is much more relaxing.
The most fashionable parts of the lake is the southwest coastline, from the sophisticated city of Como itself, up to Menaggio, plus Bellagio and its surroundings. The remainder of the lake is just as attractive, not so “upscale”, more authentic.
REMEMBER that if you go into Switzerland, you MUST carry your passport, and if you go onto the Swiss autoroute, your vehicle MUST display a sticker indicating that the annual Swiss motor tax has been paid. If not, you will be subject to a heavy fine if stopped.
Arrive and get settled.
Explore the town closest to your villa: Cernobbio, Menaggio, Varenna, Bellagio, or Como itself.
Take a lake cruise from the city Como all the way up to Colico and back, making stopoffs on the way wherever you please: the lake is full of wonderful places from Menaggio to Bellagio to Varenna and many just as charming places in between
A daytrip to wonderful Milan. We love that city. If we were to spend just one day in Milan, we would visit three sites: (a) the Last Supper and the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie; (b) the unbelievable Cimitero Monumentale, just jaw-dropping in the extravagance of the tombstones (buried here are Alessandro Manzoni, Arturo Toscanini, Vladimir Horowitz, Alberto Lattuada, and Franco Corelli); and (c) the Museo Poldi-Pezzoli, one of the most charming small museums in all Italy. After that, you choose: shopping? opera? food? fashion? more art?
The Villa Carlotta at Cadenabbia, exploring both Cadenabbia and Menaggio, followed, perhaps, by lunch or tea at the Villa d’Este.
A day at Lake Lugano, both the town of Lugano and then the little Italian enclave of Campione d’Italia for the casino.
Magnificent scenery? Drive up the east shore of the lake and beyond, all the way to the world-renowned winter and summer resort of St. Moritz.
Relax at home, perhaps later on indulging in an evening boat excursion
Another culture day – this time to our personal absolute favorite medium-sized city city in all Italy: Bergamo. The direct-seeming road from Lecco is unpleasant and crowded and slow. It’s actually easier, less stressful, and much faster to take the longer-seeming autostrada from Como down towards Milan and then east to Bergamo. The upper town of Bergamo takes a whole day to visit and is memorable for the Colleoni Chapel, Donizetti’s house and museum, the Cathedral, the Basilica of Santa
Maria Maggiore, several wonderful restaurants, and a delightful, sophisticated atmosphere all round. Take the little cablecar up to San Vigilio for great views. The Galleria Carrara is our favorite small art museum in Italy, especially with its fantastic room full of the still lifes of Baschenis, an unknown Bergamasco artist recently featured in a show at the Metopolitan Museum in New York. On the way to or from Bergamo, you could stop at Sotto il Monte, birthplace of John XXIII, until Francis the Papacy’s most appealing recent figure. Another wonderful stopping-off point between Milan and Bergamo, just of the autostrada: the planned industrial town of Crespi d’Adda, now a World Heritage
All day in Bellagio and the roads, hills, and water surrounding it, as well as the gorgeous gardens of the Villa Serbelloni and Villa Melzi.
The eastern shore of the lake: The charming town of Varenna, plus the Abbey of Piona, beautifully situated, and the Moto Guzzi museum, much fun even if you’re not particularly a motorcycle enthusiast.
Garden day. There are more than 40 gardens open to the public in the /Como area. Here’s a link to a brochure that shows you the possibilities.
Perhaps the Villa del Balbianello at Lenno is the most spectacular. But all are well worth visiting.
Hiking day. (Or, as we prefer to put it, “walking” day.) There are dozens of possibilities, including, for example, up to Monte Bisbino, above Cernobbio. Gorgeous views. Inquire at the local tourist office for maps and suggestions.
Relax at home, a short boat excursion or stroll in the immediate neighborhood, wondering why you didn’t “do” even half of the above.