"Why seek happiness so far away, it is there before my eyes" said Fabrice in La Chartreuse de Parme, comparing the battlefield of Waterloo and Griante, his hometown on the shores of Lake Como.
Nicknamed "the Italian Versailles" in the 18th and 19th centuries, Lake Como benefits from its natural landscapes of great beauty and the region's history. Looking for a magical break in one of the most beautiful regions of Italy? Discover all the secrets of Lake Como and its surroundings!
Lake Como, lago di Como in Italian, is the third largest lake in Italy and is located in the region of Lombardy, in the north of Italy and Milan. It is known for the beauty of its landscapes, between alpine mountains and flowered banks and for its centuries-old history, whose remains, villas and churches can be admired.
The region's environment is highly appreciated by filmmakers: many of them have made the lake or the villas surrounding it the setting for their films. Among the most famous, Star Wars II: The Clone Attack, Casino Royale, Ocean's Twelve or even The Pleasure Garden of the famous Hitchcock.
In addition, many celebrities have made the region their home for the summer months: George Clooney bought a villa there. Brad Pitt or Matthew Bellamy (Muse's singer) also spend a lot of time there. The singer even recorded an album there. As early as the 19th and 20th centuries, the region was frequented by the greatest people: Flaubert, Beckett and even Stendhal, who described the lake as "the most beautiful in the world". Stendhal even decorated it for his famous novel, La Charterhouse de Parma: book I traces the youth of Fabrice, who grew up in Griante, on the western shore of the lake.
Lake Como is the ideal destination for your holiday: there is something for everyone. Whether you are looking for relaxation, cultural, historical or gastronomic visits, or sports, the region is made for you.
Athletes will appreciate the opportunity to do water sports such as sailing, diving or water skiing and mountain sports such as skiing, hiking or climbing.
Calm lovers will prefer the tranquility of the region, the temperature of the lake water (which is around 23-24°C in summer) and the many natural areas where it is possible to admire the local fauna and flora. Visit one of the region's nature parks or a nature reserve: our preference is for the Pian di Spagna nature reserve.
To discover the region's gastronomy, stop by the cheese, delicatessen or fish shops. Why not do a gastronomic or oenological visit of the region? You can try the specialities: fish (fresh water, caught in the lake) marinated or grilled, gin, roasted chestnuts or IGT wines (Italian equivalent of the PDO).
The lake area is home to many charming little villages, each with its own specificity and history. From the Cernobbio belvedere, admire the view of the lake. Then head to Bellagio, one of the most beautiful villages in the region where you can walk the cobbled streets and photograph the colourful houses. Varenna draws its charm from the colourful facades of the houses, previously inhabited by fishermen. In Tremezzo, enjoy the architecture of churches and villas.
In the very city of Como, admire the medieval half-timbered houses and the city's cathedral.
Also worth seeing: Villa Balbianello, the location of Star Wars episode II and Casino Royale, but also a charming 18th century residence. Come and see the 11th century basilica of Sant Abbondio, built on a 5th century church, then observe the heritage of Spanish domination over the region in the 17th century with the Forte di fuentes, a fortification located on the top of a hill. The most motivated can also walk the "Greenway lago di Como", a 10 km trail located between the villages of Colonno and Cadenabbia to discover the charming landscapes of the region.
Every day, TGV trains and planes leave France for Milan and then you can benefit from transfers by car or shuttle from the city.
On site, we advise you not to travel via the roads: they are very winding and are easily blocked when two trucks cross each other. Prefer boats and ferries for the transfer between each village, the trips are relatively fast and affordable.
The best visiting periods are May/June and autumn, respectively for bud flowering or orange tree colours. If you plan to visit outside the March-November period, find out about the opening of the different sites you plan to visit.