Relaxing and refreshing, Como and the surrounding area was a favorite vacation spot of Roman Emperors and continues today to draw modern superstars like Madonna, George Clooney and Sylvester Stallone to its peaceful environment. Situated in northern Italy on the southern tip of the southwest arm of Lake Como, Como is just a few minutes from the Swiss border and enjoys breathtaking views of the Alps. A short hour-long train ride from Milan, Como serves many travelers as a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the large Italian cities. Be sure to make hotel reservations for summer dates, and skip the winter, as much of the town is closed down between November and March.
Situated where Italy and Europe come together, Como rests under the snow-capped peaks of the Alps and alongside beautiful, meandering Lake Como. This is a place to fall in love; from long evening walks along the promenade to dinners at a lakeside table, the fresh authenticity of life in Como seduces many who come here. Although there are roads that wind around the serpentine lake, this area of the world is meant for boats and trains- so leave the rental car for another day. Lined with elegant 19th century villas and dripping with Old World panache, romantic Como will charm you with its relaxed manner of life and stunning natural scenery.
Things to do in
Giant museums and towering monuments to existential glory are all the rage- in other parts of Italy. Life here along Lake Como is slower and more deliberate; the air is fresh, the birds are singing and small waves caress the shore like young lovers. The hills around Como have been inhabited since the Bronze Age, and after being conquered by the Romans, the Franks, the Milanese, the Austrians and finally the Italians, the area has settled down to a distinct and delectable pace of life.
Most hotels have dining terraces as well as private balconies overlooking the lake, and many travelers find themselves spending a lot of their time simply gazing across the emerald scene, or into their lover’s eyes. Ferries and private passenger boats are the best way to explore the area, and visits to nearby Bellagio and Veneto make for interesting day trips, where getting there is truly half the fun. For those who insist on seeing the sights, Como’s graceful cathedral or duomo was built beginning in 1396, and the ancient town hall Broletto is worth a serious look for anyone interested in architecture.
But most of all when you are in Como: exhale. Fill your lungs with the sweet smell of orange trees and olive groves, and fill your eyes with bright blossoming rhododendrons and azaleas. Go for a hike in the hills, for a sail on the lake, or a bath in the sun. With a mild and sunny climate, Como is truly a vacationer’s paradise- just ask Julius Caesar.
Hotel Firenze: Lombardy-style with modern comforts, centrally located
Hotel Como: short walk from city center, top floor terrace, solarium, pool
Barchetta Excelsior: in city center on town square overlooking lake, fine restaurant
Albergo Terminus: in city center near cathedral, lake views, terrace, 41 rooms, sauna
La Zoca di Strii: nestled in the mountains by Como, very peaceful & secluded
Hotel Metropole Suisse Au Lac: centrally located on lake, bar and restaurant, nice staff
Villa Flori: set in park overlooking lake, panoramic lake view terraces, Venetian style