What to do and see in Como, Italy on Lake Como
Como is one of the main cities on the Lake Como and it is a ritzy shopping location. Como is a great place to visit for a day trip if that is all the time you have, and you can see the main sights in a day. (Read to the end to learn a fun fact about Como, Italy!).
Maint Sights to see in Como, Italy
1 – Duomo – Cathedral: The main Cathedral in Como is stunning both inside and out. The Cathedral dates back to 1396 when construction started. The façade of the church, with the rose window, was built in 1457 and the entire building was completed by 1740. Inside you will find tapestries and artworks from the 16th and 17th centuries.
2 – Basilica di San Fedele – This stone church was built in the 12th century (although the bell tower was rebuilt). Note the door with medieval decorations and the beautifully black and white tiled floor.
3 – Villa Olmo – The large villa can be reached by walking along the lake and through the large park. The Villa Olmo was built in 1797 and housed many important figures including Napoleon and Archduke Franz Ferdinand I. The villa now houses art exhibitions and the gardens are free to walk through.
4 – Funicular up to Brunate: Take the funicular up the mountain for spectacular views of the city and the lake. It is only 4,50 euros for a roundtrip ticket. However if it is a hazy day you will not see that far, so make sure to go on a clear day. Unless you plan to make the trek up to the lighthouse (on top of the mountain) there isn’t much else to see other then a quick walk through the town of Brunate. If you decide to meander through the town, wear good walking shoes, as there are many steep steps and cobblestone streets. (Also note that the funicular is very steep and if you are afraid of heights or wary of small contraptions or claustrophobic you might not enjoy the ride).
These are the main sights but otherwise it is essential to walk around the city of Como and literally get lost. You will see beautifully painted and decorated buildings, so architecture and art lovers will be thrilled with Como! Explore the streets, see the fancy shops, dodge the bike riders, eat gelato, and marvel at the beautiful buildings. Enjoy!
How to get to Como, Italy –
1 – Take a train to Como from Milan. If you take a train from Milan’s main train station you can get a direct train to Como (ride is an hour long). If you are going right from the airport (Malpensa) you still have to take a train to the main train station (from the airport, take a train to the main train station: 40 minute ride).
2 – There are also various boats/ferries from different towns on Lake Como.
Key travel tips for Como, Italy:
1 – It is a bike town. Most of the historical downtown is pedestrian, with the occasional car/truck to watch for but you need to be aware of the bike riders!
2 – Bring an umbrella! – I have been to Como more then a dozen times and only one time did it not rain!
3 – If you do not have time to take the funicular up to the top of the mountain it is okay – while it is beautiful up there the main things to see are the views and a few beautiful villas. Find the funicular by walking along the lake and follow the signs to the funi. A round trip ticket on the funicular is 4,50 Euros.
4 – If visiting the area in the summer, ladies make sure to bring a light scarf to put on your shoulders to enter Cathedrals – you will not be let in with strapless tops or tank tops. This is a general rule for most of Europe!
5 – Beware the traveling in Italy on Easter weekend means crowds – lots and lots of people in cities and on trains. If you travel anywhere in Italy on Easter weekend book hotels and trains way in advance!
Fun and crazy fact about Como, Italy: The Rockefeller fountain at the Bronx Zoo in New York City was once in the main square in Como! The fountain was purchased by William Rockefeller in 1902 for about 600 dollars and invested 25,000 dollars to bring it to New York City!
For information about Lake Como and all of Northern Italy’s major lakes click here for italylakes.net