Lago di Como is one of the dream destinations. The lake has been filmed many times and because of its beauty it fascinates tourists. Como Lake and three other big lakes in northern Italy: Maggiore, Garda and d’Iseo, are unique places of stunning views and architectural delight. Lago di Como has a weird shape of upside-down letter Y and is surrounded by hills. On its northern shore you may actually see very high peaks of the Alps, that are often covered with snow. In the middle of warm Italian summer this view is intriguing.
For the Italians Lago di Como recalls school times and their compulsory reading I Promessi Sposi, written by Manzoni. The main plot of this epic love story of Lucia and Renzo is placed on the lake. But Lago di Como was not only in the area of interestes of the classic authors (Hemingway, Twain, Dostoevsky, to name a few). Popular culture seams to adore this place! Clandestine marriage of Amidala and Anakin Skywalker was shot in one of the lake’s villa, just as the Ocean’s Twelve concluding scene, and some of the scenes of the Casino Royale with James Bond. The current trend among rich and famous to buy a villa on a lake rises interest and prices.
Como- the town on southwest shore of the lake- is comfortably connected with Milan. You just take the train on Cadorna Railway Station and after about 40 minutes you’re in the center of this town. The proximity of Milan is also one of the reasons of its popularity. People tend to become tired with the noise and rush of large city and uses the opportunity to relax during the weekend. Many Italians go to Como. Some of them just take a walk around the city, others buy some exclusive products made of silk. Eating ice creams is one of most common way to spend Saturday or Sunday afternoons, both for the large Italian families and for the tourists. During the summer time the town is crowded and the most pleasant moment to see it and enjoy it is late evening.
You might find it difficult to believe however Lago di Como is one of the deepest lakes in Europe (more than 400m deep!). What’s more the bottom of the lake is more than 200 metres below the sea-level! The color of water is outstanding. Together with snowed peaks it is one of the most beautiful views in Europe. The lake area is also famous of its production of silk and growing of mulberry trees. The production of silk is dated back in 14th century and it is still a popular business here. The guidebook says that over 80% of the European silk production comes from Como. There are couple of museums focused on history and production process of silk, however, I cannot recommend any of them. What I can definitely recommend is a visit in the cathedral.
The Duomo together with Broletto (constructed originally as a residence fot the local authorities in the 13th century) creates beautiful space in the city centre. The magnificent facade cut out of marble expresses the rich history of this town, its golden years, exceptional wealth and love for art of the famous aristocratic families. The way the Duomo is constructed and filled with sculptures shows also the development of architectural thought in northern Italy. While some other churches were reconstructed many times and the final effect is simply awful this is not the case of the duomo in Como. The extensions made throughout history are well planed and implemented. This is a beautifully proportional building with great facade and excellent interior.
To fully appreciate Como– the town I mean, not the whole lake- you should go to Brunate. If you take a cable railway called funicolare, and go to the top you can admire a nice view over the town and a bit of the lake. Brunate with its lighthouse (yes, there is actually a lighthouse dedicated to Alessandro Volta, Il Faro Voltiano) you can enter and enjoy the view.
Credits: all photos were downloaded from Flickr on license of Creative Commons. Authors: Axel V, bric72’s, Nando Scafroglia.
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