If you are looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of the big city, there is a fascinating place in the north of Italy where it seems that time can stop for a moment in a beautiful natural environment and a lake with its many boats docked in the harbor…it’s the city of Como. Welcoming, full of lights and love of life – it almost feels like the city’s ancient history can actually embrace its visitors who stroll along its main streets and small alleys.
Como has a rich and interesting history. In ancient times its name was Comum, most probably related to its Gallic origins. Later, in the year 193 B.C. during the Roman empire and based on an administrative order by Julius Caesar, the city’s name was changed to its present name of Como. In the 11th century, Federico Barbarossa made his mark on the city, and in 1335 Como passed under the control of the Milanese families Visconti and Sforza. During the years of its greatest importance, Como was famous for its production of wool and silk. Another reason of pride for the city came in 1470 when it became one of the most important centers for the Italian publishing industry.
Today, Como is a key tourist destinations in Italy, with an historic city center rich in monuments in various architectural styles. From Piazza Cavour, the city’s panorama is astonishing, beginning with its Cathedral, built between the 14th and 17th centuries, combining both Gothic and Baroque styles. Several other constructions of historic value are also to be found in the main Piazza: the Medieval Broletto (City Hall), the neo-classical Teatro Sociale and Palazzo Terragni, a masterpiece of rationalistic architecture. Moving away from the Piazza, a variety of cafes and bars with outdoor tables and stylish fashion shops brings one back to the typical contemporary Italian culture.
An infinite kaleidoscope of churches, old and unusual houses, palaces, towers and Roman arches all contribute to the city’s unique appeal, but its real jewel is certainly its exceptional lakefront. From here, the view of the lake, the surrounding green hills, magnificent historic villas and various church bell towers is absolutely magnificent.
A boat trip on the lake’s crystal clear waters is the perfect way for visiting the many beautiful lakeside villas and parks.
Another of Como’s highlights is the Tempio Voltiano, designed by Giussani in 1927 to honor the one-hundredth anniversary of the death of Alessandro Volta, the world famous Italian physicist who conducted many important electricity-related experiments, but especially for the invention of the first electric battery.
The cable car running from Como up to Brunate is another must…from the lake shore to the alpine terraces in just a few minutes, rewarded by an incredible view of the lake and an open panorama over the Alps. From Brunate, visitors can also enjoy several excursions, including the Faro di San Maurizio (the lighthouse), again with beautiful views over the Alps and Monte Rosa. There is also a touristic itinerary including a number of Liberty-style villas in the Liberty built in the early 1900’s.