First build up by the Romans as a convenient link between the Mediterranean and Central Europe, Como has a long and storied history dotted by trade and conflict–but has remained, overall, an exquisite and lavish locale. Praised for its architectural and environmental splendor as well as theatrical offerings, this city is a feast for the eyes and a relaxation destination for visitors from all walks of life. Whether kicking back at the lakeshores, hiking up into the Alpine mountains, or sauntering through the narrow and winding streets of the Old Town, you’re sure to experience essential Italian charm in Como.
Location: Lombardy’s Lakefront Destination
Como rests at the southern end of the lake sharing its name, on Italy’s northern border with Switzerland. About 40 km north of Milan, travelers can easily reach Como through the former city’s airports (MXP and LIN), or through well-established rail and road connections to the rest of Lombardy. After arriving, consider renting a car or making use of the excellent public transportation to explore the numerous tiny villages dotting the shores of Lake Como.
Culture: Innovation and Performance
Settlement in the region dates back several thousand years, and Como has seen the birth of numerous famed historic figures including author and philosopher Pliny the Elder (and the Younger), Alessandro Volta (inventor of the battery), and Pope Innocent XI. View the lives and works of these and more in some of the city’s numerous museums, stroll through the public gardens, take in a show at the Teatro Sociale, or gaze upon the magnificence of the Basilica of Sant’Abbondio or the stately Villa Olmo.
Activities: A Panoramic Splendor for the Eyes
Como has long been a popular retreat for the noble and the wealthy, and it’s not hard to see why. The architecture dotting the cityscape–especially the majestic villas–is an attraction all its own, and theaters and churches round out the visual allure. For outdoorsy types, the proximity to sparkling Lake Como and stunning Alpine peaks ensures no shortage of excursion possibilities–try an early-morning hike to some of the most spectacular vantages available, followed by a late afternoon dip in the calm waters.