An itinerary for a day in Lake Como
Lake Como is known for its many gorgeous lakeside villages and towns, with aristocratic villas tucked between. There is plenty to see and experience in this beautiful area, including cobbled streets, architectural wonders and eateries offering authentic delicacies.
A morning in the cobbled streets of Bellagio
Affectionately known as the pearl of the lake, Bellagio is certainly a jewel boasting great natural beauty and fine architecture.
There are grand villas along its lakeside promenade and narrow, cobbled streets in the old town whose ancient buildings house luxury boutiques and traditional trattorias.
After a browse, head up Salita Serbelloni to Piazza della Chiesa for 11am. Here you can join a tour to see the mansion of Villa Serbelloni. The villa’s remarkable gardens cover the entire tip of the Bellagio promontory and from here you can view all three arms of Lake Como simultaneously. There are two 90-minute tours, the other one begins at 3.30pm.
After the tour you can enjoy lunch at Trattoria San Giacomo, conveniently located on Salita Serbelloni. It’s a fantastically traditional restaurant and boasts one of the most extensive wine cellars in the area. Bellagio is associated with A-list celebrities such as George Clooney, so you might spot someone famous while you dine.
Spend the afternoon at the lake's most famous landmark – Villa del Balbianello
Cast your eyes from Bellagio across the lake and you’ll spot one of Como’s most famous architectural wonders – the remarkable Villa del Balbianello. Boats travel here directly from Bellagio and other areas, though if you’re the adventurous type, you could always travel by kayak.
The 18th-century villa is situated in a gorgeous wooded peninsula in Lenno, which is very pleasant to walk through. You might recognise the building as it’s been used as a set for the films Casino Royal and Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones.
You can enjoy a tour of the villa, a place that has been frequented by many aristocrats and intellectuals over the centuries. After taking in the wonderful interior, meander through the elegant terraced gardens and stand near the edge to admire the striking mountains of the Lombardy region.
Dinner and gelato on nearby Lenno promenade
Of course, a trip to anywhere in Italy wouldn’t be complete without trying their famously creamy gelato. It has a different name because the gelato is frozen at a slightly higher temperature than ice-cream and is made with fresh ingredients and milk.
One of the best gelato parlours in the whole of Italy just happens to be situated on the quiet Lenno promenade and it’s called La Fabbrica del Gelato. You must try the fig and cream, pear, or the apple and cinnamon flavours, all delicious combined with chocolate.
Sit with your generous scoops on a bench while watching the boats go by or you could stay for dinner and have a meal at one of the lakeside restaurants along here. One that is highly recommended is Albergo Plinio, where they serve fantastic fish from the lake and some of the best pasta in the area.