Como is a historic town (over 400 years old) situated at the extreme point of the west branch with a stunning lake front. It is a centre of historical, artistic and cultural importance, combined with important industrial and commercial activity.

Today Como is a dynamic, business city with an important history in textile (mainly silk) manufacturing and trading. Hence it is often referred to as the Silk Capital of Europe.
Although probably not the location to choose for your week’s holiday, it is undoubtedly worth at least a day trip, to wander the narrow cobbled streets, browse the lovely shops, visit Renaissance churches and palaces. A stroll along the promenade and a ‘gelato’ on the lake front could pass a pleasant hour or two.

There are a few main Piazza’s worthy of note, Piazza Cavour, on the lake front, a great place to watch the world go by from one of the cafes,Piazza Volta (named after Alessandro Volta), just to the right of this has some lovely restaurants and Piazza San Fedele, close to the outer wall with it’s quaint 400-year-old buildings, and the basilica, one of the masterpieces of the maestri comacini (masters of Como).

Walk up from here to Via Cantù and marvel at the old wall’s most spectacular standing tower, the Porta Vittoria. Nearby is the very austere church of San Abbondio. Then, if you have the energy, climb the hill behind it and go to the top of the Baradello Tower, for a stunning vista of the whole lake!

The hills surrounding the current location of Como were inhabited since prehistoric times and they represented the first centre that was then moved to its current location by order of Julius Caesar. Como has always been an important town in Lombardy and for many centuries it competed with Milan.

In the late Middle Ages, the city developed little suburbs all with an identity and characteristics of their own, along with several defensive towers around the city limits, promoted by Barbarossa. Today these little suburbs are part of the city and Como’s history is still visible thanks to all the antique monuments along the roads.

From the 16th century Como was submitted to Spanish rule and then was handed over to the Austrians (18th century). These are the years of Alessandro Volta, of the sumptuous villas, of the industry development and of the Social Theatre.

Visit the Museo Civico Archeologico “Giovio” to understand the history of Como right back to the Roman Age. The three towers to the south, the Roman churches and the magnificent Cathedral, completed in 1740, all show Como’s medieval past.

In the area of Borgo Vico, to the west, you can visit the splendid villas including the stunning Villa Olmo and walk along the lakefront, towards the town centre,passing Volta’s temple (Tempio Voltiano).

For Lake Como Tourist information go to the Tourist Office in Piazza Cavour 17. The tourist office opens daily from 9am to 1pm and 2 to 5pm. Tel. 031-269-712 or visit their Lake Como 

Tourist Information

Photographs courtesy of Jonathan Rosen and