Como fact file
Main appellation Terre Lariane IGT
Planted area 100ha
Main grapes Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Nero, Verdese
Climate Pre-alpine, with lacustrine influences
To truly understand the local saying, ‘the lake should be seen from the lake’, meander through its least explored corners towards the only island, Comacina (where spectacular firework displays mark the feast of San Giovanni in late June); or hop over to the ‘pearl of the lake’, Bellagio, on the tip of the promontory where the lake splits into two legs.
The shoreline is dotted with beautiful mansions, such as Villa Erba in Cernobbio and Villa Carlotta (Tremezzo), as well as tiny Romanesque churches and medieval villages. So without further ado, rent a boat from Tasell (), which has been in the business for more than a century.
Not to be missed is the Como to Brunate funicular: the panorama from the top is unforgettable. Walk through the village, famous for its art nouveau villas, up to the Voltiano lighthouse, and climb to the top to be rewarded with some awe-inspiring views!
Where to eat and drink in Como
An historic delicatessen near the Duomo, recently transformed into a multifaceted experience by its second generation of owners. Come here for takeout dishes (classic Italian, vegetarian, healthy or international), artisan gourmet foods, café, wine shop, wine bar and bistrot with cookery courses. Fancy a picnic on the lake? They can prepare one for you.
- Via Ballarini, 9 22100 Como
With more than 80 years of expertise in importing and roasting coffee, Caffè Milani lies 4km from Como. A coffee-culture discovery experience awaits here. Browse the museum – divided into botanical ‘islands’ – and the technical training centre, before enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee, or buy some to take home.
- Via Provinciale, 811 22030 Lipomo
Chef Franco Caffara earned Como’s first Michelin star at his restaurant I Tigli al Lago in 2012, achieving the same recognition after he opened I Tigli in Theoria in 2014 at the beautifully renovated 15th-century bishop’s palace. It houses an exquisite restaurant with special old-world charm, offering unforgettable contemporary cuisine. The impeccably curated multi-room interior includes one dedicated solely to aperitifs and cocktails, and there’s also a delightful garden.
- Via Bianchi Giovini, 41 22100 Como
In one of Como’s most picturesque spots – an arched facade inside the walled old town – this patisserie, ice cream parlour and delicatessen will satisfy your every craving with its freshly made, whimsical sweet and savoury offerings. Its confectionary delights are a balm for the soul: indulge in some exquisite pastries and a hot chocolate.
- Via Cesare Cantù, 36 – 22100 Como
This storied eatery in Como’s centre was once a literary haunt. Today, it serves down-home cooking with a seasonal menu that uses fresh local ingredients. The warm, old-style osteria also sells wines, amaro herbal liqueurs from the Como area (try one called Piz) and regional deli products (sample some Valchiavenna bresaola or local cheeses).
- Via Vitani, 16 22100 Como
In the old town, Enoteca da Gigi has been passionately run by the same family since 1930. It’s where the locals come to enjoy an aperitif of excellent white, red or bubbly. An array of Italian and international bottles is available to buy, or to drink at the chic wine bar or tables outside.
- Via Bernardino Luini, 48 22100 Como
With its tastefully luxurious ambience and scenic terrace overlooking the water, the Michelin-starred Mistral (pictured top) in Bellagio is the restaurant of one of the lake’s most elegant hotels, Villa Serbeloni. Chef Ettore Bocchia uses molecular gastronomy to create innovative haute cuisine, alongside more traditional recipes.
- Via Roma, 1 22021 Bellagio
This family business was founded by Marco Molli in 1985 in Lenno (on the lake, about a 50-minute drive from Como). It specialises in smoking and dry-curing freshwater fish, particularly the lake’s iconic missoltino (shad), as well as lake-fish bottarga (roe) and marinades. You’ll find all these delicacies for sale in the shop on the premises.
- Via Cinque Giornate, 59 22012 Cernobbio
Heading northwards past picturesque lakeside villages, 90 minutes from Como is Domaso. Emanuele Angelinetta’s winery is perched in a striking position right above the water. Its vineyards cling to the hillside on steep terraces with drystone walls, and among them is the area’s only native variety, the Verdese: be sure to taste it.
- Via Pozzolo, 16 22013 Domaso
Set in the gardens of Villa Melzi, 30km from Como, Silvio is a prestigious spot that has been Lake Como’s premier fish restaurant for more than a century. Owner Cristian is a fisherman – he can take you on a fishing trip aboard his skiff. The house speciality is missoltini (dried shad).
- Via Paolo Carcano, 10-12 Bellagio 22021
Fly to Milano Malpensa, and you can rent a car and drive to Como in 45 minutes.