It is easy to fall under the spell of Lake Como. At first it is the magnificent views that are so mesmerising. There’s the deep blue of the lake, grand villas half submerged by exquisite greenery, walls of oleander and poplar trees, boats dotted about in small harbours along the lakeside, chestnut forests covering the hills in the foreground and all this framed by the mountains of the Alps in the distance.
But then there is a wealth of treasures that you stumble upon, enchanting medieval centres of lakeside towns, cafes and trattorias hidden in small harbours, markets laden with ripe fruit and vegetables, and small individual shops. Add to this beautiful walks, excursions on and around the lake, historical masterpieces, such as the cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore in Como, and every moment is a journey of new discoveries.
Como the main town is full of historical highlights and is still the silk capital of the world. Follow its western shores, all the resorts are linked by ferry, and dip in and out of little lakeside villages from Moltrasio to Tremezzo the location of the beautiful Villa Carlotta gardens with rare conifers and tropical plants and the setting for classical concerts during July and August. Further on is the elegant town of Menaggio with a stunning mountainous backdrop. Where Lake Como forms two branches you will find Bellagio right in the middle on a promontory. This little village is a network of cobble-stoned streets, and brightly painted houses with some magnificent grand hotels. Just outside is another gorgeous garden at Villa Melzi.
Lake Como’s romantic landscape has seduced many a poet, writer, composer and artist over the centuries. A true Lakeland man, Wordsworth fell under its spell and loved the tranquility walking through the ancient villages and hillsides of olive trees. Daniel Craig in his first James Bond film recuperated at Villa del Balbianello at Lenno in Casino Royale. And George Clooney features regularly in lakeside commentary. He fell in love with Lake Como whilst filming Oceans Eleven, and his villas are pointed out on many a boat trip.
The summer months on Lake Como enjoy a Mediterranean climate, which produces sub-tropical vegetation year round. Temperatures in July and August average between 25-28°C. Evenings can be cooler around 16°C. Water temperatures can reach 24°C in July. There is usually a nice cool breeze off the lake.