Lake Como, in northern Italy’s Lombardy region, draws travelers for its lakeside pursuits, dramatic scenery, five-star hotels, and centuries-old palazzos. Coupled with the breathtaking beauty are some of Italy’s finest restaurants, wine, and nature-centric experiences. While Lake Como is a far cry from other touristy hotspots in Italy, the best experience you can have while in the region is living like a local. With Il Sereno as your base, read on for our insider’s guide to Lake Como.
I Giardini di Villa Melzi
I Giardini di Villa Melzi, located on the western shore of Lake Como in Bellagio, Italy, is a renowned historical garden that spans approximately 20 acres. Established in the early 19th century the garden showcases a harmonious blend of neoclassical and romantic styles. Visitors to Villa Melzi can appreciate a diverse array of flora, including rare and exotic plants while strolling along well-manicured paths adorned with classical sculptures and architectural features. The garden offers captivating vistas of Lake Como, accentuating its status as a cultural and botanical treasure in the region.
Le Specialità Lariane
The family-run business Le Specialità Lariane excels in processing lake fish, like Lake Como’s indigenous perch, right before your eyes. This gourmet company offers smoked, marinated, and dried fish; smoked meat; pastas; and so much more. Pay a visit to the store to shop for their high-quality products, get recipe inspiration, and speak with the family to learn more about the history of Lake Como and its indigenous fish.
Explore Historical Como
Appreciating Lake Como’s unique history will give you more insight into the region and the locals’ way of life. Travel to Como’s southernmost tip and take the funicular to the hilltop village of Brunate. Also be sure to visit Museo della Seta, a museum dedicated to detailing the silk-making process. Teatro Sociale, Como’s neoclassical theater, is another must-visit cultural hub. The theater hosts dance performances, symphonies, and operas.
If you’re exploring Lake Como and want to tuck into a well-known local spot to grab a slice (or two), stop by Numero 9. Not just known for its pizza, the restaurant serves up stellar grilled octopus, risotto, and more. The garden area for seating offers a lush al fresco experience where you can enjoy an outdoor glass of wine with your meal.
Founded in 1960, Azalea Bellagio remains one of the best spots to shop for luxury silk goods. Known for their colorful printed scarves, ties, cashmere, and linen, Azalea’s products are great as a personal memento of your stay or as a gift for loved ones back home. They also sell foulards, handmade shawls, headbands, pocket handkerchiefs, and much more.
From the same owners as the family-run Castiglioni Deli, Enoteca Castiglioni has more than 1,000 labels to choose from that are sourced from Italy and around Europe. There are 20 different wines available by the glass, as well as rare bottles to shop for. After a day of exploring, be sure to indulge in a glass of wine at this fabulous Lake Como wine bar and shop.
Lake Como offers a rich tapestry of experiences that extend beyond its breathtaking scenery and luxurious accommodations. Embracing the local lifestyle enhances your visit, allowing you to delve into the region’s history, savor exquisite cuisine, and discover hidden gems. From the tranquility of I Giardini di Villa Melzi to the artisanal offerings of Le Specialità Lariane, the cultural exploration of Historical Como, the culinary delights at Numero 9, and the timeless elegance of Azalea Bellagio, each aspect adds a unique layer to your Lake Como adventure.