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When You Go:

  Lake Como, Italy 

Lake Como and terrace
Getting There: Lake Como is 25 miles north of Milan and 388 miles north of Rome. Depending on your U.S. departure city, airlines which service Milan’s Malpensa airport are: American, Delta, TWA, Continental, United, Alitalia, British Airways, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Scandinavian, Swissair and Iberia Lineas. The 1-800 phone numbers and Web links are listed in this magazine’s Airlines page.

The train to Varenna is the quickest Milan connection to any mid-lake point. Trains run between Milan Centrale train station and Varenna every two hours. The Milan train schedules list Sondrio and Lecco, but not Varenna. Since Varenna is a small stop, you must ask directions so you don’t miss it. Check out the Italian Train Timetable Web link below for connecting trains between Milan and Varenna.

The A8 and A9 motorways link Milan to the Italian Lake Region. If you drive, we recommend you rent a car from the United States before traveling. Most major car rental agencies service the Malpensa Airport. The 1-800 phone numbers and Web links are listed in this magazine’s Autos page.

Staying There: Boats and hydrofoils service Lake Como. The lake is divided into three areas of service: north-south from Como to Colico; mid-lake between Varenna, Bellagio, Menaggio, and Cadenabbia; and the south-eastern arm to Lecco. Boats go about every hour between Varenna, Menaggio, and Bellagio. There is a one-day mid-lake pass that saves you money if you make three rides, otherwise, just purchase a ticket for each ride.

Villa Carlotta is one of the best of Lake Como’s famous landmarks. Located between Cadenabbia and Tremezzo, Carlotta offers a beautiful Neoclassical interior along with a famous Canova statue of Cupid and Psyche. The villa was built between 1690 and 1743. Its gardens are magnificent with over 14 acres and more than 500 species of exotic vegetation including: palms, banana trees, cactus, azaleas, orchids, and camellias. Take the ferry to Cadenabbia and then walk or taxi one mile south to the villa.

Lake Como Map
Albergo Milano (yellow) There is a variety of lodging choices in all three towns. Many hotels close during the winter months. Request "camera con vista," to request a room with a view. Rick Steves' Italy contains good travel, lodging, and restaurant recommendations. This and other books on Lake Como and Italy are available via the amazon.com ad link below.

Fast Facts: Lake Como is a pre-alpine basin formed by the ancient glacier of the River Adda. It is 30 miles long, measured from north to south. It is Europe’s deepest lake (1,350 feet) and has a 106-mile shoreline. Lake Como spans 2 1/2 miles at its widest point. The city of Como lies at the southwestern leg, while Lecco occupies the southeastern end.

Photo Courtesy:
Albergo Milano

Useful WWW links:

Travel Europe: Info on Lake Como and the Lombard Alps, hotel reservations

Italian Tourist Web Guide: Comprehensive guide for traveling in Italy (click on Lombardia map, then Lago di Como)


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