One of the most imposing pieces of architecture in town is the Duomo di Como. This lovely cathedral is something no one should miss. Whether you are on a short day trip from Milan or spending your holidays on Lake Como, come to see it. It’s definitely on the top of the list when it comes to what to do in Como. Unlike other famous Duomos, here the admission is completely free of charge. The mix of Romanesque and Gothic architecture creates much to admire. Furthermore, after you are done exploring the ins and outs of the Cathedral you can grab a drink or a bite to eat at one of the many bars and restaurants on Piazza del Duomo while enjoying the view. Better yet, right in between the Duomo and its bell tower sits the Broletto (the old town hall). This old building, once host to public assemblies, has recently become a new tourist information office.
Lake Como, narrow and fjord-like, is 50 kilometers long and shaped like an inverted Y. It would be a waste not to make use of the regular boat services. They connect most lake towns from early spring through fall. There are three types of boats available, slow boats great for leisure travel and taking pictures; ferries carrying cars as well as passengers; hydrofoils ideal way to get to places quickly (don’t expect to see much). However, not all lines stop at the smaller towns so be sure to check the route. For instance, there is a frequent ferry running across the lake. Using the ferry, reaching popular places such as Menaggio, Tremezzo, Bellagio, and Varenna is very easy. If you are unsure about what to do in Como, taking a boat trip to soak in the entire surroundings of the lake is priceless. You can use the mentioned public services or sign up for one of many boat tours!
Taking a pleasant stroll along the west shore of Lake Como allows you to admire the array of neoclassical villas built in the 18th to 19th century. In the fifties, the local government decided to create a “romantic promenade” providing locals and travelers with a lovely leisure spot. As you walk down along the path, you can admire Villa Carminati (a small elegant villa from the 1780s); lovely Villa Saporiti which is known as “La Rotonda” for its shape (today headquarters of the Provincial Administration); Villa Volonté characteristic for its two symmetrical wings and more. All of the old and elegant villas sit surrounded by lavish gardens. The walk ends with the famous neoclassical Villa Olmo designed by Simone Cantoni today host to many crowd-pulling art exhibitions. Villas decorating the shore are some of the most beautiful things to see in Como and attest to its importance as a leisure resort throughout history.
Como was founded by Julius Caesar himself with original intention of creating an Alpine garrison. Though it quickly became a holiday resort. In fact, as early as the 1st century BC! On the other hand, it was Frederick Barbarossa who built the town’s medieval watchtowers and its three imposing Romanesque basilicas rise from what remained of once-rich and powerful convents. Eventually, the eighteenth-century Austrian rule overpowered the town’s medieval ruggedness. Austrians brought about orderly elegant architecture, central European flair, a vibrant theatre and café culture. Meanwhile, the wealth of the local silk production industry paid for numerous palazzi and Italian art nouveau villas. Today, Como aspires to become the coolest place on the lake. Indeed, it's full of chic hotels, great restaurants, and charismatic bar-lined piazzas.
At first sight, Como might come across a bit disappointingly urban compared to other tiny charming towns on the lakefront. But the town’s setting embraced by green hills, with the vast lake washing the shore just steps from its Centro Storico are bound to change your mind. Once you set foot within the old town walls, Como's charming elegance becomes more apparent. Plus, no other place on the like boasts such a rich social and cultural agenda. An agenda that is significantly more real than tourist-tailored entertainment in any other resort on Lake Como. Naturally, if you prefer to take a swim in the lake, take part watersports, or take a hike in the surrounding hills, they're all right there!
You can also do some hardcore sightseeing. For instance, you can visit the Silk Museum that highlights the silk-making tradition of Como; peek inside the Pinacoteca Civica (Civic Art Gallery) that resides in the imposing Volpi palace boasting a plethora of sculptures, paintings, a lapidary collection, and even modern art; explore the history of Italy’s unification under the Savoy dynasty (Risorgimento) in History Museum Giuseppe Garibaldi; examine ancient artifacts in the Archeological Museum or visit Como’s pride, the beautiful Duomo from the 14th century.
As you can see, things to do in Como are many whether you prefer sightseeing, sports, entertainment or just leisurely relax. Explore the page to find more ideas on what to do in Como!