Our Tour and Como Lake
It has the characteristic shape of an upside down Y dividing into two branches at the promontory of Bellagio. It is the deepest lake in Italy, the one with the longest perimetric extension and the third for surface and volume of water.
In 2014 Lake Como has been classified as “the most beautiful lake in the world” for its microclimate and its extraordinary territory, dotted with small villages, fairy tale villas and marvellous gardens.
Vegetation is divided into altimetrical zones with Mediterranean ,sub-alpine and alpine essences. Camellias, azaleas and oleanders grow along the shores, as well as cypresses and cluster pines. Vines,olive trees, oaks and chestnuts grow on the sunny slopes (500-800 m) while beeches, larches, walnuts trees and firs can be found in the mountains. The most elevated level (up to 2,000 m) is characterized by junipers, rhododendrons, blueberries and alders.
More than 26 species of fish have been classified in the Lake Como: some are autochthonous, like the twaite shad, the perch, the bleak, the lake trout and the luce and others are allochthonous like the lavaret, the black catfish, the largemouth bass or the bluegill.
Starting from Como and sailing up the western bank, we meet Cernobbio, where scenografic villas like Villa d’Este, Villa Erba and Villa Pizzo are located. In Moltrasio the English Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the famous Italian musician Vincenzo Bellini spent long periods.
After Laglio (where the famous actor George Clooney owns a beautiful villa) we find Brienno, one of the most ancient villages, practically preserved intact for over a century.
Always sailing up the western bank, we find in sequence the villages of Tremezzo, Cadenabbia and Griante. This stretch of lake is called “ Riviera delle Azalee” and it has become famous internationally over the years for the stunning spring flowering of its gardens where more than 150 varieties of rhododendrons and azaleas bloom in a riot of colours.
Gone past Rezzonico and the three villages of Cremia, Pianello del Lario and Musso, we reach Dongo and, a little farther, Gravedona with its church-jewel of Santa Maria del Tiglio, one of the greatest example of the Lombard-Romanesque style.
At the Northern end of the lake, at the confluence of the rivers Adda and Mera, lies the Natural Reserve of Pian di Spagna, flat area of natural interest surrounded by numerous coastal campings.
We continue down along the eastern bank. Gone past Colico, a wooded inlet forms the small Lake of Piona, where is located the homonymous, suggestive Cistercian Abbey.
Then, coming back to the center lake, we meet Lierna, nicknamed “the little pearl of Lake Como”, with its pebbled, white beach called Riva Bianca. Then we continue on to Varenna with the splendid Villa Monastero. In Varenna we can take the ferry-boat and land directly at Bellagio, leaving the eastern branch that goes down to Lecco.
Bellagio is the most popular tourist resort of the Lake. It is situated on the tip of the promontory that separates the two branches and it is famous for its monumental villas (Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni) and its fascinating stairways with shops. Along one of it, there is the house where the musician Franz Liszt lived. During his visit to Italy, even President Kennedy spent one night in Bellagio!
Going down towards Como, we meet Lezzeno (the village without the sun in winter and without the moon in summer) and Nesso with its old houses gathered around the mouth of the ravine.
Just a little more southward there is Blevio, here the view of Como suddenly appears while pedalling along the Larian Road: the final destination is not far.
CLIMATE and TEMPERATURE:
Lake Como is famous for its balmy temperatures and the Mediterranean sun. Despite the fact that it’s very close to the mountains, its climate is mild and constant, due to its large mass of water that acts as a thermal reserve. With these conditions, winters are milder and summers are cooler than in the regions at the same altitude and latitude.
The average annual temperature is higher than elsewhere. The average winter temperature does not fall below 6°-7° C = (44.6 – 42.8 F) while the summer temperature does not exceed 25-30° C (= 77-86 F), always mitigated in the afternoon by the “breva”, the light breeze, typical of Lake Como. July is also one of the driest months of the year.
Even the cloudiness is reduced: in fact there are more than 200 days of sunshine a year. The climate of Lake Como is perfect for sports but also for those people who need to relax.
The best time to visit Como and its Lake, is between March and November when temperatures are warmer and the sun shines longer. The best spring and autumn months are May and October. From May until September the temperature will not usually go below the 25°C = (77 F ) making exploring the whole area by bike and cruising on the lake a very comfortable pleasure.
The large mass of water of Lake Como, acting as a thermal reserve, absorbs the sun’s heat during the summer and releases it only during the winter. The high mountains surrounding the lake act as insulation to help this process, which helps to keep the average annual temperature higher than elsewhere.