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Located 51 kilometres away from the industrial Milan, Lake Como has always been the synonym for resort chic, jet set glam and caviar-soaked holidays. Being a George Clooney fan, I was always curious about this gorgeous locale as my friends would often gush about the actor’s summer home here. It’s a well-known fact that the Hollywood icon and his other toffee-nosed friends spend their vacations at his eighteenth-century Villa Oleandra in Laglio. Also, if you’re into fashion then you can’t miss Villa Fontanelle bought by the Italian designer Gianni Versace. A Medusa (an emblem of the late designer’s luxury house) sculpture can be spotted in the lawn from outside.
From Milan to Lake Como
I was in Milan for fashion week and thought of ditching a day full of fashion presentations and heading to this beautiful place. You could either reach Como from Milan by train which you could take from the Milan Centrale station or Porta Garibaldi to Como S. Giovanni, a station about 10 minutes walk from the lake front. It’s a beautiful train ride and I’d suggest that you don’t close your eyes and take in the lush greenery and charming cottages dotting the pathway.
The pristine lake is shaped like an upside-down Y, with three slender branches that meet at the resort town of Bellagio. At the bottom of the southwest branch lies the city of Como, home to Renaissance architecture and a funicular that travels up to the mountain town of Brunate. Fresh air, blue sky, vibrant flowers swaying in the mountain wind and swans preening for your attention welcome you, and you immediately feel part of the resort town. Feed the swans in the lake, it’s a beautiful feeling!
If Gothic style of architecture intrigues you and Romanesque and Baroque influences inspire you then I’d strongly recommend you visit the Como Cathedral. Besides the meditative calm, the arts reign supreme in its hallowed precincts – there are distinguished paintings of Gauedenzio Ferrari, of Bernardino Luini, and Morazzone (16th -17th centuries) and the frescoes of the sacristy (first half of the 17th century) if you are an art history buff like me.
Aristocracy’s summer retreat
Saying that Italians invented the idea of resort getaway back in the day won’t be an exaggeration. For instance, Villa Olmo was designed to be a summer retreat for the aristocracy. The villa was named after an elm tree planted in the middle of the ornate gardens, which is no longer alive today. However, visit the garden once you’re dine touring the villas, hug the trees, sit on a bench and enjoy the Como sun. Also, there’s a cave located behind the villa which is definitely worth a visit.