Cultural Italy Blog: Art, Coffee & Love

Introducing Lake Como

Te, Larii Maxime, “to you Larius, the greatest”: with these words, Publio Virgilio Marone used to celebrate the beauty of Lake Como in the first century before Christ. Since then, many well-known personalities have praised the magnificent landscapes and luxurious villas surrounding its waters.

Wordsworth, who visited the lake in 1790, regarded it as “a treasure which the earth keeps to itself”. The French writer Stendhal came here in 1818, and in his novel “The Charterhouse of Parma” he described the lake as the most enchanting and beautiful place on earth. From Pliny the Younger to Virgil to the celebrities of our time George Clooney and Madonna, Lake Como hasn’t stopped enchanting whoever pays it a visit.
The Italianized version of its Latin name Larius is rarely used; Lago di Como is so-called from the town of Como, known to the Romans as Comum. Reminding the character “Y” in its shape, it is situated in the northern Italian region of Lombardia, with the northern branch beginning at the town of Colico, while the towns of Como and Lecco sit at the ends of the southwestern and southeastern branches respectively.

Its weather is generally mild, with the average daily temperature almost never going below 36°F in January and almost never exceeding the 90°F in July. In the wintertime the lake helps maintain a higher temperature in the surrounding region; snowfall is very rare, while the month of  May can bring the most quantity of rain.

The water temperature reaches an average of 75°F, making Lake Como ideal for water sports. The upper lake area is amazing for those who love windsurfing and sailing, thanks to the strong upper lake wind. There are plenty of clubs and water schools for adults and children in this area, so you’ll surely find some new sports to experiment with. Its surroundings are a huge open-air gym, where you can practice different types of sports, from skiing to mountain biking to horse riding. Birdwatching is also possible here; one of the most important natural reserves of the area is Pian di Spagna: here you can have a fun day trekking and observe over 24 species of birds. You can also play golf in the popular town of Lanzo or Menaggio, situated on the banks of the lake with courses of 18 holes. This golf course has been carved out of natural surroundings, making the golfing experience even more unique.

Since the ancient Romans, Lake Como is home to the most attractive villas with magnificent architecture and traditional Italian gardens, which benefit from the mild climate and the presence of 22.5 cubic km of lake water making them apt to host tropical plants. Here, Pliny the Younger built the Comedia and the Tragedia resorts. Villa Carlotta, Villa D’este, and Villa Victoria are just some of the most beautiful ones.
You can reach these mansions on board of wooden ‘Riva’ speedboats and enjoy strolling around its picturesque gardens. This style of boat is reminiscent of the ’60s and the ‘Dolce Vita’ famous era, where popular film stars were photographed on board these luxurious speedboats on the very lake. The villas are also available to host spectacular customized weddings and private events. Their magical settings and stunning locations are of unrivaled quality and beauty.

Nicoletta Lucia Paganucci

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