A trip to Como Italy quickly confirms why the Likes of George Clooney, Madonna and Versace have bought property here. It has to be one of the most scenic settings in Europe. In addition to the city Como, the Lake is dotted with towns and villages—all displaying a wide variety of luxurious villas and gardens. The best way to appreciate the stunning natural beauty coupled with eye popping estates is to take the ferry from Como to Bellagio—a two-hour cruise that zig-zags across the narrow lake from town to town on a scheduled route. There is also excellent local bus service running along both shores of the lake. The architectural highlight of Como is the Duomo (Cathedral) Construction began in 1396 and was finished in 1740.. It includes a carved 16th century choir and tapestries on cartoons by Giuseppe Arcimboldi. The dome is a rococo structure by Filippo Juvarra. Other artworks include 16th–17th century tapestries and 16th century paintings. In front of the Cathedral is a bronze statue of a bull, posing somewhat awkwardly with its legs in the air. Tourists, especially kids, love having their picture taken sitting on the animal.
The climate is mild, and even in October the outdoor cafes are filled. Dining, even in better restaurants is surprisingly affordable. A three course dinner for two with wine comes in under 100 Euros. A favourite restaurant for locals and tourists alike is the Piazza Roma Ristorante located behind the Cathedral. We stumbled in one evening and as it was early (Italians don’t dine much before 8PM) we managed to get a table. Quickly the restaurant filled up and we watched as numerous people were turned away. You need a prenotazione to be assured of a table in this cozy eatery. The host was the ebullient “Johnny” (Isa Eshref), a multilingual Albanian whose favourite expression is “don’t worry…be happy.” His son is the chef, another son works the front of the house as does Johnny’s lovely wife. As in many Como restaurants a patron is greeted with a complementary glass of prosecco, and often some kind of amuse-bouche—salmon mousse on bread, for instance.
Como is right on the Swiss border, and a must day trip is a 40 minute train ride to beautiful Lugano Switzerland, where many Como residents work. Lugano is even prettier than Como if that is possible.