There are so many things and places to experience on Lake Como that I could go on and on! Here are a few more sites from the city of Como located only an hour by train from Milan and perfect spot to call home base for visiting the lake.
Basilica di San Fedele – Romanesque dates to 1120
Volta Museum-dedicated to the inventor of the electric battery
Travel to any town in Italy and you will find beautiful churches. The Como Cathedral as it is known, is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and dates back to 1396. Architecturally fascinating, it mixes Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque features. This is a very important Gothic church in Northern Italy. This Roman Catholic cathedral stands in the Piazza del Duomo a lovely spot to people watch, have a drink or just hang out!
The Cathedral features a Rose window and a very impressive green Rococo cupola dome. The main portal stands between statues of Como natives as well as sculptures of Adam and Eve. The exterior also has sculptures of five other saints. Near the Rose window you will see a statute of God surrounded by other statues.
The cathedral has ancient tapestries and paintings and is worth a stop inside.
The Coin department store near the Piazza has a cafe on the roof with lovely views of the Cathedral.
Lake Como sits near the foothills of the Alps on the Italian-Swiss border and is only an hour by train from Milan. The city of Como makes a great home base to visit the other major towns on this lake like Bellagio and Varenna but there are many special towns lining this lake. If you can, hop the slow ferry getting on and off checking out towns like Cernobbia, Lenno and Tremezzo.
Santa Margherita Ligure is part of the Ligurian region on the Italian Riviera. We stayed at a wonderful hotel called the Imperiale Palace Hotel. We chose this specifically because they had both a pool and a beach area so we could unwind after two weeks of traveling around Italy and it was close to the train station and a quick walk into town.
Here and in Portofino you find the outside of buildings painted with Trompe L’oeil frescoes typical of this part of the Riviera during the Art Nouveau period. They used the painted exteriors to identify and distinguish their homes. Painting fake balconies, 3D effects, window sills, etc.
There are many lovely hotels here and in this old fashioned town there is more room to spread out than in The Cinque Terre or in Portofino. It is a great place to make your home base when staying in the area. Day trips to Portofino, Genoa, The Cinque Terre and Milan are easy day trips from Santa Margherita Ligure. You can catch a boat to Portofino or the Cinque Terre from the Pier right in town and buses run daily down to Portofino as it is a very short trip.
We arrived via an easy, convenient train ride from Florence. The old town center is so charming with shops, bars and restaurants lining the streets while its glitzy neighbor, Portofino is filled with yachts and movie stars. Santa Margherita Ligure has a beautiful harbor and beaches with room to enjoy it all since the crowds typically head to Portofino and The Cinque Terre.
The Cinque Terre is any easy train ride from Santa Margherita Ligure so you can go for the day. This area is well known for its 5 quaint towns. You can swim, shop, eat or hike your way from town to town. The scenery will take your breath away. Sadly, these towns are very crowded with tourists just like us. Be considerate and don’t ruin this beautiful place for the next group to come. We headed down to Monterosso and hiked to Vernazza (be prepared and dress appropriately and bring water and snacks) then a ferry to Manarola and the train back to Santa Margherita Ligure in time to hit the pool for a quick swim and cocktail!
Be sure to spend time wandering around in Santa Margherita!! Loved it!
There are farmers markets to enjoy near the Basilica in Piazza Caprera. Fresh fruits and veggies but the flowers were calling my name!!
There are statues of both Christopher Columbus and King Victor Emmanuel II in town commemorating the town’s history.
We walked into town to the Basilica of Santa Margherita. Be sure to go inside!! The Italian Baroque interior is ornate and the altar features a statue of Our Lady of the Rose since 1756. The inlaid marble floors and glass chandeliers are remarkable to say the least!
Chiesa di Santa Margherita d’Antiochia
After the Basilica we walked up to Villa Durazzo with its Italian and English Gardens and Chiesa Di San Giacomo Di Corte – wow- gorgeous! They were decorating for a wedding. It’s well worth the walk up the stairs!! Also the views of the entire harbor are striking. This Baroque church dates back to 974.
As you wander you will find other gems: some were closed when we stopped by in our wanderings.
This was the last stop in our two week adventure this time and a nice place to slow down and revel in living in Italy, even if just for a few weeks!! We will return!!
Have you been? I’d love to hear your favorite places.