Como City Insider

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Advisor - Chiara Viganò
Curated By

Chiara Viganò

  • Lake Como

  • Food & Wine

  • Arts & Culture

  • Active Travel

  • Outdoors

  • Local Food

  • Local Culture

building in Como
Curator’s statement

Como holds a special place in my heart since it's my hometown. There's a unique bond with your roots, no matter where life takes you, home always retains that comforting familiarity. I chose to begin from Como as it serves as the central hub in the Lake Como region. This makes it an ideal starting point for exploring the treasures scattered around the lake. All modes of transportation, including trains, buses, boats and other means, originate from Como. Considering that, it's best to kick off your lake adventure right here in Como itself. This guide has some laid-back suggestions for cool things to do while you're exploring the city. Let's get started!

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Where to stay Como City

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Things to do Como City

A boat in Lake Como

Landmarks

-Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral (location | website)

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, commonly referred to as Como’s Duomo, stands as one of Como's significant historic landmarks. Construction on the Cathedral commenced in 1396 and unfolded across three and a half centuries, with the cupola's final touches completed in 1744. Its architectural composition is intricate and multifaceted, seamlessly blending diverse interpretations of space and styles into a singular edifice.

Chiara recommends

I highly recommend exploring the interior of the Cathedral and admiring its magnificent spaces and ceilings. They are truly marvelous. Don't miss the Madonna altar, situated to the right of the main altar. Its beauty is simply captivating!

-Social Theater (location | website)

The theater, renowned as one of the oldest and most remarkable in Northern Italy, was inaugurated in 1813. It was a year celebrated by music enthusiasts for the births of Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi.

Chiara recommends

The exterior of the building is breathtaking, but I highly recommend going inside as well. If you're a fan of opera, consider purchasing tickets for a performance. You won't be disappointed!

-“Fascio” House (location | website)

Designed by Italian architect Giuseppe Terragni, the building was inaugurated in 1936 as the local "casa del fascio," serving as the office of the National Fascist Party. Following the downfall of Fascism in 1945, it was repurposed by the National Liberation Committee Parties. In 1957, it transitioned into the headquarters of the local Finance Police, a role it still fulfills today. The building features a square plan and comprises four stories.

Chiara recommends

Just swing by and take a peek from the outside. It's pretty interesting to see the features of fascist architecture up close and personal.

-“Porta Torre” gate (location | website)

Porta Torre, also referred to as Torre di Porta Vittoria, stands as a prominent fortified tower situated in the town of Como. Erected in 1192, the tower rises to a height of 40 meters and was constructed to safeguard the primary entrance of the city.

Chiara recommends

Why not take a leisurely walk to Porta Torre? Along the way, you'll come across tons of shops filled with amazing Italian fashion finds that you won't be able to resist!

-San Fedele Square and San Fedele Basilica (location | website)

Step into history at the present Lombard Romanesque church, a captivating structure dating back to 1120. Admire the timeless beauty of its architectural design as you explore its ancient halls. Don't miss the opportunity to marvel at the reconstructed campanile, standing tall since 1271, offering a glimpse into the rich heritage of Como.

Chiara recommends

Get lost in the beauty of the church and its square. The architecture is stunning and the square adds to the charm. It's like stepping into authentic Italian history!

-Via Vitani (location)

Originally, it was simply one of the residential districts connected to the shore of the lake and the port of Piazza Cavour. However, due to its significance, it eventually became the seat of one of Como's most influential families: the Vittani. From 1250 to 1420, the Vittani family fought fiercely for both political and economic dominance over the city.

Chiara recommends

This street is a paradise for fashion lovers, as it's home to some of the trendiest shops in Como. Not only are the shops themselves beautifully designed and full of character, but they also feature unique Italian products from small local producers. It's the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind Italian treasures!

-Volta Square (location)

Piazza Volta stands as one of the city's most enchanting squares, captivating visitors with its undeniable charm. At its center lies the heart of the square, featuring a statue of the renowned scientist, Alessandro Volta. Alessandro Volta (1745-1827), famed as the inventor of the electrical battery, remains one of Como's most significant historical figures. His profound impact reverberates throughout the city, with evidence of his influence evident in various aspects of Como's culture and heritage.

Chiara recommends

Why not take a relaxed walk to the area and admire the amazing architecture all around? There are plenty of cute shops and tasty restaurants to explore too, making it an even better experience!

-Lungolago di Como and Piazza Cavour (location)

Visiting Como wouldn't be complete without a leisurely stroll along its picturesque lakefront. It offers breathtaking views and countless points of historical and artistic interest along the water's edge.

Chiara recommends

Start your journey from Piazza Alessandro Volta in the heart of the city center. Head towards the Mafalda di Savoia lakefront for a magnificent vista of Lake Como. Follow Lungo Lario Trento, which transitions into Lungo Lario Trieste. Discover an array of charming cafes and restaurants where you can pause for a coffee or enjoy a scenic aperitif.

-Brunate Cable Railway (location | website)

Just a quick 5-minute walk from the heart of Como, you'll stumble upon the funicular. Hop aboard, and in no time, you'll find yourself in Brunate, a charming village boasting unparalleled views of Como and its lake. While you're there, don't miss the chance to visit the Voltiano Lighthouse for an extra special experience!

Chiara recommends

You can grab round-trip tickets for the cable railway right at the ticket office where the cable railway starts its journey. Easy peasy! Standard round-trip tickets cost 6.60 € each. I highly recommend taking the ride—the village of Brunate is absolutely enchanting, and the view from Faro Voltiano is simply stunning! For an extra magical experience, try to catch the sunset—it's absolutely breathtaking!

-Volta Temple (location)

Alessandro Volta's "Temple," the Tempio Voltiano, was unveiled on July 15th, 1928, commemorating the first centenary of Alessandro Volta's passing (1745-1827). The visionary Francesco Somaini (1855-1939), a local cotton mill owner and Member of Parliament, conceived the idea of constructing a space dedicated to the renowned physicist. Its purpose? To honor Volta's memory and safeguard his scientific instruments and documents for posterity.

Chiara recommends

For science enthusiasts eager to delve deeper into the legacy of the battery's inventor, a visit to the museum is a must. Step inside the Tempio Voltiano and explore its fascinating exhibits. Not only is the content captivating, but the building itself, resembling a true temple, is a sight to behold. Admission is priced at 5€ per person, while children under 6 years old enjoy free access—a perfect opportunity for families to discover together. Tickets can be purchased at the entrance, all major credit cards are accepted.

-Life Electric monument (location | website)

Life Electric, alternatively known as The Life Electric, stands as a modern sculpture paying homage to the physicist Alessandro Volta (1745–1827). Erected in 2015, this striking artwork graces the city of Como, Italy. Designed by the renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the sculpture serves as a gift to Como. This is where Libeskind established his "Summer Session" school of architecture back in 1988.

Chiara recommends

The walk to the Life Electric sculpture is delightful, as it takes you across a bridge overlooking the picturesque lake. Upon arrival, seize the opportunity to capture stunning photographs of the cityscape and the breathtaking lake landscape.

-Villa Olmo (location | website)

A magnificent example of neoclassical architecture, Villa Olmo in Como is an iconic landmark and a beloved retreat for locals seeking tranquility. Designed by architect Simone Cantoni in the 18th century at the behest of the Odescalchi family. This splendid residence now belongs to the municipality and serves as an esteemed venue for exhibitions, events and conferences.

Chiara recommends

Feel free to take a stroll through the villa's gardens. Villa Olmo sits at the northwest end of Como, boasting expansive Italian-style gardens filled with carefully tended flower beds and a stunning fountain.

-Villa Geno (location | website)

Villa Geno, originally constructed in 1790, was rebuilt in 1850 with sleek neoclassical designs.

Nestled in the heart of Como, right next to the iconic fountain boasting a 30-meter high water jet, the villa is surrounded by a stunning natural landscape. A view of the lake in front and a picturesque promontory behind it.

Chiara recommends

Take a stroll along the lakeshore on the right until you reach Villa Geno. Along the way, you'll find plenty of cozy restaurants to grab a bite. Don't forget to pause by the lakeshore, where you can relax, feel the breeze, and soak in the beautiful view.

shopping

-Nosetta (location | website)

Nosetta products, including handbags and small accessories, are meticulously designed in Lake Como and handcrafted in Italy using luxury materials sourced from world-class manufacturers. By selling directly to customers and bypassing traditional retail mark-ups, Nosetta is able to offer luxury-quality products at fair prices. Nosetta made its debut in 2018, drawing inspiration from the enchanting allure of Italy. For American founder Clare O'Connell, Italy has long been a source of fascination and has become her cherished home. The brand's inception stemmed from a deep affinity for all things beautiful, perhaps hinting at a destiny intertwined with the pursuit of elegance and craftsmanship.

-Grand Tour Lake Como (location | website)

The fresh addition to Lake Como's landscape is the debut of Grand Tour Lake Como. A brand specializing in exquisite silk scarves that epitomize beauty and quality. Nestled in the heart of Como, the brand's newly inaugurated boutique injects a renewed sense of optimism into the local textile industry. It showcases Como's renowned craftsmanship. Owner Ettore Maria Peron elaborates: Each scarf proudly bears the stamp of "Made in Como," crafted from inception to completion. Designs originate in Nesso, undergo printing and hemming in Cadorago, culminating in a journey to the boutique at Via Adamo del Pero 21, centrally located in Como. Inspired by the essence of Como itself, the scarves radiate with its unique charm and allure. Prices are aligned with the superior quality you'll find in every stitch and print.

-Tessabit (different locations | website)

Established in Como in 1953, TESSABIT stands as a distinguished chain of 14 family-operated luxury boutiques. Renowned for curating a cutting-edge, contemporary array of high-end fashion sourced globally, Tessabit embodies the essence of sophistication.

For more than three generations, the Molteni family has remained steadfast in their pursuit of innovation, excellence, and relentless exploration. Their endeavors seamlessly harmonize with the breathtaking backdrop of Lake Como, resonating with the discerning tastes of the international fashion elite. Tessabit remains Como's glamorous fashion icon and a high-end reference point. Our products epitomize luxury, reflecting in their corresponding prices.

-A.Gi.Emme. (location)

A.Gi.Emme boasts various fashion shops in Como, catering to different styles and preferences. While some specialize in high-end fashion, one stands out for its urban flair. If you're in the mood for a trendy hoodie or a fresh pair of sneakers, I highly recommend stopping by!

-Riflessi di gusto (location)

Let's shift gears to food! If you're on the hunt for delectable treats to take back home in your checked-in luggage, look no further than Riflessi di Gusto. This gem resembles a traditional Italian bottega, offering the finest food specialties from across the peninsula. From locally-sourced wines to sustainable pasta brands and an array of chic Italian delicacies, it's a must-visit destination for food lovers. Highly recommended!

-La drogheria di Anna (location)

During a memorable evening hosted by the exceptional chef Viviana, I had the pleasure of meeting Anna. Anna specializes in curating a distinctive array of food delicacies sourced from around the globe. If you're seeking to discover something truly unique and of the finest quality to bring back home, her shop is the place to be. With an extensive selection of wines and spirits as well, it's a haven for culinary explorers.

Day Trips:

Bellagio: it’s one hour by speed boat and almost two hours using standard service. Standard service tickets can be purchased online here. For discovering more about Bellagio, go read my Bellagio Insider Guide!

Menaggio: it’s roughly the same distance as Bellagio by boat and tickets rules are as above. Read my Menaggio guide, too!

Places to eat & drink Como City

red car in como streets

GRAB A BITE

-Ristorante In Teatro (website)

Charming place with classic fare including gluten-free options and a terrace with cathedral views. They have a variety of revised traditional Italian dishes on their menu. They do nice pizza, too. You may choose to sit in the internal garden or in the external veranda! The price is quite fair.

-Ristorante Latteria San Fedele (location) (website)

Latteria San Fedele is awesome for homemade fresh pasta. They've got all sorts of tasty Italian sauces to go with it. Definitely give it a try! Plus, they've got a killer wine list. The vibe is super laid-back, and the interiors are gorgeous (it used to be a milk factory). And the best part? Prices are totally fair!

-Figli dei fiori Bistrot (location) (website)

As you step into the Bistrot, you'll enter a refined and timeless space, surrounded by flowers, plants, and distinctive architectural features. The beautifully relaxed atmosphere invites you to enjoy a flavorful breakfast, an unconventional lunch, or an unforgettable dinner experience. The vibe is super chic and prices are quite fair!

-Torre del Gallo (location)

Nestled in the heart of Como's city center, Torre del Gallo may be small, but it packs a punch with its selection of high-quality Italian products. What sets it apart is the hidden gem at the back—a corner where they craft delicious "panini" filled with your choice of very special Italian prosciutto or salame. Don't miss out on this delightful experience!

-Krudo Como (location)

Krudo Como is a must-stop as you explore the city's charming streets. Don't miss their delicious toast—it's a game-changer! Plus, it's a great spot for drinks. The interiors are stunning, and the outdoor seating on Piazza Volta is even better!

-Pizzium (location) (website)

While the location might not be the greatest, the pizza at this place totally makes up for it! They serve up some of the best Neapolitan pizzas in Como, using authentic ingredients straight from Campania—the number-one pizza region! Personally, pizza Napoli with anchovies is my favorite! And don't even get me started on their tiramisu—it's top-notch. Plus, the prices are totally fair.

-Mystic Burger (location) (website)

I know burgers aren't exactly traditional Italian fare, but I had to add this place to my list because their burgers are out of this world! They offer seven types of freshly baked Italian bread filled with top-quality Italian ingredients, and the meat comes straight from Piemonte. Trust me, it's worth a try! My fav is Dionigi burger! And the best part? Prices are totally reasonable!

FINE DINING

-Feel Como (location) (website)

A small gem in the heart of the city. Chef Federico Beretta says that his cuisine speaks of game and freshwater fish, wild herbs and forest products, dairy traditions, and crafts. Feel Como has only 6 elegant indoor tables and can accommodate a maximum of 16 guests, so reservations are always required, even for lunch. For bookings from 5 to 8 guests, only the tasting menu is served. The price is high, but fair according to the quality of the raw materials.

-Figli dei fiori Osteria (location) (website)

Osteria Figli dei Fiori offers traditional cuisine with a modern twist tailored by chef Gianni Tancredi. While honoring tradition, they also strive for innovation by putting a contemporary spin on local specialties. Their menu features genuine and straightforward dishes, meticulously crafted and personalized with flair. Prices are quite fair and you’ll find a typical osteria vibe!

-La Colombetta (location) (website)

La Colombetta is your go-to spot for traditional Italian dining. The elegant ambiance and sophisticated cuisine will win you over completely. Chef Marianna skillfully prepares each dish using time-honored techniques from the Italian culinary tradition, ensuring a truly extraordinary sensory experience.

Drinks

-Hemingway Coctail Bar (location)

For over twenty years, this cozy and intimate spot has been a historical landmark in the city. It offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle. It's the perfect place to unwind and spend time with friends, away from the chaos. The kitchen serves a seasonal menu that caters to everyone, accompanied by carefully selected background music to set the mood. But the real highlight here is the drinks! They will recommend you the best one for you, according to your tastes. And during the summer season, you can enjoy the charming gazebo on the beautiful Piazza Volta. Prices are fair.

-Terrazza 241 at Hilton Lake Como (location) (website)

If you're searching for a rooftop experience in Como, look no further than Terrazza 241! This magnificent terrace offers a glamorous and relaxing atmosphere at any time of day. With the best lake view in town, you can enjoy a great selection of cocktails and gourmet dishes. Just keep in mind that prices are on the higher side. Conetto di battuto di manzo, salsa Cipriani, mandorle and Nova cocktail are the best!

-Vineria Vitani (location) (website)

If you're a collector who treasures rare wines and highly valuable bottles, Vineria Vitani is your go-to destination. It's also a great spot for those who simply want to enjoy a glass of excellent wine with friends and family, paired with some delicious tapas. Furthermore, Vineria Vitani offers wine tasting experiences. Book your spot for an unforgettable evening with friends, in a unique environment in Como that guarantees a top-quality experience. You'll have the opportunity to sample our precious wines accompanied by delicious snacks.

-Osteria Brillo (location)

“Un luogo dove bere, mangiare e ascoltare qualcosa di buono”. Translated in English, that means: "A place where to drink, eat and listen to something good". Osteria Brillo is a recent addition to Como, offering a contemporary wine selection featuring plenty of organic and natural Italian wines. Their dishes, a fusion of Italian tradition and global influences, are equally delightful. Prices are reasonable, making it a great spot to drink, dine, and enjoy some good tunes.

Coffee and pastries

-Caffè Monti (location)

This historical café sits on Piazza Cavour, Como's picturesque lakeside square. It's the perfect spot to grab a table for an espresso and croissant in the morning, or an Aperol Spritz for an aperitivo in the evening! Prices are totally ok.

-Pasticceria Luisita (location)

If you have a sweet tooth, don't miss out on Luisita's cakes and pastries. It's Como's most renowned pastry shop, and they also serve great coffee. Highly recommended for a delightful “merenda” while exploring the city! Prices are fair!

-Caffè Maya (location)

Caffè Maya is an artisanal coffee roastery worth stopping by for an espresso and a sweet snack. Their outdoor seating area is also quite charming. Prices are reasonable, making it a great choice for a coffee break.

GELATO

-Gelateria Guidi (location)

Gelateria Guidi crafts artisan gelato using only high-quality raw materials, without any artificial colorants, preservatives, synthetic additives, or GMOs—seriously! Be sure to try their gelato pastries. They're not to be missed. And the best part? Prices are reasonable.

-Gelateria Rossetti (location)

With decades of experience in the industry dating back to the 70s, Gianfranco Rossetti had a clear mission: to create the finest ice cream imaginable. Thus, Gelateria Rossetti was born, becoming a renowned landmark for gelato in Como. While it's a cozy spot, it's best for grabbing a cone to go due to its small size. My personal favorite? Uva fragola!

-Gelab Gelateria (location)

Gelab's motto is all about natural ice cream, Sicilian granitas, semifreddi, and homemade popsicles! Definitely worth a try if you're in the mood for some gelato!

Need to Know

This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Lake Como.

Advisor - Chiara Viganò

Travel Advisor

Chiara Viganò

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