City tour of Como
To visit in Como:
The tour starts in Piazza Cavour. From here walking west, you travel along the 'Lungolario Trento' until reaching the public gardens. Continuing along the lake you will arrive at the edge of a dam which strectches out towards the middle of the lake. On the left hand side there is a large area of green where the 'Monument to the Resistance', which was built in 1983. Following on, you will come across 'Tempio Voltiano' (viale Marconi, open from November to March from 10am to 12pm and from 2pm to 4pm, from April to October from 10am to 12pm and 3pm to 6pm, closed Mondays). It is an elegant building in a neo-classic style where several releics of Alessandro Volta have been kept over the years. Not far from there you can find the Monumento ai Caduti, this monument was designed in the Thirties by Giuseppe Terragni, with the cooperation of his brother Attilio. He took inspiration from a sketch by Antonio Sant'Elia. Built in the shape of a tower, it houses a granite monolith, inscribed with the names of 650 soldiers, from Como, who died during the First World War. Following viale Puecher, you can find on your right the lake rowing club, and on your left the Sinigaglia stadium. You will finally arrive to a square where you can find the Como Aero Club, where you can do a tour of the Lake by hydroplane. From here it is starting the path of Villa Olmo, just by the lake in a very panoramic position. From here you can have a view of the skyline of the city. In the park of Villa Olmo you can find also a little neoclassic temple and a spring. In the center of the garden, in front of the villa, there is a marble fountain, made by sculptor Odofrechi. This fountain is composed by a large pond with a lawn in the center with two marble angels that play again a sea monster.
BASILICA DI S. ABBONDIO: Erected in the 11th century, on the same spot where the early Christian church of Saints Peter and Paul once stood, the Basilica of Sant'Abbondio is a building with a nave and four aisles, an elongated choir and two bell towers. Having been modified and restored very often, its typical Como style modules are blended with examples of foreign intervention, e.g. Norman, Burgundian and German. Its severe and unadorned façade contains robust pilaster strips resting on four columns, which previously belonged to the arcades built on two storeys, between the 12th and the 14th centuries, and, afterwards, eliminated. The two bell towers reveal a structure of Norman origin and owe their light appearance to the mullioned windows with one or three lights. The apse is remarkable in its semicylindrical form, with geometrical and floral decorations and arch crowned columns. The interior features the narthex, supported by pillars; imposing hewn stone columns with cubic capitals (central nave) and monolitic capitals (side aisles); a trussed roof and paintings by Cerano and the Recchis. The frescoes of the apse are a significant example of the blending of local and Tuscan motifs.
DUOMO: Begun in 1.396, on the site of the Romanesque Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the construction of the cathedral lasted four centuries. Looking at its structure, you will see the changing in styles which occurred throughout the centuries: the late Gothic of the façade, the Renaissance lines of the apse and the 18th century dome. Lorenzo degli Sprazzi, from Val d'Intelvi, Pietro da Breggia and Fiorino da Bontà, from Como, and Tommaso Rodari, from Maroggia, were among the numerous artists who took part in the construction of the Cathedral. The two statues of Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger, placed on the sides of the portal, are by Rodari. The great dome, finished in 1.744 was designed by F. Juvara. Items of interest, inside the Cathedral, are the two columniferous lions (12th century), a niche, a sarcophagus and a marble altar (14th century) saved from the demolition of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore; altars, altar-pieces and portals by Rodari; 16th century paintings by B. Luini, G. Ferrari and B. Lanino; 17th century frescoes by Morazzone; 16th and 17th century tapestries from Ferrara and Flanders, Baroque stuccoworks by A. and F. Silva and 19th century stained glass windows by G. and P. Bertini.
BROLETTO: Erected in 1.215, flanked by the Civic Tower which was rebuilt in rusticated stone in 1.927, this building has a Gothic façade made in polychrome marble and dating from the 15th century, when its southern side was destroyed to make room for the Cathedral, which was then being enlarged. Originally intended as the headquarters of the local council, it was subsequently used as a theatre, a record office and, lastly, as an exhibition hall.
MUSEI CIVICI: Housed in the Giovio (18th century) and Olginati (19th century) palaces, the Museums of Archaeology and of Art as well as the Giuseppe Garibaldi Museum contain many collections of not only local interest: findings of bone, stone and moulded clay from the pile-dwellings; furniture from the Bronze and early Iron age found at the “Cà Morta” necropolis, located in the outskirts of Como, a Gallic ceremonial cart, with four wheels and decorated with bronze; traces of Babylonian and Egyptian culture; a mummy of a priestess of the 23rd Dynasty (1.200 b.C.); mosaics, Romanesque sculptures; wooden models and designs of the cathedral by F. Juvara; documents concerning local tehnograpy and relics of the Risorgimento and of the Second World War.
SHOPPING: In Como there is a large pedestrian area for shopping. The most famous and frequented street is Via Vittorio Emanuele III, named after the former King of Italy. Here you find some of the most exclusive clothes and accessories shops in Italy where you can purchase garments bearing the famous "Made in Italy" labels. Of course there are also the silk boutiques. The quality silk of Como is famous and here it is offered at the most attractive prices. In the area between Via Bernardino Luini and Via Diaz there are shops which specialize in furnishing materials and interior design. For those who are interested in antiques, Como is well known for its antique paintings, carpets, glassware and chinaware, which can be purchased in the shops located in the streets mentioned above. A visit to bookstores is just as interesting. As a matter of fact, Como is a meeting place for well known writers and artists. While purchasing rare and valuable books, it is possible that you might meet one of them. For all those who have a "sweet tooth", there are many exciting pastry and chocolate shops, with colourful and sweet-smelling windows, "Belli" is recommended for its pralines, "Bolla" and "Luisita" are famous for their ice-creams. If you are looking for special and "tempting" souvenirs, we recommend a visit to the jewelleries and the trinket shops located in Piazza Duomo, Via Vittorio Emanuele, Via Albertolli, Via Garibaldi and Via Fontana. For a romantic little gift, purchased at the very last minute, you could go to "Floridea" or "Ratti" flower shops, where you will find irresistible bouquets.
BRUNATE: This trip last around 2 hours and commences at the cable-car station in Como, Piazza de Gasperi. Taking the 500mt cable-car up to the picturesque hill-top village of Brunate with a maxium gradiant of 55% takes just over 6 mins. The village is 750mts above sea level. We recommend you visit this village which is known as the "balcony" of the Alps. It has an enviable position offering views of Como, the lake, the plains of Lombardy , the Alps, Mount Monviso and Mount Rosa. From Brunate you can reach San Maurizio (906 m) and visit the Voltian Beacon which was built in 1927 and the magnificent Marenghi Park. From San Maurizio the road continues on up to the Capanna Cao and the Sanctuary of Santa Rita (the smallest santuary in Europe). You can walk to the alpine huts ("Baite") located along the summits of the various hills overlooking the Lake: Baita Carla, Baita Bondello, Mount Bolletto (1236 m), Mount Bollettone (1204 m) and Mount Palanzone (1436 m). Spring/summer is the best seasons for these walking tours. The fabulous greenary, fresh air and a welcoming breeze in Brunate attract many tourists escaping the city heat.