Landscapes, culture, nature

Nestled in the Prealpi Orobie, Lake Como offers beautiful views, small villages by the water, historic villas with spectacular gardens – the holiday destination for many famous people, in the past as well as today.

And then there’s Valsassina, wedged in the mountains. Mentioning everything would be impossible so we’d rather tell you about our favourite places, which perhaps will become your favourite places too.

The villages

Premana, the last village in Valsassina, has an interesting Museum of Ethnography and, most of all, it is the home to handmade knives: a language and a world apart.

On Lecco’s side of Lake Como, Varenna is a colourful fishermen’s village with a charming promenade by the lake and the ruins of the Roman Castle of Vezio. The village faces the famous Bellagio, in the very point where the two branches of the Lake meet: you can get there by ferry – it’s always a thrill to see the water. And then there’s Vezio, with the Lombard castle of Queen Theodelinda, perched above the village of Varenna. Colico with Piona Abbey, a lake within a lake: silence and mysticism. Corenno Plinio, a fortified village made in grey stone, with decreasing alleys you can only cross on foot. Bellano, with the “Lamentation of Christ” in the church of Santa Marta: the Circolo also hosts events that are part of the Dilaghée project created by writer Andrea Vitali and artist Velasco Vitali, the son of Giancarlo Vitali.

Fiumelatte, a hamlet of Varenna, is a group of houses built along the river bearing the same name (it’s a spectacular view when the river overflows).

On the other branch of Lake Como: Cernobbio, with the famous piazza by the lake – you can get there by hydrofoil from Varenna; the Strada Regina Vecchia which links Laglio (where George Clooney has his house), to Carate Urio, Moltrasio; the medieval village of Argegno; Gravedona with the Romanic church of Santa Maria del Tiglio.

Villas and castles

The park of Villa Monastero, in Varenna, is a testimony of the very mild climate of this bank.

In Tremezzo, Villa Carlotta has fantastic artworks and a botanic garden with azaleas and rhododendrons. You can also find beautiful azaleas in the gardens of Villa Melzi d’Eril, overlooking the lake in Bellagio. Villa del Balbianello, now a heritage of the FAI, is one of the emblems of Lake Como: on the promontory of Lenno, a hamlet of Tremezzina, it has welcomed representatives of the Italian Risorgimento. More recently (and prosaically), James Bond in “Casino Royale”.

The mountain lodges

Rifugio Carlo Porta in Pian dei Resinelli: this mountain lodge offers a spectacular view and unforgettable paths. Rifugio Tavecchia in Val Biandino (you can get there from Introbio, a 10-minute drive from the Maso), has always been a point of reference for mountain lovers, both in the summer and in the winter.

And finally…

Val Taleggio, a narrow canyon named after the typical cheese will take you to San Pellegrino Terme (where you can plunge into the Belle Époque: the thermal baths preserve their Liberty charm) and Bergamo.

Brunate and the cable railway from Como: the view of the Lake from above is truly unique. The famous Orrido in Bellano: a natural canyon carved in the rocks and easily accessible thanks to a series of gangways.

The Pian di Spagna Natural Reserve and Lake Mezzola, a spectacular natural area with a specific fauna. 

And after all this roaming around, it will be so nice to return to Maso Zambo and all its warmth.