Weekend in Bellagio

A weekend in one of lake Como's most romantic locations

Bellagio
Bellagio is definitely one of the most romantic places you’ll ever see around lake Como. Also known as “the pearl of the lake”, Bellagio’s elegant sights and sounds are straight out of a fairytale. The old neighborhood is strikingly beautiful, a big nest of entangled houses and streets, with rustic stairs scattered about leading to shops and taverns. It’s a place to discover and love on your own terms, with its temperate climate allowing visitors to always be able to see the town in all its natural colour.

During the weekend, it would be a good idea to visit the Museu degli Strumenti per la Navigazione, located in an old tower-shaped building. There are over two hundred antique pieces of sailing equipment here, from 17th century telescopes, compasses, solar clocks, chronometers and astrolabes. The museum is located in the San Giovanni district about twenty minutes away from Bellagio, but the trip is certainly worth it.

Another cool spot is the Basicila of San Giacomo, found in Piazza San Giacomo in the high part of the historic center. The church is a wonderful example of 12th century Roman-Lombard art, complete with mosaics and a 15th century altar. Other artifacts include the “Deposizione di Cristo” from the Perugino school of art, as well as a 12th century Crucifix.

 

You can't afford to miss out on the fascinating Villa Melzi gardens

Bellagio
More great churches include the Chiesa Santa Maria a Loppia, built within the Villa Gerli park about 15 minutes away from Bellagio center by foot. 
 
An unforgettable sight is the Villa Melzi d’Eril, built around 1800 for one of Napoleon’s collaborators, Duke Melzi d’Eril. The chapel, park, and small museum are all available to the public. The park is probably the most interesting, as it is decorated with neoclassical statues and splendid vegetation, amongst which a colossal ceder tree dominates the landscape. The park also has some columns and porticos from the ancient Lazaret of Milan, built by Lazzaro Palazzi in the 15th century. In a curious Moorish alcove stands a statue of Dante and Beatrice, which seems to have been Liszt’s inspiration for his “Sonata a fantasia dopo la lettura di Dante”. The entrance to the Villa Melzi park is at the end of a walking trail by the lake, heading towards Como.

Another place you should definitely see is Valla Serbelloni, which has an incredible 18th century view of lake Como and Lecco. Built in the 14th century by Marchesino Stanga and rebuilt in the 15th century by the Sfondrati family, it passed on to the Serbelloni Dukes who left the buildings intact while they restructured the park. Now built into the ridge of the Bellagio lakeside, it contains over 18 kilometers of paths and trails that twist among an astonishing number of rare and exotic plants that grow in the gardens and terraces that slope towards the lake.
 
 
Written by: Aldo Galvagno
Translation by: Daniel Yeatman

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