Bellagio – by boat from Como

This is an excerpt from the book “Lake Como” by Enrico Massetti. You can buy the full book here.

Bellagio – Photo © Alex Molchan

It is no mistake that Bellagio is called the “pearl” of Lake Como. It is undoubtedly the most famous resort on the lake. For centuries, Bellagio’s scenic location has enchanted artists and writers, not only from Italy but also from abroad. It is situated on the tip of a headland that divides the lake into the two legs of Como and Lecco.

The town stretches along the coast, and part of it goes up the slopes of the peninsula.

Because of its location Bellagio has a great variety of views; indeed, it offers a good view of the whole lake. On the northern horizon, one can see the Pre-Alps.

Some of the best views can be seen from the park of Villa Serbelloni and the top of Monte San Primo. On an unusually bright day, one can make out the Alps, from Mont Blanc to the Ortles, and the Madonnina on top of the Duomo of Milan.

Both the historic center situated at a higher level dominated by the Romanesque Basilica Of San Giacomo (enlarged in the Baroque Age) and the more recent arcade lake-front are all preserved intact. Among the aristocratic villas let’s remember Villa Serbelloni, first castle, then country residence and transformed into a villa at the end of the 15th century. Later once again restructured in the 17th and turned into a hotel during the last decade of the 19th century, it is presently appointed headquarters of conventions and study tours.

Villa on Lake Como
Villa on Lake Como

The park – the lake’s most extensive – extends all over the entire peninsula to the small town’s mount with a splendid view onto the two branches of the Lake. Viewing the lake is the Neo-classical Villa Melzi, from the extraordinarily severe and elegant forms, realized between the 1808 and 1810 and based on Giacomo Albertelli’s project for the Count Francesco Melzi, vice-president, and Chancellor of the Kingdom of Italy.

Described by Stendhal, this noble residence as well had among its guests famous personalities: from the Emperors Francesco I and Ferdinand of Austria to the musician Liszt. Worthy of mention as well in Bellagio, Villa Trivulzio, built in the 18th century and restored a century later with its grand English-style park, and Villa Trotti, in its neo-Gothic remake with Moorish decorations and with rarities that enrich the park.

Where to stay in Como

There are hotels, apartments, villas, and B&Bs available, check it out and make a reservation here.

Where to stay in Bellagio

There are hotels, apartments, villas, and condo-hotels available, check it out and make a reservation here.


This is an excerpt from the book “Lake Como” by Enrico Massetti. You can buy the full book here.