Your essential guides to Lake Como

Guide
Find your bearings

 

Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como is set in the 18th-century Villa Roccabruna in the charming village of Blevio on the southeastern shore of Lake Como. Ease yourself into lakeside living with a stroll around the majestic botanic gardens that surround the villa, before hopping onto a Riva boat for a cruise along the shore to admire the magnificent neighbouring villas. On subsequent days, venture further afield to historic Como for dining and shopping, to beautiful Bellagio for a touch of la dolce vita and the small island of Isola Comacina – where you can take a tour and even enjoy a drink in the Osteria.

Feed your mind

 

Lakeside living is a leisurely affair, but can be interspersed with excursions to nearby towns and villages. In Como, visit the spectacular Duomo, the last of the great Gothic cathedrals to be built in Lombardy, which is filled with three-centuries’ worth of frescoes and treasures. At Lenno, you’ll find Villa del Balbianello, a villa and garden so beautiful it has featured in numerous Hollywood films, most recently Casino Royale. Come sundown, book in for the opera or a classical concert at Como’s neoclassical Teatro Sociale, where mezzo soprano Giuditta Pasta, one-time owner of Villa Roccabruna, once performed.
Shop like a local

 

The mediaeval core of Como is full of bijoux boutiques selling all the finer things in life, such as perfectly curated leisurewear, silk accessories, handmade jewellery and wine. Follow the chic crowd to Benzoni Gioielli for fine jewellery fashioned in a sleek Modernist style, and then on to 18 dal Pero for Como silk scarves and seductively soft handbags. Modish Milanese men caught out in a lakeside storm should head to A.Gi.Emme for lightweight jackets and cashmere cardigans in soft pastels. Excellent local Lombardy wines can be found at vintage deli Castiglioni and you can stock up on rare mountain honey at the covered market, Mercato Coperto. Also worth a wander is Via Vitani, one of the oldest and most atmospheric streets in Como, lined with antique and vintage galleries.

See some sights
Toast your arrival

 

There’s nowhere better to start your evening than CO.MO Bar & Bistrot at Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como, where original cocktails and all-time classics are served up with a parade of amuse-bouche out on a terrace overlooking the mountain-framed lake.

Make time to unwind

Dine in style 

 

While at the resort, enjoy creative seasonal dishes at L˜ARIA, on one of the loveliest terraces on the lake.

For a dash of even more glamour, book a table at Il Gatto Nero on the opposite side of the lake in Cernobbio. It’s one of George and Amal Clooney’s favourite haunts and features a fish-focused menu – and dishes are served up beside spectacular views. For those in search of a smart lunch in Como, try Davide Maci’s contemporary dining room The Market Place, which has a focus on seasonal ingredients.

And finally...

Como is famous for its seaplanes and has one of the oldest Aero Clubs in the world, founded in 1930. Take off from the water for a thrilling tour over the lake, its villas and villages – there’s no better way to see it