Tag Archives: Lake Como

Lake Como’s Centro Lago

Lake Como's Centro Lago

In this third and final part of a trilogy of posts on Lake Como, we visit Villa Carlotta, Bellagio and Varenna. I’m just going to write a few words about each location, with a picture gallery including captions after each one.



On the western shore of the Ramo di Como where it reaches the Centro Lago (Central Lake) lies Tremezzo, a village boasting many fine villas, but none more so than Villa Carlotta.

Built at the end of the 17th century for marquis Giorgio Clerici II, a member of a powerful Milanese family, it was bought in 1801 by Gian Battista Sommariva, a well-known Italian politician and major art collector. The villa became a major stopping place on the Grand Tour, and fortunately for the modern-day traveller many of the classical sculptures that he acquired are still here: Not so fortunate though is the fact that I can’t show you any of them because photography is not permitted inside the villa.

All is not lost though because not only does the villa have a splendid interior, it also has some magnificent gardens with views to match. The villa was named after Carlotta Nassau who was given it as a wedding present for her marriage to Giorgio II, a keen botanist who turned the grounds into a garden lover’s paradise.

The timing of our visit to Villa Carlotta was less than perfect for visiting the gardens as most of the summer colour had gone over, but even so, if visiting the villa was good enough for those doing the Grand Tour, it was most definitely good enough for me.

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Sailing around the Ramo di Como

Sailing around the Ramo di Como

This post is a follow-up to my previous one on the city of Como, and follows the same format, consisting of a brief explanation followed by a picture gallery.

Before anyone thinks that I’ve got a yacht of my own moored up at a luxurious lakeside villa somewhere, I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint you: I might gain a few extra followers if I lied, but the truth is I would need pockets as deep as the lake itself to be able to afford to live like that – and I haven’t. If you’ve also got the same type of pockets as me, you might be pleased to learn that the public motorships that ply the lake are a great way of taking everything in without it costing a fortune.

Lake Como is actually shaped like an inverted ‘Y’ and composed of three branches – Colico, Lecco and Como – which meet in the Centro Lago at the picturesque town of Bellagio. The River Adda feeds the lake and enters it near Colico in the north, and finally flows out of it at Lecco in the south-east, but it’s not the only source of water as there are around 36 other tributaries.

This 600 ft deep lake was originally a glacier and is surrounded by a magnificent landscape, which includes the Grigne mountain range whose highest peak is the Legnone at 2609 metres (8559 ft). With all this fabulous scenery around it’s not surprising that many famous people have owned villas here – and who can blame them?

The Ramo di Como is the Como branch of Lake Como, and hopefully the picture gallery will give you an idea of what you can expect to see from one of the boats operated by Navigazione Laghi. They criss-cross the lake, and so they can be used as a hop on-hop off service, but we stayed on board until we reached the Centro Lago (Central Lake).

To try and make sense of it all, I’ve put together a selection of pictures in the gallery which follows the western shore going north from Como to the Centro Lago, and the eastern shore going south for the return journey.

You would need a lot more time than we had available to cover the whole lake and its villages and towns, but in the next and final part of this trilogy of picture galleries I’ll be describing some of the places we saw around the Centro Lago, so I hope this post will whet your appetite enough to come back one more time.

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