Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como, Italy

Guidebook: Introduction

Welcome To Lake Como!

Nowhere is la dolce vita sweeter than in Italy’s lovely Lake Region, and Lake Como is the sugar on top. Snow-capped Alpine peaks tower over azure waters, making this area one of Europe’s most desirable destinations. One taste of Lake Como and you’ll want to come back for more!

The Quintess Beyond property, Villa Concetta, is in the picturesque village of Argegno, perfectly situated for convenience to the entire region. Built in 1911 by a Milanese industrialist, the house and garden have been fully restored preserving all the ancient details and materials. Marble and terracotta floors, doors, ironworks, decoration are original. The home enjoys a sunny hillside with amazing views of the lake. You can see from the headland of Bellagio to the north pre-Alps and as far as Nesso to the south. Just in front of the villa there is the classic S. Sisinnio church. Winston Churchill immortalized the church in a watercolor that he painted from the same garden where you’ll be sipping prosecco!

From Argegno, the entire lake is yours. Hire a private launch and zip around getting up close and personal with the many magnificent villas adorning its shores. (Do not harass Mr. Clooney, as he may become cranky.) Public ferries are also plentiful and a great way to go from town to town.

The seasick set will enjoy the Greenway Walk. This well-posted path takes you through the hills and the villages of Sala Comacina, Ossucio, Lenno and Mezzegra. At five miles, it’s a comfortable stroll (and a great way to work off some gelato.)

Numerous festivals punctuate the year in this already festive region. Don’t miss the grape harvest and olive oil pressings in fall and the holiday markets in December! For foodies, the Lombardy region is paradise. The region combines the best of Italy with German, Spanish, Austrian and French influences and features sparklingly fresh fish. While you’ll want to enjoy a lot of the local restaurants, reserve at least one night to have a private chef perform a cooking demonstration and prepare a meal at the villa. It’s a wonderful way to learn more about the local cuisine.

Your Concierge Services

Daniel and Gabriela are your local concierges and they live in the apartment near the garage. Their standard working hours are 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Daniel will assist with all home issues and travel planning. Gabriela provides housekeeping services and is also an experienced home cook. Together, there’s not much Daniel and Gabriela can’t or won’t do. From cooking meals to personal laundry services, they are truly at your service!

Seven Days in Lake Como

After waking up to the gorgeous views of the lake and the Alps, enjoy brunch in the home out by the pool and just take it all in. After brunch, hop on one of the slow ferries to Bellagio, known as the “pearl of the lake.” Here you can admire the enchanting gardens and classical statues of Villa Melzi D’Eril. While Bellagio can be touristy, it is only because it is so beautiful and worth visiting with its charming shops, including true handblown glass making shops and romantic, picturesque walkways making it the perfect first day in Como!

Start the day by heading up north to Lenno and take the ferry to Villa Balbianello, which you will recognize from the Bond film “Casino Royale.” This is the most famous villa on the lake, with spectacular gardens and panoramic views. Stroll down the pedestrian road (about 20 minutes) and stop at Lido di Lenno, is a man-made beach where you can lounge under gazebos and order lunch and cocktails from the waiters while the children indulge in gelato. Lenno also has olive oil tasting during October and some wonderful culinary shops where you can buy food to cook at home. After Lenno, you won’t want to miss Villa Carlotta which is rich in art and beautiful botanical gardens – this is a ‘must see’ while in Lake Como. If time permits, stop in the town of Menaggio on your way home for an apertivo before dinner.

There is no shortage of outdoor activities on Lake Como. For the thrill-seekers, there is the Sci Nautico Lariano Water Skiing Club, which offers water skiing, wakeboarding, wakesurfing and wakeskating. Or for a more relaxed adventure, go horseback riding at Il Grillo or play a round of golf at The Menaggio & Cadenabbia Golf Club. Don’t be surprised if you see a celebrity—this is a favorite spot for George Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pritt when they stay on the lake. To burn off some of the delicious food and wine, you can also explore the Greenway walk, which takes you through the hills and villages of Sala Comacina, Ossucio, Lenno and Mezzegra.

What would a trip to Italy be without exploring the local wineries and culinary specialties? The Lake Como region has a cuisine that is typical of northern Italy with delicacies such as polenta, fresh cheeses and braesola. In addition, the area has an array of red and white wines that express the altitude and minerals in the soil. In one word: “Buonissimi!” To experience these culinary treats, head to the Valtellina valley for some wine tastings, walk around the charming town of Chiavenna and enjoy a wonderful lunch of local specialties. Your taste buds will thank you.

Stroll the cobblestone streets of Como and explore this wonderful, ancient town rich with history and great shopping. After Como, take the cable car to Brunate where you will be 800 meters above sea level and can admire the western Alps and the city of Como from afar. Head back to your villa early and have a wonderful meal prepared in the home and watch the sunset over the lake.

Whatever makes you tick, you will find it in Milan! This bustling city bursts with art, culture, fashion, industry, the famous risotto Milanese and more. You won’t want to miss seeing the Duomo, or the Last Supper located in the Santa Maria delle Grazie. For the fashionista, head straight to the famous Montenapoleone area which is Milan’s district for bleeding edge fashion. Lugano is located in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland and is a charming town with great shopping or you can stop in Foxtown. This is Europe’s largest fashion outlet and includes Gucci, Armani and Prada to name a few. If you’re feeling lucky, there is also a casino.

Before departing this magical area, take a stroll or drive down to Argegno and get a cappucino and pastry while sitting outside overlooking the lake. Don’t forget to take a lot of pictures of the breathtaking landscape and hopefully start thinking about your next trip back. Lago di Como ti aspetta! (Lake Como is waiting for you!)