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Lake Como


Lake Como

Lake Como
Panoramic view of Lake Como with Grigna Mountains and Bellagio
Location Lombardy, Italy
Primary inflows Adda River, Mera River
Primary outflows Adda River
Catchment area 4,509 km2 (1,741 sq mi)[1]
Basin countries Italy, Switzerland
Max. length 46 km
Max. width 4.5 km
Surface area 146 km²
Average depth 154 m[1]
Max. depth 425 m
Water volume 22.5 km³
Residence time 5.5 years[1]
Shore length1 160 km
Surface elevation 198 m[1]
Islands Isola Comacina
Settlements Como, Lecco (see section)
References [1]
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Lake Como (Lago di Como or locally in Italian, also known as Lario , after the Latin name of the lake; Lach de Comm[2] in Lombard; Latin: Larius Lacus) is a lake of glacial origin in Lombardy, Italy. It has an area of 146 square kilometres (56 sq mi), making it the third-largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. At over 400 metres (1,300 feet) deep, it is one of the deepest lakes in Europe, and the bottom of the lake is more than 200 metres (660 ft) below sea level.

Lake Como has been a popular retreat for aristocrats and wealthy people since Roman times, and a very popular tourist attraction with many artistic and cultural gems. It has many villas and palaces (such as

  • Ferry Services on Italian Lakes - Lake Como, official site of the Gestione Governativa Navigazione Laghi
  • Lake Como at DMOZ
  • Lake Como Photo Gallery
  • A documentary about the Lake by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

External links

  • Macadam, Alta (1997). Blue Guide. Northern Italy: From the Alps to Bologna. London: A & C Black. ISBN 0-7136-4294-7.
  • Villa,


  1. ^ a b c d e "Laghi italiani". Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia. Retrieved 2006-11-17. 
  2. ^ /la:k dekɔ̆m/
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ The meaning of Larian is "related to the Lake Como", since the Latin name of Lake Como was Larius. So, the expression Triangolo lariano, or, in English, Larian Triangle, means exactly "Lake Como Triangle" or "Triangle of the Lake Como".
  6. ^ Lake Como holidays,, April 20, 2010
  7. ^ 2006 Kiteboard Pro World Tour event, Lake Como,, June 6, 2006
  8. ^ Francis W Halsey, ed. (1914). Seeing Europe with Famous Authors VIII. Funk & Wagnells. 
  9. ^ See Infoparchi, Villa Carlotta;, Villa Carlotta; Macadam, Alta
  10. ^ See Infoparchi, Villa Melzi.
  11. ^ Massimo Gozzi, "History of Navigation on Lake Como", Gestione Governativa Navigazione Laghi, 2007, pp 1–2.
  12. ^ "General Management", Gestione Governativa Navigazione Laghi, 2007.
  13. ^ ‘Autumn Timetable 2009’, Gestione Governativa Navigazione Laghi.
  14. ^ M.G.H. Poetae Karolini Aevi, I, pp. 42-43:
  15. ^


See also

Shoreline of Como from inside Lake Como
View of Lecco and the Lake of Como, branch of Lecco, from "Ciresa plain" on Mt. Barro.
Lake Como seen from the city of Como.
Lake Como seen from Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo, near the centre of the lake.


Lake Como is the setting of the annual Classic cycling race, the Giro di Lombardia (Tour of Lombardy).


  • The 1995 movie A Month by the Lake was filmed in various locations around Lake Como.
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002 film): Some of the scenes that take place on planet Naboo were shot at Villa del Balbianello, including the clandestine marriage of Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala.
  • In the film Ocean's Twelve, the infamous thief Francois Toulour, a.k.a. The Night Fox, resides in the Villa Erba estate in Lake Como, where he has several encounters with Daniel Ocean, his rival thief.
  • Locations around Lake Como appear several times in the James Bond movie Casino Royale: Villa del Balbianello plays the hospital where James Bond recuperates, and in the final scene, Bond hunts down Mr. White at his Lake Como estate, Villa La Gaeta.
  • Gwen Stefani's music video "Cool" was filmed in Villa Erba on the banks of Lake Como and other locations around the lake.
  • The music video for John Legend's "All of Me" was filmed at the lake.
  • In the episode "Interpol agents about Lake Como, which he studied extensively on his flight to Europe, and realizes they are not from Interpol when one of the agents makes a mistake by identifying an annual boating festival as "palaces" instead.
  • In Series 21 of the British television series Top Gear (2002 TV series), Richard Hammond races around the perimeter of the lake in an Alfa Romeo 4C while Jeremy Clarkson uses a Gibbs Quadski.
  • In 1997 on the American Daytime Drama, The Bold and the Beautiful, Stephanie Forrester (Susan Flannery) tosses long-time rival Sally Spectra (Darlene Conley) into Lake Como after Sally tries to prevent Stephanie from getting to her own wedding.
  • Alfred Hitchcock filmed on the shores of the lake Como one of his first films The Pleasure Garden in 1925[15]

Depictions in popular culture

Lake Como at Lecco

References in literature

Cities and villages on Lake Como
Western shore
from North to South
South shore
from West to East
Eastern shore
from North to South

The Parco Meier, a public garden at Tremezzo

Villages, resorts, and other remarkable localities near the lake

In 2003, the Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy, including that of Ossuccio, were added by UNESCO to the World Heritage List.

The Sacro Monte di Ossuccio ("Holy Mount of Ossuccio") is a sanctuary located on a hillside slope between olive groves and woods along the western edge of Lake Como facing Isola Comacina. Fifteen Baroque inspired chapels, built between 1635 and 1710, and dedicated to the Mysteries of the Rosary are dotted along the way that leads to the Monastery. This building is the last in the chain and is dedicated to the Coronation of the Virgin.

Chapel 5 of Sacro Monte di Ossuccio. Disputation with the Doctors

Sacro Monte di Ossuccio

The steamship Concordia and the car ferry Plinio.
  • Motorship services along the western branch and northern end of the Lake (between Colico or Piona and Como town), with additional shuttles to the mid-lake area.
  • Fast services that follow broadly the same route, but use faster hydrofoils, stop less frequently, and cost extra.
  • Ferries that run only between the popular mid-lake villages of Menaggio, Bellagio, and Varenna, plus Cadenabbia. Some of these boats carry vehicles as well as passengers.[13]

Today there are three main services:

The Lake Como ferry service is a highly developed public transport system linking the many small towns around the Lake. A motorized service began in 1826 when a steamship with sails, the “Lario”, was launched by the newly established Società privilegiata per l'impresa dei battelli a vapore nel Regno Lombardo Veneto. Since 1952 the system has been run under the auspices of a government organization called first the Gestione Commissariale Governativa and subsequently the Gestione Governativa Navigazione Laghi, which is also responsible for services on Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda.[11][12]


Villa Serbelloni, also in Bellagio, hosts the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, a 50-acre (200,000 m2) international conference center set up and managed by the Rockefeller Foundation since 1959, which also operates a "scholar-in-residence" program for scholars from around the world. This is believed to have been the site of Pliny the Younger’s villa "Tragedia". Its well-known park was created at the end of the 18th century by Alessandro Serbelloni.

Villa Melzi d'Eril in Bellagio was built in neo-classical style by architect Giocondo Albertolli in 1808–10 as the summer residence of Duke Francesco Melzi d'Eril, who was vice-president of the Napoleonic Italian Republic. The park includes an orangery, a private chapel, fine statues, and a Japanese garden, and is planted, as often on lake Como, with huge rhododendrons. 19th-century guests at the Villa included Stendhal and Franz Liszt.[10]

Villa del Balbianello, famous for its elaborate terraced gardens, lies on a promontory of the western shore of the lake near Isola Comacina. Built in 1787 on the site of a Franciscan monastery, it was the final home of the explorer Guido Monzino and today houses a museum devoted to his work.

United Kingdom. The landscaped gardens in the English style are a product of this period. Later in the century it was turned into a luxury hotel. Today the Villa d’Este is known for attracting celebrity guests.

Romantic style. The villa today includes a museum of agricultural implements as well as important works of sculpture by Sommariva’s friend Antonio Canova and by Luigi Acquisti.[9]

The lake is well known for the attractive villas that have been built there since Roman times, when Pliny the Younger built the Comedia and the Tragedia resorts. Many villas on the lake shores have admirable gardens that benefit from the mild climate induced by the stabilising presence of 22.5 km³ of lake water and are fit to host tropical plants.

Lake Como from lakeside villa
Villa del Balbianello.
Villa Melzi d'Eril.
Villa Carlotta.

Lakeside villas

As a tourist destination, Lake Como is popular for its landscapes, wildlife, and spas.[6] It is a venue for sailing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing.[7] In 1818 Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote to Thomas Love Peacock: "This lake exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty, with the exception of the arbutus islands of Killarney. It is long and narrow, and has the appearance of a mighty river winding among the mountains and the forests".[8]


Lake Como weather is generally mild. It is known for its Mediterranean-like climate where sub-tropical plants can grow year-round. In the winter, the lake helps to maintain a higher temperature in the surrounding region. Average daily temperatures range from about 2 °C (36 °F) in January to 30 °C (86 °F) in July. Water temperatures can reach an average of 24 °C (75 °F) during the month of July. Snowfall is erratic and primarily affects the higher elevations. Rainfall is heaviest in May and lowest during the winter months.


The mountainous pre-alpine territory between the two southern arms of the lake (between Como, Bellagio, and Lecco) is known as the Larian Triangle,[5] or Triangolo lariano. The source of the river Lambro is here. At the centre of the triangle, the town of Canzo is the seat of the Comunità montana del Triangolo lariano, an association of the 31 municipalities that represent the 71,000 inhabitants of the area.

Lake Como is fed primarily by the Adda River, which enters the lake near Colico and flows out at Lecco. This geological conformation makes the southwestern branch a dead end, and so Como, unlike Lecco, is often flooded.

The lake is shaped much like the letter "Y". The northern branch begins at the town of Colico, while the towns of Como and Lecco sit at the ends of the southwestern and southeastern branches respectively. The small towns of Bellagio, Menaggio and Lierna are situated at the intersection of the three branches of the lake: a triangular boat service operates between them. The Lierna area is an historical charming site of the lake with a white beach and a famous castle.

Aerial photograph of Lake Como, showing its distinctive three-armed shape.


While the town of Como is referred to as Como, the lake is never referred to solely by this name. This is not true of another lake in Italy, Lake Garda, where Garda may refer to either the town fronting the lake, or the lake.

The lake's name in Latin is Larius, Italianised as Lario, but this name is rarely used; it is usually called Lago di Como (literally "lake of Como"). In guidebooks the lake may be variously referred to as Lake Como, Lake of Como, or Como Lake. Its name comes from the city of Como, known to the Romans as Comum.



  • Etymology 1
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
  • Tourism 3
    • Lakeside villas 3.1
    • Ferries 3.2
    • Sacro Monte di Ossuccio 3.3
  • Villages, resorts, and other remarkable localities near the lake 4
  • References in literature 5
  • Depictions in popular culture 6
  • Sports 7
  • Gallery 8
  • See also 9
  • Notes 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12

[4]. Lake Como is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe.Pierina Legnani, and Ben Spies, Richard Branson, Julian Lennon, Sylvester Stallone, Ronaldinho, Gianni Versace [3]

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