LAKE COMO — Bellagio

Found on the southern shore of Lake Como, Bellagio is known as the Pearl of the Lake and is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in Europe by some visitors. It has a great location between the two ‘legs’ of Como and Lecco and enjoys a mild climate for most of the year which makes it a favourite spot for visitors to the area. It is easily reached by one of the many ferries that travel around the lake but it can also be reached by the C30 bus from Como. It is a lakeside town and because of this you can take some lovely lakeside walks with plenty of benches so you can sit down and take in the scenery. There are plenty of places to stay and lots of lovely restaurants to sample. The centre of the town is around the waterfront and from here cobbled lanes rise up the hill. The main street is Via Garibaldi which is very pretty and has shops, cafes and Bellagio’s main town square, Piazza San Giacomo, or Piazza della Chiesa. On the square is a church, the tourist office housed in a medieval tower which was once part of Bellagio’s defences and a fountain in the centre.

The sights found here are:
Train Tour Around Bellagio
Villa Serbelloni
San Giacomo Church
San Giorgio Church
Villa Melzi
Santa Maria di Loppia Church
San Giovanni Church
Museum of Navigation Instruments
Collection of Articles in common use in the Past

Train Tour Around Bellagio
In the summer months there is a little tourist train which takes you on a 20-minute tour towards the hamlet of San Giovanni. It’s not a hugely scenic route as the roads don’t run along the lakeshore. It can be fun especially if you are travelling with children. The departure point is indicated by a notice-board, near the car-ferry jetty.
For more information about the tourist train visit the following website at: http://www.bellagiolakecomo.com/Ing/Inglese/______General_information

Villa Serbelloni

Villa Serbelloni
Villa Serbelloni is a large, grand building on the slopes of the Bellagio promontory that now operates as a hotel and conference centre. The grounds contain the wooded hill behind the town and these dominate the headland and the centre of Lake Como. You can visit the gardens and grounds on organised tours, which take place twice a day. Tickets are sold before the commencement of the tour at the Promo Bellagio office in the little medieval tower in Bellagio’s main square, opposite the church. Numbers are restricted so you will need to be on time. Information can be found at the tourist office or on the board outside it in the main square. The villa dates from the 18th century and it is furnished with beautiful works of art and the gardens were built when the villa passed into the hands of Alessandro Serbelloni in 1788. The villa was sold in 1905 and then transformed into a hotel but in 1930 it was bought by the American heiress, Ella Walker who left the property to the Rockefeller Foundation which organises conferences and retreats for scientists and artists, who work in the little chalets dotted around the grounds.
For more information about the hotel visit the website at: http://www.villaserbelloni.com
For more information about visiting the gardens visit the website at: http://www.bellagiolakecomo.com/Ing/Inglese/______General_information

Traveller's Tip

Be aware that if you take the tour of the grounds you will not be allowed to take photographs of the building. There is a lot of walking on the tour, mostly on gravelly paths so you will need sensible shoes. Uphill sections are at a gentle gradient.
San Giacomo Church

San Giacomo Church
This church was built between 1075 and 1125 and is a wonderful example of Roman-Lombard art. It is worth visiting inside for the frescoes and statues as well as the beautiful mosaics. It is found at the top of Bellagio in the town’s main square — Piazza San Giacomo.

San Giorgio Church

San Giorgio Church
This Romanesque church was built between 1080 and 1120 and is found at the beginning of Via Garibaldi in the upper part of the town of Bellagio. Inside the church is a wooden statue of the Madonna of the Belt.

Villa Melzi

Villa Melzi
This villa was built in 1808 as a summer residence for Francesco Melzi who was a former vice president of the Napoleonic Italian Republic. The grounds of the villa contain a park with sculptures, a Japanese garden known for its beautiful azaleas and rhododendrons, an orangery and a chapel. It is open from the end of March through to the beginning of November and admission includes the museum and neo-classical chapel but the villa itself is not open to the public as it is still occupied by members of the Melzi family. The gardens are just magnificent and you should take a few hours just to wander through them to see the beautiful statues, flowerbeds and the chapel. There is a very peaceful view of the lake from these gardens and because they are so huge you can wander through them without being disturbed by others.
For more information about visiting the gardens visit the website at: http://www.giardinidivillamelzi.it

Santa Maria di Loppia Church

Santa Maria di Loppia Church
This small church is found in the hamlet of Loppia in the private park of the Villa Gerli. Loppia is found at the end of the garden of the Villa Melzi or if you are travelling on foot from Bellagio it would take you about 15 minutes by the road. The church is built in the Romanesque style with a bell tower crowned by small arches. Entry is closed to the public.

San Giovanni Church

San Giovanni Church
This Baroque church is found in the hamlet of San Giovanni and it is the oldest church in Bellagio. It was built on the remains of another much older church. The church you see today is a result of renovations in 1785. San Giovanni is found on the road leading from the centre of Bellagio to Como and will take you around 25 minutes to walk. In summer it can be reached by boat or you can take the little tourist train. Inside the church are some beautiful and ornate sculptures and a highlight is an altar-piece of The Risen Christ by Gaudenzio Ferrari.

Museum of Navigation Instruments
This museum is found in the hamlet of San Giovanni in an old tower-shaped house. There are over 200 objects displayed here including 18th century Venetian telescopes, compasses, sundials, chronometers and a brass planetarium.
For more information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.bellagiomuseo.com

Collection of Articles in common use in the Past
This museum is housed in an old kitchen and is found in the hamlet of Suira. It contains hundreds of objects from daily life a century ago such as pots and pans, washing utensils, embroidery, toys and so on.