We suggest you a one-week itinerary that will allow you to discover Bellagio and its surroundings.
You will have the opportunity to visit gardens and villas and discover the history of a wonderful area surrounded by the lake and the mountains that enhance it. We remind you that the lake is served by a large transport network and all the places mentioned can be reached by public transport by bus or by lake.
MONDAY: DISCOVERING BELLAGIO
Our day in Bellagio starts discovering the hamlet of Borgo and the other hamlets of the town using the itineraries that can be found in the PromoBellagio office in the Church Square. Follow them to discover the hamlets of Bellagio as Pescallo, an ancient fishing village, with a beautiful view of the Lecco branch and Grigne mountains, Loppia, where you can still see a specimen of ancient ”Gondola Lariana” up to reach San Giovanni where we suggest you to visit the Museum of Navigational Instruments or Visgnola, where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the promontory of Bellagio and the surrounding lake. In case you are tired or you do not want to walk all the way around you can use the Bellagio tourist train that reaches all these hamlets and whose ticket is valid all day. Do not miss the gardens of Villa Melzi , a wonderful example of English garden with trees and flowers from all over the world, where you can also visit the small family chapel and the museum. In the afternoon we suggest you to visit the Cycling Museum and the Sanctuary of Madonna del Ghisallo located in Magreglio. They can be reached by bus C36 or by bicycle. The Museum preserves the jerseys and bicycles of many runners who have made the history of cycling. In addition to the Museum and the Sanctuary, from this place you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the lake and its mountains.
TUESDAY: DISCOVERING TREMEZZINA
We head with the boat to Lenno, a town full of religious buildings, where you can find one of the most beautiful villas on the Lake: Villa del Balbianello. Here we visit the market of the town that runs along the lakefront, and the Villa del Balbianello , built in the late 1700s, whose verdant garden is immersed in the blue of the lake. To reach the villa you can use a regular private motorboat service departing near the Lido di Lenno or reach it on foot in about 20 minutes from the Lido.
After visiting Lenno, following the Greenway itinerary we can reach in about 1 hour Villa Carlotta , a marvelous villa built around 1690 surrounded by an immense botanical park full of various floral and arboreal species and located in Tremezzo. Also reachable by tourist train or by lake.
WEDNESDAY: DISCOVERING VILLA SERBELLONI AND BELLANO
Let’s start the day visiting Villa Serbelloni with a guided tour that starts at 11 and lasts 1 and a half hours (meeting point Medieval Tower / Promobellagio office). The Villa belongs to the Rockefeller Foundation which currently uses it as a study center and conference center and its park extends throughout the Bellagio promontory from which you can enjoy multiple views of the branches of the lake. In the afternoon we take the boat to Bellano where we visit the centre and the famous Orrido (about 10 minutes walk from the pier). The Orrido is a waterfall located in a natural gorge created by the Pioverna river.
THURSDAY: DISCOVERING MENAGGIO
We start the day with a boat ride to Menaggio, a town located in the central area of the lake on the western shore. It is made off three hamlets: Croce, Loveno and Nobiallo. Menaggio has a romantic walk that runs through the center, an ancient village and many churches. In the morning we visit the village following the itineraries available at the Tourist Office of Menaggio while in the afternoon we walk (about 30 minutes) to Loveno, to visit the Villa Mylius Vigoni which was home of the German banker and patron Heinrich Mylius, who bought it in 1829 and is surrounded by a beautiful English park. The Villa is closed in August and offers a guided tour every Thursday (call 034436123 to book). After the visit which lasts an hour and a half, we will return on foot in the center of Menaggio.
FRIDAY: DISCOVERING VARENNA
Varenna can be reached by boat or ferrie departing from Bellagio every hour enjoying one of the most spectacular views of the entire Lake. From the pier we walk the romantic “Passeggiata degli Innamorati” (walk of lovers) and then go up to the Vezio Castle (about 45 minutes of uphill walk), dating back to 1300, erected to defend and control the Lake and surrounding villages from the Longobard queen Teodolinda; it houses a falconry center inside.In case of bad weather the Castle is closed.
After the visit we return to the center of Varenna, wonderful town with colorful houses. Here we visit the Villa Cipressi which is one of the most interesting architectural aspects of the late Renaissance, to which neoclassical contributions have been added. The Villa has a wonderful garden composed mainly of rows of cypress trees. The interior of the Villa can not be visited as it has been used as a hotel and therefore only the park can be visited. Then we visit the Villa Monastero which is the center for studies, congresses and conferences in Varenna. The central core of the Villa is composed of the Casa Museo which is entirely accessible to the public with its exhibition itinerary developed in 14 rooms. The Villa is surrounded by a botanical garden that stretches for almost 2 kilometers along the lake front from Varenna to Fiumelatte. From here we can reach the town of Fiumelatte in about 30 minutes, where there is the shortest river in Italy with its characteristic milk-white color that makes it very famous.
SATURDAY: DISCOVERING COMO
Como can be reached in many ways: bus, hydrofoil or boat. This morning we opt for the hydrofoil, the fastest way to reach it (about 40 minutes). Once in the city we will take a walk on the wonderful lakefront and visit the famous The Life Eletric, a sculpture made of steel dedicated to Alessandro Volta. Then we will visit the Volta Temple, which was erected on the shores of Lake Como in 1927 for the celebration of the centenary of the death of Alessandro Volta. Inside are preserved busts, bas-reliefs and relics of the scientist. Our visit continues to the Cathedral of Como, one of the greatest examples of late Gothic in Northern Italy. The construction of the Duomo started in 1396 and almost four hundred years were used to build it. The Church opens for visits at 10:30. After the visit of the Duomo we go to the market of the city that takes place behind the medieval walls. In the afternoon we visit Brunate, a village above Como that can be reached with the funicular. In Brunate you can enjoy a beautiful view of the lake, the Alps and the city of Como. Here you can find the Voltiano Lighthouse, built for the centenary of the death of Alessandro Volta to celebrate the advent of a modern lighting network and for the diffusion of the electricity in the city of Como.
SUNDAY: DISCOVERING THE NORTHERN PART OF THE LAKE
Our day begins by taking the boat and going to Varenna. From the pier in about 10 minutes we reach the station of Varenna where we take the train to Colico. From Colico station in about 20 minutes we reach the Forte Montecchio Nord which is the best preserved First World War fortress in Europe, open with visits every hour (check the timetables on the website) Here we buy the cumulative ticket also for visit the other Fort present at Colico, the Fort of Fuentes built in 1603 that describes the Spanish domination of the XVII in the State of Milan. From here we go to the pier of Colico where we take the hydrofoil to reaach Dongo, a village located on the western shore of the lake that has now become a tourist destination. Here in April 1945 Mussolini was captured and recently was opened the Museum of the End of War.
OTHER THINGS TO SEE AND DO AROUND BELLAGIO
We suggest you other places to visit in case you have additional time available
in August the Villa Mylius Vigoni will be closed so you could visit Porlezza, a renowned tourist destination overlooking Lake Lugano, famous for its church dedicated to San Vittore. To reach Porlezza you can take the C12 bus to Lugano or Porlezza.
On Sundays, for lovers of Italian literature, we suggest you to visit Lecco, the city of “Promessi Sposi” (literary novel written by Alessandro Manzoni) and the Orobie Prealps surrounding it. The city still preserves the remains of the city walls, the moat and the bridge built in the fourteenth century at the behest of the Visconti. In the morning you could follow the Manzonian itinerary which runs through the city to relive it as it was at the time of Manzoni. In the afternoon you can visit the church of San Nicolò which is the symbol of the city of Lecco. Here you can climb to the top of the bell tower of the church where you can enjoy a splendid view (you must book on the site www.campaniledilecco.it).
With the C30 bus to Como we can reach Nesso, a small town situated at about 18 km from Bellagio, where we can visit the village, the waterfall and the gorge, famous throughout the Lake. The road followed by the bus is panoramic on the edge of the lake and will allow you to enjoy magnificent views of the lake and the villages that overlook it.