Summer in Milan can be scorching, but not far from the fashion and design capital is a verified oasis, Lake Como. Our students each summer enjoy a day trip to the city of Como to explore the shores of one of Italy’s northern lakes. Saturday afternoon we pack our daypacks, hope on a train at Cadorna Station and in 40 minutes arrive to Como Lago Nord to tackle a day at the lake.
Below is a quick view of 7 things students do during our day trip to this charming lake town.*
1. Funicular Fun: A short five minute walk from Como Lago Nord Station is the funicular to Brunate (a small town above Como). Our first stop is to head up to the top for breathtaking views of the lake and town. Sometimes we get lucky and on a clear day it’s possible to see the skyscrapers of Milan in the distance facing away from the Lake. It’s so close!
Some students opt to stay at the top and hike their way up to the lighthouse or even stay to have lunch with a view!
2. Cruise the Lake:
Another option is to take a little boat ride either with the paddle boats or with one of the larger one hour tours boats to breeze along the water and get a little fresh of air and a different perspective of the lake.
3. Hit the Beach:
Lido Olmo is a popular spot for our summer students, especially when it’s scorching and all you want is to grab a lounger, an umbrella, and jump in the water!
4. Admire the Sites:
Basilica di Sant’Abbondio: About 500m south of the city walls is the remarkable 11th-century Romanesque Basilica di Sant’Abbondio. Aside from its proud, high structure and impressive apse decorated with a beautiful geometric relief around the outside windows, the highlights are the extraordinary frescoes inside the apse. Depicting scenes from the life of Christ, from the Annunciation to his burial, the frescoes were restored to their former glory in the 1990s. A university occupies what was once the cloister. To get a closer glimpse of the apse exterior, stroll into its grounds.
Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta (Duomo di Como): Although largely Gothic in style, elements of Romanesque, Renaissance and baroque can also be seen in Como’s imposing, marble-clad duomo . The cathedral was built between the 14th and 18th centuries, and is crowned by a high octagonal dome.
Villa Olmo: Set facing the lake, the grand creamy facade of neoclassical Villa Olmo is one of Como’s biggest landmarks. The extravagant structure was built in 1728 by the Odescalchi family, related to Pope Innocent XI. If there’s an art exhibition showing, you’ll get to admire the sumptuous Liberty-style interiors. Otherwise, you can enjoy the Italianate and English gardens.
5. Get lost in the narrow streets and shop!
6. Enjoy a passeggiata:
Passeggiata Lino Gelpi: One of Como’s most charming walks is the lakeside stroll west from Piazza Cavour. Passeggiata Lino Gelpi leads past the Monumento ai Caduti , a 1931 memorial to Italy’s WWI dead and a classic example of Brutalist Architecture. Next you’ll pass a series of mansions and villas, including Villa Saporiti and Villa Gallia , both now owned by the provincial government and closed to the public, before arriving at the garden-ringed Villa Olmo.
7. Eat some gelato and people watch. Enough said!
* Every summer term the specific activities during our Como day trip change, based on the weather, number of students participating, and what the group would like to do.