Even though we do love living in Milan, there are weeks where everyone needs a break from city life. The best part about living in a geographically central city such as Milan is that there are ample opportunities to go to nearby places in Europe for a visit. Most of the big European cities are not more than an hour and a half away by flight, and budget airlines have made travelling much cheaper these days. However, if you do want to take a short break from Milan and still not go too far away, fear not, Italy itself has some amazing little towns that you can visit just in the course of a day.
The town of Como is a perfect getaway for a weekend day trip. Situated on the banks of Lago di Como and encircled by the Alps on three sides, this picturesque town exudes Italian small town charm. Como is famous not only because of the various celebrities that own villas there (eg. George Clooney) but also for its laid back atmosphere, rich cultural history and of course, the lakeside view.
A few suggestions about what you can do in Como in the course of a day:
- Walk through the historical city center area and visit the Duomo (the main Cathedral), which is commonly described as the last Gothic cathedral built in Italy. There are several other medieval churches and structures along the way that merit attention as well.
- Stroll through the scenic path by the lake, and you can even take a short boat or a ferry ride around the Lago di Como.
- At the end of the path by the lake, there is a beautiful public garden that is worth visiting, which also has the famous the neoclassical structure of the Tempio Voltiano and the Volta Museum (incidentally Como was the birthplace of the famous Italian physicist, Alessandro Volta, known universally for designing the first electric cell circuit).
- If you have some more time, you can take the funicular railway to the tiny village of Brunate, which has about 1800 inhabitants. The view of the lake from top of the mountain is exquisite and is 715 meters above sea level. For those of you interested in hiking, there are a lot of scenic hiking paths on the mountain as well.
For more information about Como, visit their official tourism website over here.
Como is well connected from Milan and is just an hour away from the city by train. Trains to Como leave frequently every day from the Stazione Centrale of Milan, as well as Cadorna, and stop right downtown, near the lake (the Como Lago stop). For more information on train schedules, have a look at the Trenitalia and Le Nord websites.