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Alpine Beauty and Lakeside Tranquillity

Set at the south-western tip of Y-shaped Lake Como, the town of Como offers wonderful views of the surrounding Alps. A funicular railway runs up to the village of Brunate from where you can see Switzerland on the opposite shore.

The peaceful location has long been a favourite with celebrities, but the town has been around since Roman times. In fact, 2 of its most famous sons – Pliny the Elder and Younger – are commemorated in statues on the façade of the 14th-century cathedral. The next door Broletto dates to the previous century, and even older are the remains of the medieval walls and Castello Baradello, sitting on a hill overlooking the town.

Much more modern in style is the Casa del Fascio, built during Mussolini’s rule. The streets between here and the waterfront are packed with shops, bars and restaurants, and Lake Como boat trips depart from the small marina.

The neighbouring park houses a temple-like museum about Alessandro Volta (another former resident), and around the shoreline is elegant Villa Olmo which looks across landscaped gardens to the water’s edge.

The Como accommodation on Booking.com includes luxury lakefront hotels, town centre B&Bs and cheap apartments near San Giovanni Train Station, which offers direct services to Milan.