Summer might be the most popular time for tourists to visit Lake Como area, but we think autumn is better for many reasons.
Here are five reasons why Lake Como should be on your list of places to visit this autumn.
1. Admire the “fall foliage”
Firstly, and perhaps the best reason to visit in the autumn, is to see the spectacular display of colour that the trees and other plants put on each year, turning the landscape into a palette of colors of great beauty.
With the local woodlands transforming into gorgeous shades of orange and gold, and the bright blue skies casting reflections on the water, you’ll have plenty of stunning scenery to to photograph and admire.
The park, located on the shores of Lake Como just after the church of San Bartolomeo a Tremezzina (loc. Tremezzo), is a small botanical and architectural jewel where there is a monumental staircase and an eighteenth-century tarocchiera made by the rationalist architect Lingeri in 1925.
The vegetation includes many noteworthy specimens, such as an elegant Devonian Pinus, a large camphor, an old Calocedrus decurrens, an avenue of plane trees in compulsory form and several Taxodium distichum, the unusual bald cypresses that sink their roots in the water.
In autumn, walking through the park, you can admire these arboreal jewels while savouring the beauty of a landscape rich in colours and emotions.
Built in neoclassical forms between 1808 and 1810, with its proportions the villa is integrated into the second promontory of Bellagio in an elegant way.
The greatest charm of the property lies in the extraordinary park overlooking the lake and in the devices adopted to expand optically the space, actually narrow, between the incipient hill (in turn monumental park) and the lake.
Visitors are welcomed by a small lake of water lilies, just beyond a Moorish style kiosk with an enchanting view of Bellagio and, in front of it, the monument to Dante and Beatrice del Comolli, which seems to have inspired Liszt’s Sonata a Dante. Along the lake and next to a splendid example of Pinus Montezuma there is an ancient Egyptian statue of the goddess Pacht together with others from Napoleon’s Egyptian countryside. This and much more awaits visitors in this park, which in 2016 was named “Italy’s most beautiful park“.
In autumn the fall foliage of the Gardens of Villa Melzi d’Eril is amazing: you can admire the elegant collection of Japanese maples (small cut trees with a very refined bearing where each leaf seems hand painted) full of intense and evocative colors.
From 23 March to 4 November 2019, daily from 9:30 to 18:30.
Park of Villa del Grumello
The seventeenth-century Villa del Grumello overlooks the first basin of Lake Como a few steps from the city center and is set in a park of great natural beauty and unique landscape.
The refinement of its rooms and the enchanting view make it historically one of the privileged residences on the banks of the lake of famous families: the Odescalchi, then the Giovio and from the second half of 800 Celesia.
Since 2006 the Associazione Villa del Grumello has started an ambitious project of recovery and enhancement of the various structures included in the real estate compendium, in addition to the redevelopment of the historic park that frames them, extending over 4 hectares.
The Parco del Grumello is articulated according to a romantic compositional design; the panoramic paths enhance the many viewpoints and the different environments: the majestic cedar and the group of maritime pines, the row of magnolias, the lake fed by the nearby source, in which grow lush lotus flowers, water lilies and other varieties. The parterre is embellished with essences typical of the lake area, with collections of aster, hydrangeas and anemones among the most significant in Italy. Among the different essences of the park, of particular value are the camphor plants, some redwoods and a centenary example of Ginko biloba.
In the Villa del Grumello in autumn, visitors can enjoy a unique experience of history, culture and above all nature, particularly suggestive when the colours of the chestnut season ignite.
Until the beginning of November, every Sunday and public holiday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., except on days when events are held.
Consult the website villadelgrumello.it
Park of Villa Olmo
Villa Olmo is located at the north-western end of the city of Como, at the end of the lakeside promenade of the villas of Borgo Vico (now known as the Lino Gelpi promenade), opened in 1957 to connect some of the most interesting patrician buildings in the city, built in the Baroque and Neoclassical periods. Walking along the promenade and admiring the elegant residences you can perceive that romantic and fascinating combination of landscape and ingenuity and taste of architects and gardeners that, between 1700 and 1800, made the shores of the lake the coveted destination of the Grand Tour of the European nobility and that Villa Olmo, with its park, still evokes today.
The area is characterized by the irregularity of the soil and vegetation, for the wide avenues that run through it, for the presence of the neoclassical temple and many exotic conifers and broad-leaved trees, such as the beautiful example of cedar of Lebanon / Cedrus Libani, 22.5 m high, located in the central body of the villa. Among the plants of great value are: a monumental horse chestnut/esculus hippocastanum, more than 26 m high, some specimens of plane trees / Platanus occidentalis secolari, a giant sequoia / Sequoiadendron Giganteum, a red beech / Fagus Sylvatica.
The park of Villa Olmo in autumn is surrounded by a magical atmosphere, the colors and suggestions of the autumn season give the walk that leads to the Villa, an exclusively pedestrian path, and the park an extremely romantic aspect:
the trees and gardens are tinged with gold and purple, the leaves of a vivid red climb up the walls and cover the path.
Park: from 1st October to 4th April, every day, from 7:00 to 19:00
Villa: from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The Duke’s Room on the first floor can be visited at the times indicated above with the accompaniment of cultural operators in the Villa.
Access is not allowed during temporary exhibitions and events.
2. Visit the villas away from the summer crowd
From the end of September to November, visiting villas and gardens is an experience not to be missed: in particular, on Lake Como, the warm shades of yellow and orange cover the mountains near the lake and the mild and pleasant temperatures make autumn the right time to visit the villas, enjoying unique and unforgettable views.
Villa Carlotta – Tremezzina
Villa Carlotta welcomes visitors on Lake Como, in Tremezzina, with a magnificent botanical park and rooms full of masterpieces of art.
In particular, in autumn the garden takes on a new charm.
Most of the blooms have finished its work of attracting pollinators (the magnificent flowers of the hydrangeas remain, however, to draw attention even when they have lost their characteristic color and turn to purple) and the park is preparing to rest.
The most curious will be able to delight their eyes by observing the fruits: the ornamental plants bear fruit, and in some cases are very beautiful. It is possible to admire, for example, the delicacy of the combination of the metallic blue berries of the viburnum and the scarlet red ones of the nandine.
The park of Villa Carlotta with the magnificent colors of the fall foliage is even more beautiful and characteristic.
In addition, in autumn the villa organizes many events and courses for adults and children.
From 30 September to 27 October 9:30 – 18:30
Last admission at 17:30. The museum closes at 18:00
Villa del Balbianello – Tremezzina
On a peninsula from which you can enjoy enchanting views of the lake, this elegant and romantic mansion of the eighteenth century and its amazing garden have hosted writers and travelers until its last owner, Guido Monzino who donated the villa to FAI, in 1988.
From the tip of the small wooded peninsula of Lavedo, stretched sheer to the waters of the center of Lake Como, the Villa elegantly overlooks a wide panorama that makes it one of the most scenic homes of Lake Como.
The garden of the villa has a timeless charm that changes with the changing of the seasons while remaining unchanged in its beauty.
It is a route that ranges from bold pruning and romantic views, avenues lined with statues, panoramic terraces, to culminating in the eighteenth-century Loggia that crowns the entire complex giving a double and aerial view.
The interiors preserve the layout wanted by Guido Monzino and preserve the art collections he collected, the library, various objects related to the expeditions to the North Pole and Everest and numerous prints of the Lario.
Villa del Balbianello is open to the public until Monday, January 6, 2020 with the following opening hours:
every day except Mondays and Wednesdays without public holidays, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Last admission to the Garden at 17:15.
Last admission to the Villa at 16:30 according to availability.
From 1st November closing at 17:00 (last entrance to the Garden at 16:00; last entrance to the Villa at 15:30 according to availability).
Villa Bernasconi – Cernobbio
One of the rare examples of Art Nouveau architecture on Lake Como, designed by architect Alfredo Campanini as a “fashion house” for engineer Davide Bernasconi, who, of Milanese origin, founded the homonymous silk weaving in Cernobbio at the end of the nineteenth century.
Villa Bernasconi is one of the most significant Italian Art Nouveau creations, both for its architectural design that avoids any symmetry and experiments with soft, free and dynamic forms, and for the new conception of its ornamental apparatus that not only enriches the building, but integrates with it and is the living part. Its design and the artistic value of the decorations are typical features of this style, which here, thanks to the presence of the master of wrought iron at national level, Alessandro Mazzucotelli, touch one of the most significant outcomes in Italy.
Villa Bernasconi is by its nature a welcoming place, a museum-home in which to meet, discuss, experiment and express their creativity.
In autumn, in the Mansarda, outside the path open to the public, an atelier is set up in which interesting courses and workshops are hosted to complete the experience of seeing the “museum of the house that speaks” with proposals for all ages, at times and places even unusual, with innovative and interactive methods.
Monday to Friday 14:00-18:00 | Saturday and Sunday 10:00-18:00
Villa Monastero – Varenna
The charm of Villa Monastero continues even in autumn.
Villa Monastero, owned by the Province of Lecco, is one of the main attractions of the territory for its strategic position in terms of history, landscape, environment and for the different services provided by the compendium, the core is represented by the House Museum that in 2004 obtained the recognition of the Lombardy Region and is fully accessible to the public with its exhibition path that develops in 14 rooms fully furnished, with decorations and original furniture. This historic residence also houses a Conference Centre known internationally for its physics lessons held in 1954 by Nobel Prize winner Enrico Fermi, while the Italian Physics Society still organises its courses every year at Villa Monastero.
The Villa is surrounded by a Botanical Garden that extends for almost 2 km along the lake front from Varenna to Fiumelatte. The complex offers opportunities for recreation and learning thanks to the presence of numerous and rare native and exotic tree species that today reach the considerable figure of more than 900 specimens that have allowed it to obtain the regional recognition of Botanical Garden. Thanks to the particularly mild climate typical of the lake, this garden is home to botanical rarities from all over the world.
Days and hours Botanical Garden 2019
- October and until November 3: daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- November: 10-17-24 from 10.30 to 16:30
- December: 1-8-15-22-26-27-28-29-30-31 from 10:30 to 16:30
- January 2020: 1-2-3-4-5-6-12-19-26 from 10:30 to 16:30
Days and hours House Museum 2019
- December: 1-8-15-22-26-27-28-29-30-31 from 10:30 to 16:30
- January 2020: 1-2-3-4-5-6-12-19-26 from 10:30 to 16:30
A much awaited and repeated appointment every year are the FAI Autumn Days on Lake Como, an opportunity not to be missed to visit the Assets of the Italian Environmental Fund open to the public in exchange for a free contribution.
3. Walking in the woods in search of chestnuts, while enjoying beautiful views
Thanks to the mild weather, autumn is the perfect time for walking in the mountains surrounding Lake Como and you’ll have plenty of choice on which routes to tackle.
From Rogaro to San Martino
From the plain of Rogaro, an expanse of agricultural lawns located in a particularly bright and scenic place, branch off the mountain paths that lead to the mountains of Nava, Monte Crocione and San Martino.
The walk that leads to the church of San Martino (472 m), located in a panoramic position above the village of Griante, is suitable for all seasons and within everyone’s reach, even if it is entirely uphill. In autumn, walking along this path you can collect chestnuts as well as enjoy a splendid view of Lake Como.
Moreover, in the Historical Hamlet of Rogaro, towards the end of October and on the occasion of the traditional Feast of the Black Madonna, the Sagra dei Biröell e Pelèe is organized every year, which includes the recitation of the rosary in the sanctuary, the enchantment of the baskets and the distribution of roast chestnuts and chestnuts with cream.
From Lavedo to Villa del Balbianello
Getting to the Villa is in itself an exciting experience, whether you decide to take the pleasant walk that, starting from Lido di Lenno, gently climbs the slope of the promontory of Lavedo through the woods, or whether you prefer to reach the Villa from the lake by boat.
In autumn we suggest you to choose the walk. On the way back or out you can make a detour from the main road to take the secondary path that crosses a chestnut forest. So you can pick up some excellent chestnuts, and then enjoy them cooked in the oven or sautéed in the pan for the roast chestnuts. Along the way you will also find a viewpoint over the lake.
Walks in the vicinity of Bellagio
For bike lovers this is the ideal area. After a walk to hunt for chestnuts in the woods of the Valbrona*, you can enjoy a nice ride in the direction of the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Ghisallo, which since the beginning of the twentieth century is the ideal destination for many professional and amateur cyclists, to the point that today the Madonna has been proclaimed the official patron saint.
* Along the ancient mule track that joins the Valbrona to the banks of the Lario rises the pleasant Sanctuary of the Madonna della Febbre, also called “della Valle”.
The place can be reached from the Church of S. rocc, along a short stretch of via Ziniga and then taking a dirt road on the left that goes down leaving room for the old mule track to the lake.
Walks in the vicinity of Menaggio
Val Sanagra Park
It is advisable to follow the path n° 1 from Piamuro (2 km from the centre of Menaggio) to Barna.
Easy and comfortable path, first dirt and then cobbled with steps. Take the path from Piamuro but instead of proceeding along the dirt road, turn right leaving the cemetery of Loveno on the same. This route allows you to admire the oak, downy oak, black hornbeam and chestnut woods that in this valley have significant infiltrations of pine trees.
For centuries, chestnuts have been the staple food of the peasants and have always been very important for the survival of the various communities of the Sanagra Valley. Chestnuts were imported in the classical period and there are many chestnut groves in the whole Alpine and pre-alpine area, even if today they are almost completely left to themselves. The precious fruit was treated in various ways: dried, boiled, ground and others. The recipe par excellence based on chestnuts is that of the biröll, or the famous roast chestnuts, prepared at the time of harvesting the fruit.
4. Taste the products of autumn
Many appointments are proposed every year to taste chestnuts, biröell and pelèe enjoying the beautiful landscapes that Lake Como offers in autumn.
A unique event, in the name of local products, pure conviviality and a sense of belonging to the territory.
It is an event that involves the restaurants of the territory offering a showcase to all and ensuring space and visibility to traditional dishes and restaurateurs of Tremezzina.
5. Spend a nice day out with your family
There’s plenty of easy walks or kids-friendly events taking place in autumn.
To fully enjoy the breathtaking views typical of the autumn season we recommend that you take advantage of the quiet after the summer crowd, as well as the mildest temperatures to travel The Greenway of Lake Como, one of the most beautiful and scenic excursions of the lake.
About 11.2 km long and with a difference in height of 100 meters, allows you to pass through the municipalities of Colonno, Sala Comacina, Ossuccio, Lenno, Mezzegra, Tremezzo and Griante, partly just above the villages and partly along the lakeside, sometimes following the ancient Via Regina.
The itinerary is suitable for all seasons and allows you to enjoy beautiful views of the lake, walking to discover ancient villages, churches, villas and gardens.
In general, Autumn is well suited to organizing excursions, walks and excursions.
In this season the lake transmits intimacy and warmth: you can enjoy the beauty of the landscapes away from the summer crowds, letting yourself be intoxicated by the warm colors that only the autumn season can give.
Organize your trip on Lake Como. See our section dedicated to Walks and excursions.
Chestnuts, Witches and surroundings – Cernobbio
This famous festival is also known as “I Strii de Ruena” or witch’s festival in Rovenna, which takes place in the village of the same name in Cernobbio: hot roast chestnuts, typical local dishes, refreshment points, the whole village decorated for festivities and lots of stalls, stands and stalls, concerts, parties, good food and lots of gift ideas and, of course, themed clothing.
Orticolario – Villa Erba
This is a cultural event dedicated to those who live nature as a way of life. The theatre of the event is the historic park of Villa Erba in Cernobbio (CO), a nineteenth-century villa overlooking the shores of Lake Como, the summer residence of director Luchino Visconti.
At the center of the exhibition, art, able to go beyond and break down the boundaries between inside and outside.
From the most remote regions of Italy and from Europe, knowledge carriers and sellers of stories behind the leaves, they confront themselves, with their own collections, in front of an audience attentive to botanical novelties.
The hand of man forges stone, terracotta, fabrics, aquatic herbs and other materials made available by nature, in forms and objects that have a close relationship with art.
Also on Lake Como is celebrated the night of October 31 with numerous and different initiatives for young and old.
Discover the appointments for Halloween 2019.