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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

—  Comune  —
Comune di Como
View from Lake Como

Coat of arms
Como is located in Italy
Location of Como in Italy
Coordinates: 45°48′43.2″N 9°5′2.4″E / 45.812°N 9.084°E / 45.812; 9.084
Country Italy
Region Lombardy
Province Como
Roman foundation 196 BC
Frazioni Albate, Breccia, Camerlata, Camnago Volta, Civiglio, Garzola, Lora, Monte Olimpino, Muggiò, Ponte Chiasso, Prestino, Rebbio, Sagnino, Tavernola
 - Mayor Stefano Bruni
 - Total 37.34 km2 (14.4 sq mi)
Elevation 201 m (659 ft)
Population (28 February 2009)[1]
 - Total 84,223
 - Density 2,255.6/km2 (5,841.9/sq mi)
 - Demonym Comaschi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 22100
Dialing code 031
Patron saint Saint Abbondio
Saint day 31 August
Website Official website

Como About this sound listen (Còmm in the local variety of Western Lombard) is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy, 45 kilometres (28 mi) north of Milan. Situated at the southern tip of the south-west arm of Lake Como, it is the capital of the province of Como and directly borders the comunes of Blevio, Brunate, Capiago Intimiano, Casnate con Bernate, Cavallasca, Cernobbio, Grandate, Lipomo, Maslianico, Montano Lucino, San Fermo della Battaglia, Senna Comasco, Tavernerio, Torno and the Swiss towns of Chiasso and Vacallo.

Due to its proximity to Lake Como and the Alps, Como has been a popular tourist destination since the Roman times, and today, numerous famous and wealthy people, such as George Clooney,[2] Sylvester Stallone and Madonna, to name a few, have luxury villas and homes on the shores of the lake. Como is also home to many of history's most prominent people, such as literary figures Pliny the Elder and Younger, poet Caecilius and scientist Alessandro Volta.[3] The city also contains numerous works of art, churches, gardens, museums, theatres, parks and palaces, such as the "Duomo", Villa Olmo, Villa Carlotta, the Tempio Voltiano, the Teatro Sociale, and the "Broletto" (town hall).



City and Lake Como, painted by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, 1834.

The hills surrounding the current location of Como have been inhabited, since at least the Bronze Age, by a Celtic tribe known as the Orobii. Remains of settlements are still present on the wood covered hills to the South West of town.

Around the 1st century BC, the territory became subject to the Romans. The town center was situated on the nearby hills, but it was then moved to its current location by order of Julius Caesar, who had the swamp near the southern tip of the lake drained and laid the plan of the walled city in the typical Roman grid of perpendicular streets. The newly founded town was named Novum Comum and had the status of municipium.

In 774, the town surrendered to invading Franks led by Charlemagne, and became a center of commercial exchange.

In 1127, Como lost a decade-long war with the nearby town of Milan. A few decades later, with the help of Frederick Barbarossa, the Comaschi could avenge their defeat when Milan was destroyed in 1162. Frederick promoted the construction of several defensive towers around the city limits, of which only one, the Baradello, remains.

Subsequently, the history of Como followed that of the Ducato di Milano, through the French invasion and the Spanish domination, until 1714, when the territory was taken by the Austrians. Napoleon descended into Lombardy in 1796 and ruled it until 1815, when the Austrian rule was resumed after the Congress of Vienna. Finally in 1859, with the arrival of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the town was freed from the Austrians and it became part of the newly formed Kingdom of Italy under the House of Savoy.

At the end of World War II, after passing through Como on his escape towards Switzerland, Benito Mussolini was taken prisoner and then shot by partisans in Giulino di Mezzegra, a small town on the north shores of Como Lake.

As a curiosity, the Rockefeller fountain that today stands in the Bronx Zoo in New York City was once in the main square by the lakeside. It was bought by William Rockefeller in 1902.

Main sights


Duomo (Cathedral)
The church of San Fedele, apse area.
Villa Olmo.
  • Duomo (cathedral), begun in 1396 on the site of the previous Romanesque church of Santa Maria Maggiore. The façade was built in 1457, with the characteristic rose window and a portal flanked by two Renaissance statues of the famous Comaschi Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger. The construction was finished in 1740. The interior is on the Latin cross plan, with Gothic nave and two aisles divided by pilasters, while the transept wing and the relative apses are from the Renaissance age. It includes a carved 16th century choir and tapestries on cartoons by Giuseppe Arcimboldi. The dome is a rococo structure by Filippo Juvarra. Other artworks include 16th-17th century tapestries and 16th Century paintings by Bernardino Luini and Gaudenzio Ferrari.
  • San Fedele, a Romanesque church erected around 1120 over a pre-existing central plan edifice. The original bell tower was rebuilt in modern times. The main feature is the famous Door of St. Fedele, carved with medieval decorations.
  • Sant'Agostino, built by the Cistercians in the early 14th century, heavily renovated in the 20th. The interior and adjoining cloister have 15th-17th century frescoes, but most of the decoration is Baroque.
  • The Romanesque basilica of Sant'Abbondio, consecrated in 1095 by Pope Urban II. The interior, with a nave and four aisles, contains paintings dating to the 11th century and frescoes from the 14th.
  • San Carpoforo (11th century, apse and crypt from 12th century). According to tradition, it was founded re-using a former temple of the God Mercury to house the remains of St. Carpophorus and other local martyrs.

Public edifices and other sights

  • The ancient town hall, known as the Broletto
  • Casa del Fascio, possibly Giuseppe Terragni's most famous work. It has been described as an early "landmark of modern European architecture".
  • Monumento ai caduti by Giuseppe Terragni
  • Teatro Sociale by Giuseppe Cusi
  • Villa Olmo, built from 1797 in neoclassicist style by the Odescalchi family. It housed Napoleon, Ugo Foscolo, Prince Metternich, Archduke Franz Ferdinand I, Giuseppe Garibaldi, and other eminent figures. It is now seat of exhibitions.
  • Villa Melzi (1808-1810), with a magnificent panorama over the Lake. It has a famous giardino all'Italiana. According to tradition, Franz Liszt composed here some of his most famous piano sonatas.
  • Villa Carlotta (c. 1690). It has an English-style park, and a collection of marbles by Canova, reliefs by Thorvaldsen and others.
  • Monumental Fountain also known as Volta's Fountain, is a monument to Volta's battery; it was designed by architect Carlo Cattaneo and painter Mario Radice and is a 9 mt. high cement combination of alternating spheres and rings. It is in the center of Camerlata square.
  • Ancient walls (medieval)
  • Castello Baradello, a small medieval castle.


  • Museo archeologico "P. Giovio"
  • Museo Storico
  • Pinacoteca
  • Tempio Voltiano, a museum devoted to Alessandro Volta's work.
  • Museo della Seta
  • Museo Liceo classico "A. Volta"
  • Villa Olmo (exhibitions)


According to the Koppen climate classification, Como has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa), thus winters are not long, but foggy, damp and chilly with occasional periods of frost from the siberian anticyclone; spring and autumn are well marked and pleasant, while summer can be quite oppressive, hot and humid, with sudden violent hailstorms. Wind is quite rare; only sudden bursts of foehn or thunderstorms manage to sweep the air clean. Pollution levels rise significantly in winter when cold air clings to the soil.

Weather data for Como, Italy
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 23
Average high °C (°F) 13
Daily mean °C (°F) 3
Average low °C (°F) -4
Record low °C (°F) -7
Precipitation mm (inches) 78.7
Source: [4] May 2009


The economy of Como, until the end of the 1980s, was traditionally based on industry – in particular, the city was world famous for its silk manufacturers. In recent years, tourism has become increasingly important. Many celebrities have homes on the shores of Lake Como, such as Matthew Bellamy, Madonna, George Clooney, Gianni Versace, and Sylvester Stallone. This has considerably heightened Como's international profile.

Aerial view of Como at nighttime.



The Servizio Ferroviario Regionale (Regional Railway Service) connects Como by train to other major cities in Lombardy. Services are provided by Trenitalia and LeNORD through two main stations: Como S. Giovanni (Trenitalia) and Como Lago (LeNORD). There is another urban station served by Trenitalia (Albate) and three more urban stations served by LeNORD (Como Borghi-Università, Como Camerlata and Grandate Breccia).

Como S. Giovanni is also a stop on the main North-South line between Milan Centrale and Zurich and Basel. Intercity and Eurostar trains stop at this station, which makes Como very accessible from the European express train network. Tickets can be purchased online from Rail Europe.

Local transport

The local public transport network counts 11 urban (within city limits) lines and 'extra-urban' (crossing city limits) (C) lines connecting Como with most of its province centers. They are provided by ASF Autolinee.

Ferrovie Nord Milano also provides other bus lines connecting Como to Varese in substitution of the original railway line that was dismissed in the 1960s.

The funicolare (funicular) connects the center of Como with Brunate, a small village (1,800 inhabitants) on a mountain at 715 meters above sea level.

The boats and hydrofoils (aliscafi) of Navigazione Lago di Como connect the town with most of the villages sitting on the shores of the lake.

A taxi service is provided by the Municipality of Como.


Airports providing scheduled flights are Milano Malpensa, Lugano Agno (in Switzerland), Milano Linate, and Orio al Serio Airport near Bergamo. Milano Malpensa can be reached in about one hour by car; about two hours by train to Stazione Centrale (Milano Central) and then direct shuttle coach[5] or about an hour and a half by train ( interchange in Saronno);[6] Milano Linate can be reached by car in about an hour, or by train to Stazione Centrale and then local tram. Bergamo's Orio al Serio Airport can be reached in about an hour and a quarter by car; in two hours by train to Milano Central and then half-hourly shuttle coach. Lugano Agno can be reached by car in less than an hour or by train in an hour and a half (changing once and walking)[7] but it only offers direct flights to Switzerland and Italy[8] and generally higher-priced business class or private charter.

Como also has its own areoplane club with a fleet of sea planes, limited to flight training and local tour flights.[9]

Trains from Zurich Airport to Como San Giovanni take four to five hours.[7]


Notable sports clubs are Como Nuoto, a swimming team, Pool Comense, a basketball team, two time winner of the FIBA EuroLeague Women, and Calcio Como, a football team. There are also numerous recreational activities available for tourists such as pedal-boating, fishing, walking and seaplane rentals.

Notable people

Famous people associated with Como include:


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Como [1], [2] is a town in Lombardy, on the Italian-Swiss border. It sits at the southern end of Lake Como.


Como has always been an area of intense activity, as it has acted over the centuries as a crossing point between Central Europe and the Mediterranean. Built by the Romans at the end of the Piedmont road, it was an important communication point between Rome and its northern territories. In more recent times Como became famed for its silk.

Como was the birthplace of the Roman scientists Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger, as well as Alessandro Volta, 18th century inventor of the battery and the man who gave his name to the unit of electrical force - the Volt.

The area around Lake Como, or "Lago di Como" in Italian, is pretty characteristic. It has a kind of flair and sense of history that tends to impress its visitors in a sense deeper than only from a touristic point of view. It has been appreciated for its beauty and uniqueness for ages, and even as early as the Roman Times. Its atmosphere and natural surroundings have been the inspiration for an important part of the creation of Naboo, in the Star Wars movies. (In the same way as the atmosphere in Tozeur and Matmata have been recreated in Episode IV, "A New Hope")

Get in

Nearly all visitors to Como will arrive via Milan. Other routes in are via Lugano, Switzerland.

By Plane

The nearest airports to Como are:

  • Milan Malpensa (MXP, Tel: 02.74852200) 40-60 minutes drive via the autostrada toll road costing 1 Euro 60 cents; coach 3 times daily or can negotiate with private coach firms outside airport
  • Milan Linate (LIN, Tel: 02.74852200) 1 hour drive on toll road costing about 2.70 Euros.
  • Bergamo's Orio al Serio (BGY, Tel: 035 326323) about 1-2 hours drive away on toll road costing about 5 Euros, or regular coach to Milan then change to train or coach to Como.

By Train

The Servizio Ferroviario Regionale connects Como by train to other major cities in Lombardy (R lines). Services are provided by Trenitalia (a.k.a. Ferrovie dello Stato: FS [3]) and LeNORD ([4], timetables [5]) through two main stations: Como S. Giovanni (Trenitalia) and Como Lago (LeNORD). There is another urban station served by Trenitalia (Albate) and three more urban stations served by LeNORD (Como Borghi-Università, Como Camerlata and Grandate Breccia). A trip to Milan costs 3.50€. From 2008 Como will also be connected to Milan with the line S9 of the Servizio Ferroviario Suburbano (S).

By Car

The E35 motorway (toll costs 1.60 for the A9 stretch, 1.10 for the A4 section, about 1.50 for the E35 section west of Milan) runs past Como from Milan, and goes on into Switzerland. There are many exits to Como; avoid Como South, choose the next ones (signed Como Nord and Monte Olimpino) for the city, and the last exit (signed ultima uscita per l'Italia) before Switzerland for Cernobbio, Bellagio and for towns on the western lake shore.

Get around

The centre of Como is rather compact and can be covered easily on foot.

The local public transport network comprises several lines. Some are mostly within city limits (Urbani) and some are Extraurbani (crossing city limits). (C) lines connect Como with most of the provincial centres. They are provided by SPTLinea [6].

Urban Lines
Line 1: Chiasso FS - S.Fermo timetable([7])
Line 3: Lora - Grandate timetable([8])
Line 4: S.Giovanni FS - Camnago V. timetable([9])
Line 5: S.Giovanni FS - Civiglio timetable([10])
Line 6: Maslianico - Albate timetable([11])
Line 7: Sagnino - Lora timetable([12])
Line 8: S.Giovanni FS - Casnate timetable([13])
Line 9: Cavour - Cimitero timetable([14])
Line 10: Albate - Navedano timetable([15])
Line 11: P.Chiasso - Bassone timetable([16])
Line 12: Camerlata-S.Fermo-Tavernola timetable([17])

You must buy a ticket before boarding; the driver does not sell them and carries no money. Buy them at newstands, some bars and all Tabacchi. An urban ticket for a single ride costs €1, while a ticket for 75 minutes costs €1.05. The complete ticket fares can be found online at [18].

Tickets vary depending on the start and destination stops:

  • Yellow Tariffa U with green text and the words "Rete Urbana-Como";
  • Green Tariffa B with black text (named start and destination, Urbani and Extraurbani);
  • Green Tariffa B with red text (list of towns, Urbani and Extraurbani);

Tariffa U tickets also have the text "Valido 75'", which means it is valid for 75 minutes from when it was validated (you do this in a machine onboard the bus).

Wait until the bus is about to depart before validating in order to maximise your use. You can exit the bus at one stop and get on another bus within the Como urban area with the same ticket, as long as you leave the last bus before the 75 minutes expire. The driver will likely want to see your ticket when you get on, and spot checks are sometimes done by uniformed officials. For example you can travel 20 minutes, get off, look around for 30 minutes and return on the same ticket (if the bus arrives on time).

The Tariffa B tickets with black text are usually validated by the driver tearing off the top and bottom sections. Inspectors may further validate it by punching it with a quarter circle hole - the ticket already has a circular hole in it.

The Tariffa B tickets with red text will have a list of towns, starting with Como. When you purchase it you say which town and the seller will punch a hole in that town (or have some already punched). This makes the ticket valid only for journeys between Como and the punched town, or viceversa.

Como buses do not have route plans onboard, and the driver does not announce stops (you could ask nicely though). Follow the route with a map to be sure.

Ferrovie Nord Milano also provides other bus lines connecting Como to Varese in substitution of the original railway line that was dismissed in the 1960s.

The funicolare (funicular) connects the center of Como with Brunate, a small village (1800 inhabitants) on a mountain at 715 meters above sea level. The journey takes about 7 minutes and the view is worth the trip: it can also be the starting point for a stroll on the mountains. Timetables can be found online[19].

The boats and 'aliscafi' of Navigazione Lago di Como connect the town with most of the villages sitting on the shores of the lake, the former are slower and right for sightseeing, the latter are faster and make less stops.

A taxi service is provided by the Comune di Como, local phone numbers are 031-2772, and 031-261515.

  • Volta Lighthouse. Boasting some of the best views on the lake, this very high building will allow you to look down on the lake some 2000 feet below. The easiest way to get to it is by first taking the funicular railway up to Brunate and then walking. 3.45 Euro.  edit
  • Cathedral (duomo), (a short walk from the waterfront down Via Caio Plinio II). Como's richly decorated 19th century Gothic-Renaissance Cathedral. (45.811632,9.083462) edit
  • Tempio Voltiano (Temple Volta), (the round building on the waterfront). A nice stop on your stroll along the waterfront, the temple to Volta is designed in neoclassical style. It houses an exhibition about Volta (a native of Como who invented the electric battery). The front of the building showcases two statues, representing science and faith.  edit
  • War Memorial, (on the waterfront next to the Tempio Voltiano). An interesting building to see, it is one of the tallest structures near the water.  edit
  • City Walls. The ruins of the 12th century city walls, which encircle the narrow, winding streets of the old town. The old town is still called the "walled town" (città murata).  edit
  • Isola Comacina, (take the ferry to the Isola Comacina stop). A small island with ruins of several byzantine churches. It was once a town that allied with Milan against Como. The town was destroyed by Como's army in 1169.  edit
  • Como's museums - the Civic Archeological Museum (Civico Museo Archeologico "P. Giovio") and the History Museum (Museo Storico "G. Garibaldi") in the Palazzo Giovio and the neighboring Palazzo Olginati
  • The Civic Art Gallery (Pinacoteca Civica), near to the Palazzo Volpi

Prior to or during your visit to Lake Como it is suggested that you look at the local news site[20] which has all the local news and events that are happening around the lake.

  • Boat Trip. Take a boat trip [21] on Lake Como (Lago di Como) to the picturesque villages that dot the shores of the lake, such as Bellagio, Varenna and Tremezzo. Tickets for a few of the villages near Como are cheap (6 Euros) and can be purchased at the kiosk on the lake front. The boat stops in these villages and you can take a walk there and continue the trip with the next boat until you reach Como again.  edit
  • Walk along the Waterfront. Como has a pleasant walkway along the water. It passes by the Tempio Voltiano, the war memorial (WWI), and several beautiful villas. The path is also pleasantly dotted with gellaterias.  edit
  • Funicular Ride. Take the cable car (funicolare) to the tiny village of Brunate perched on the hills overlooking Como. Piazza De Gasperi 4, tel: +39 031 303608. The web site [22] is in Italian, English, German and French and has a timetable, prices, etc.  edit
  • Bicycle Ride. Rent a bicycle and ride up the hill into Switzerland before descending to the beautiful Lake Lugano. Follow the lake north to the Swiss city of Lugano [23]. Head east from Lugano and back across the border into Italy. When you reach Lake Como, turn south and return to the city of Como, completing the circle  edit.
  • Go ice skating at the Centro Sportivo Casate, via Virgilio 16, tel: +39 031 505118.
  • Horseriding. Take a walk on horseback in the Parco Pineta di Appiano e Tradate . From Limido Comasco, just 25 minutes drive from Como both english and western style riding in beautiful woodlands with friendly English/French and Italian speaking guides. Local Centered Riding® instructor available for private lessons. Website: [24].  edit


Petrol is considerably cheaper in nearby Switzerland, while Diesel is about the same price, (in 2004) so remember to top-up the car in the cheapest place.

Keep the receipt of anything purchased in Switzerland as the Italian customs may ask to see it, and if a large value item, you will need to pay the difference in the two Value Added Tax rates (approximately 13 percent). As of 2004 there is a limit of 12,500 Euros equivalent that may be brought into Italy at any one time.

  • You will enjoy the best food at Gatto Nero [25] in Cernobio and the "Locanda" [26] on the Comacina island.
  • Eat where the Italians eat, so avoid the overpriced and often poor-quality tourist traps! Full meals for 10 Euros or less per person is normal (starter, main course, desert, wine, coffee all included). Restaurants in the historic centre tend to be more expensive approaching 20 Euros. Walk behind Hotel ****** and find a popular pizza-restaurant. Restaurants facing the lake are more expensive. Water from the tap is clean and free, so no need to pay for expensive bottled water.
  • Cheap pub-type restaurants are at Camerlata (5 minutes by car or 10 minutes by bus) (five to ten Euros but no view at all)
  • Drive to the "iPer" shopping centre at Grandate (10-15 minutes) for a self-service, freshly cooked meal. Difficult to pay more than 10 Euros.
  • Wine is very cheap so buy it in the supermarkets (from around 1 Euro per litre for decent quality), not in restaurants


Birreria . Relax in the bohemian and friendly atmosphere of this pub, where you can sit down at the wooden tables and enjoy beer (and any other drinks) and snacks. The walls are covered with all sorts of objects from around the world, musical instruments, paintings, photos etc. You are likely to hear Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel or Fabrizio de Andrè (Italian singer/songwriter) playing on the Hi-Fi system.

  • Milan is a short distance away by train from Como S. Giovanni (40 minutes), bus or car (from 40 minutes depending on traffic).
  • Lake Maggiore (Lago Maggiore) and Lake Lugano (Lago di Lugano) are near to Lake Como and similarly spectacular.
  • Como is right on the border with Switzerland. As Switzerland is not part of the European Union (Update: You can enter Switzerlannd using your Schengen visa as of Dec 2008), there is a possibility that you will be delayed by checks at the border, although these are infrequent and usually not rigorous. Remember your passport. There is a limit on currency brought in from Switzerland (around 12,500 Euros in 2006)
  • Brianza the area between Como and Milan, full of little lakes and villas of XVI, XVII and XVIII sec.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also como, cómo, and COMO



Proper noun


  1. Province of Lombardy, Italy.
  2. City and capital of Como.



  • Anagrams of cmoo
  • coom


Italian Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia it

Proper noun


  1. Como (province and town)
  2. The letter C in the Italian phonetic alphabet

Related terms

Simple English

Como is a city in northern Italy. Como is in the Lombardy Region with a population of 83.016 inhabitants.

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