|View from lakeside near Villa Olmo|
|Primary inflows||Adda River, Mera River|
|Primary outflows||Adda River|
|Catchment area||4,509 km² |
|Basin countries||Italy, Switzerland|
|Max. length||46 km|
|Max. width||4.5 km|
|Surface area||146 km²|
|Average depth||154 m |
|Max. depth||410 m|
|Water volume||22.5 km³|
|Residence time||4.5 years |
|Surface elevation||198 m |
|Settlements||Como, Lecco (see article)|
Lake Como (Lago di Como in Italian, also known as Lario; Lach de Comm in Insubric; Latin: Larius Lacus) is a lake of glacial origin in Lombardy, Italy. It has an area of 146 km², making it the third largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. At over 400 m (1320 ft) deep it is one of the deepest lakes in Europe and the bottom of the lake is more than 200 metres (656 ft) below sea-level.
Lake Como has always been a popular retreat for aristocrats and wealthy people ever since the Roman times, and a very popular tourist attraction, which boasts many artistic and cultural gems. It is famous for its numerous villas and palaces (such as Villa Olmo, Villa Serbelloni and Villa Carlotta). Currently, many celebrities have or had homes on the shores of Lake Como, such as Matthew Bellamy, Madonna, George Clooney, Gianni Versace, and Sylvester Stallone. Lake Como is widely regarded as being one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
The lake is shaped much like the character “Y”. The northern branch begins at the town of Colico, while the towns of Como and Lecco sit at the ends of the southwestern and southeastern branches respectively. The small towns of Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna are situated at the intersection of the three branches of the lake: a triangular boat service operates between them.
Lake Como is fed in large part by the Adda River, which enters the lake near Colico and flows out at Lecco. This geological conformation makes the southwestern branch a dead end, and so Como, unlike Lecco, is often flooded.
The mountainous pre-alpine territory between the two southern arms of the lake—between Como, Bellagio and Lecco—is known as the Larian Triangle, or Triangolo lariano. The source of the river Lambro is here. At the centre of the triangle, the town of Canzo is the seat of the Comunità montana del Triangolo Lariano, an association of the 31 municipalities which represent the 71,000 inhabitants of the area.
The lake's name in Latin is Larius, Italianized as Lario, but this name is rarely used; it is usually called Lago di Como (literally "Lake of Como"). In guidebooks the lake may be variously described as "Lake Como", "Lake of Como", or "Como Lake." The lake's name comes from the town of Como, known to the Romans as Comum.
While the town of Como is referred to as "Como", the lake itself is never referred to solely by this name. (This is not true of another lake in Italy, Lake Garda, where "Garda" may refer to either a town on its shores, or the lake).
The lake is well-known for the attractive villas which have been built here since Pliny the Younger constructed the Comedia and the Tragedia. Many have admirable gardens which benefit from the mild climate induced by the stabilising presence of 22.5 km³ of lake water and are able to include tropical as well as temperate plants.
The Villa Carlotta was built for the Milanese marchese Giorgio Clerici in 1690 and occupies a site of over 70,000 m² at Tremezzo, facing the Bellagio peninsula. An Italian garden, with steps, fountains and sculpture was laid out at the same time. The villa was later sold to the banker and Napoleonic politician Giambattista Sommariva. Stendhal was his guest in 1818, and his visit is recalled at the start of La Chartreuse de Parme. In 1843 it was purchased by Princess Marianne of Nassau as a wedding present for her daughter Carlotta, after whom the villa is now named. The latter, together with her husband, Georg II of Saxen-Meiningen laid out the woodland landscape park in Romantic style. The villa today includes a museum of agricultural implements as well as important works of sculpture by Sommariva’s friend Antonio Canova and by Luigi Acquisti. 
The Villa d'Este, at Cernobbio, was built in 1568 by Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio, a native of the town. In 1816–17 the villa was home to Caroline of Brunswick, estranged wife of the Prince of Wales and shortly to become Queen Consort of King George IV of the United Kingdom. The landscaped gardens in the English style are a product of this period. Later in the century it was turned into a luxury hotel. Today the Villa d’Este is known for attracting celebrity guests.
The Villa del Balbianello, famous for its elaborate terraced gardens, lies on a promontory of the western shore of the lake near Isola Comacina. Built in 1787 on the site of a Franciscan monastery, it was the final home of the explorer Guido Monzino and today houses a museum devoted to his work.
The Villa Melzi, at Bellagio was built in the neo-classical style by the architect Giocondo Albertolli in 1808–10 as the summer residence of Francesco Melzi who had been vice-president of the Napoleonic Italian Republic. The park includes an orangery, a chapel, statues and a Japanese garden, and is planted, as often on lake Como, with huge rhododendrons. Nineteenth-century guests at the Villa included Stendhal and Franz Liszt 
The Villa Serbelloni, also at Bellagio, houses the Bellagio Study and Conference Center, a residential center set up and managed by the Rockefeller Foundation since 1959, which operates a 'scholar-in-residence' program for scholars from around the world. This is believed to have been the site of Pliny the Younger’s villa ‘Tragedia’. Its well-known park was created at the end of the eighteenth century by Alessandro Serbellon.
Lake Como weather is generally mild. It is known for its Mediterranean-like climate where tropical and sub-tropical plants can grow year-round. In the winter, the lake helps to maintain a higher temperature in the surrounding region (since water releases heat energy more slowly than air). Average daily maxima range from about 13 °C (55 °F) in December to 30 °C (85 °F) in July. Water temperatures can reach an average of 24°C (75°F) during the month of July. Snowfall is erratic and primarily affects the higher elevations. Rainfall is heaviest in May and lowest during the winter months.
The Lake Como ferry service is a highly developed public transport system linking the dozens of small towns and villages dotted around the perimeter of the Lake. A motorized service began in 1826 when a steamship with sails, the “Lario”, was launched by the newly established Società privilegiata per l'impresa dei battelli a vapore nel Regno Lombardo Veneto. Since 1952 the system has been run under the auspices of a government organisation called first the Gestione Commissariale Governativa and subsequently the Gestione Governativa Navigazione Laghi, which is also responsible for services on Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda.
Today there are three main services:
The Sacro Monte di Ossuccio (‘’Sacred Mount of Ossuccio’’) is located on a hillside slope between olive groves and woods along the western edge of Lake Como facing Isola Comacina. Fifteen Baroque inspired chapels, built between 1635 and 1710, and dedicated to the Mysteries of the Rosary are dotted along the way that leads to the Monastery. This building is the last in the chain and is dedicated to the Coronation of the Virgin. In 2003, the Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy, including that of Ossuccio, were inserted by UNESCO in the World Heritage List.
Lake Como is a popular tourist destination. It is a venue for sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. In 1818 Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote to Thomas Love Peacock: “This lake exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty, with the exception of the arbutus islands of Killarney. It is long and narrow, and has the appearance of a mighty river winding among the mountains and the forests”. 
In 2007 it was reported that Lake Como is too polluted to swim in, with colony-forming units of bacteria at 68 times the safe limit for bathing. This pollution presents a risk of skin infections, dermatitis and even salmonella to bathers. In 2008 was reported that the upper lake is suitable for swimming. 
from North to South
from West to East
from North to South
The Lake is shaped rather like an inverted 'Y', with two 'legs' starting at Como in the South-West and Lecco in the South-East, which join together half way up and the lake continues up to Colico in the North. The first few kilometres of the 'legs' at the southern end of the lake are relatively flat, but Lake Como becomes more mountainous as you head northwards into the Alps. Some of the nearby peaks go slightly above the tree-line so the views are really impressive. In the winter, there is skiing in the nearby valleys.
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").
Good internet connection is at the hotel barchelleta Excelsior.
In Como, there are two good wi-fi spots. the como bar on volta street and the sushi bar on bergovico street (well hidden, but worth it). the como bar is an 8 minute walk Southeast from the water taxi and the sushi place is about a 15 minute walk south from the water taxi.
The main access to the lake is from Milan and Bergamo. It is also possible to cross the border from Lugano (Switzerland), and arriving at the lake at Menaggio. In the North, the lake can be accessed through the Splügen pass (closed from end of autumn to the beginning of spring), or from St. Moritz, both entering from Switzerland.
Regular trains run from Milan to Como (beware it has 2 stations: Como San Giovanni and Como Lago). Trains also run from Milan and Bergamo up the Eastern Shore from Lecco to Varenna and Colico and then on to Sondrio and St. Moritz. Station Como San Giovanni is a little bit outside the downtown, but there are a number of buses that stop there, and one can buy tickets at the Tabac in the station for a few Euros, or walk to to the center of town.
In season, there is a boat service for the central lake. [Bellano, Lenno, Villa Carlotta and Tremezzo in addition to Menaggio, Varenna and Bellagio.] Runs hourly 9:00AM to 6:00PM.
Less frequent boat/hydrofoils travel down the Eastern Leg to and from Lecco.
Timetables are available at tourist information offices, at the quayside or online.
Roads run up and down most of the shores. On the Western Shore, road works are common and travel duration can vary greatly. You can expect to average 40-60 km/h. Despite the construction of new tunnels, the road on the Western Shore still crosses the centre of many villages. Avoid the road if you are not a keen driver and dislike hairpins, steep inclines, sharp bends, and heavy traffic. (Fatal) accidents, often involving motorcyclists, are common.
Mandello Lario, on the east side just above Lecco, is the headquarters for Moto Guzzi, one of Italy's most popular motorcylce manaufacturers. They offer a museum in Mandello as well. The entire lake area is popular with motorcyclists from all over Europe.
Prior to or during your visit to Lake Como it is suggested that you look at the local news site which has all the local news and events that are happening around the lake.
This is not a destination known for its singles scene.
Every town should have at least one bar or cafe available.
Bellagio probably offers the greatest number of bars and Cafes. Bellagio also offers a wine-bar (enoteca). There are one or two open-air, lakefront bars if the weather is good.
Some of the regularly scheduled lake boats have small, staffed beer and wine bars. In addition the is one 'cocktail' boat built in a retro steam boat style. Also, the Orione was commissioned in 2005, with three full levels and is the largest boat in the fleet. The Orione operates the length of the lake and offers beer and wine as well (They also offer full evening meals for people that board in Como in early evening).
The nearby Sondrio valley is a well known wine producing area. It is not Tuscany, but some of the local wines are quite good.
In the winter, you can visit the Madesimo skiing area in the north by car, on the road to the Splügen pass. It is approximately a 60-90 minutes drive from the Menaggio area. Make sure your car is prepared for winter weather conditions.
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COMO, LAKE of (the Lacus Larius of the Romans, and so sometimes called LARio to the present day, though in the 4th century it is already termed Lacus Comacinus), one of the most celebrated lakes in Lombardy, Northern Italy. It lies due N. of Milan and is formed by the Adda that flows through the Valtelline to the north end of the lake (here falls in the Maira or Mera, coming from the Val Bregaglia) and flows out of it at its south-eastern extremity, on the way to join the Po. Its area is 552 sq. m., it is about 43 m. from end to end (about 302 m. from the north end of Bellagio), it is from 1 to 21 m. in breadth, its surface is 653 ft. above the sea, and its greatest depth is 1365 ft. A railway line now runs along its eastern shore from Colico to Lecco (241 m.), while on its western shore Menaggio is reached by a steam tramway from Porlezza on the Lake of Lugano (8 m.). Colico, at the northern extremity, is by rail 17 m. from Chiavenna and 42 m. from Tirano, while at its southern end Como (on the St Gotthard line) is 32 m. from Milan, and Lecco about the same distance. The lake fills a remarkable depression which has been cut through the limestone ranges that enclose it, and once doubtless extended as far as Chiavenna, the Lake of Mezzola being a surviving witness of its ancient bed. Towards the south the promontory of Bellagio divides the lake into two arms. That to the [south-east ends at Lecco and is the true outlet, for the south-western arm, ending at Como, is an enclosed bay. During the morning the Tivano wind blows from the north, while in the afternoon the Breva wind blows from the south. But, like other Alpine lakes, the Lake of Como is exposed to sudden violent storms. Its beauties have been sung by Virgil and Claudian, while the two Plinys are among the celebrities associated with the lake. The shores are bordered by splendid villas, while perhaps the most lovely spot on it is Bellagio, built in an unrivalled position. Among the other villages that line the lake, the best-known are Varenna (E.) and Menaggio (W.), nearly opposite one another, while Cadenabbia (W.) faces Bellagio. (W. A. B. C.)