Cernobbio, princely charm

Villa d'Este, one of the most iconic landmarks in Cernobbio
Villa d'Este, one of the most iconic landmarks in Cernobbio
Located in an exceptional setting, between the blue of the lake and the green of the centuries-old parks that surround it, Cernobbio is a charming town dotted with historic villas, monuments and residences of internationally renowned VIPs.

On the western shore of Lake Como, a short distance from Como itself, in the past the town of Cernobbio was considered a vacation destination for aristocratic families and royalty since Roman times. Even today it remains the perfect destination to enjoy a refreshing break in exclusivity. The presence of the lake and the nearby Mount Bisbino, a true paradise for lovers of trekking and walking, guarantees Cernobbio a mild climate almost all year round, while its breathtaking views have earned it the praise of artists, musicians and writers.

The beating heart of the city is the 20th-century Piazza Risorgimento, the ideal place for a walk or a drink overlooking the lake in one of the many bars and restaurants. From the Imbarcadero della Navigazione, a gem of local Art Nouveau that overlooks the square, boats leave to reach all the main towns on the lake, such as Bellagio, Como, Lecco, Varenna, Menaggio, up to the shores of Colico in Valtellina. Although the historic center, among small craft stores and fine boutiques, nestles architectural masterpieces such as the ancient Sanctuary of San Vincenzo, with its unique Baroque facade or the intimate church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, with its white bell tower, Cernobbio is best known for the beautiful aristocratic villas that dot the shores of the lake since the Renaissance.

The city has also passed to the honors of the jet-set for the presence of villas owned by VIPs such as George Clooney and residences that have been the protagonists of film sets of directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, or Luchino Visconti. Both from the scenic road that runs along the lake, and from the water, on board a boat or a ferry, you can admire the beauty, combined with the fascinating alternation of forests, well-kept parks and marinas for boats. Among the most famous residences, Villa d’Este and Villa Erba, both converted to luxury hotels and often home to high-profile events related to the world of motoring and fashion, as well as internationally renowned conferences. If the sixteenth-century Villa d’Este, in the nineteenth century home of Caroline of Brunswick, Princess of Wales, impresses with its princely appearance and its floating swimming pool on the waters of the lake, Villa Erba – the childhood home of Luchino Visconti – is a haven of silence surrounded by greenery. Inside, in addition to a large park with hedges and trees, are preserved frescoes, inlaid ceilings and various architectural jewels of the nineteenth century.

A short distance away, reachable with a walk along the lakefront, stands Villa Bernasconi, a residence in Art Nouveau style belonged to the family of silk manufacturers Bernasconi, whose presence is still witnessed by frescoes depicting the life cycle of the silkworm. Its spaces are now home to the homonymous house-museum, which hosts a permanent collection and temporary events. A little further on, the beautiful Villa Pizzo is one of the favorite destinations for sumptuous weddings, needless to say, not for all budgets.