In the northern regions, just south of the Alps, Italy offers a wonderful series of lakes, which have always attracted tourists and visitors in search of suggestive panoramas, artistic treasures, and the riches of nature. One of the richest lakes in terms of charm and culture is certainly Lake Como with its unmistakable upturned Y shape, which was carved out by a glacier that was forced to split into two by the mountain that stood in its path.
The extreme point of the promontory which divides the two southern branches of the lake is occupied by Bellagio a delightful little town with its perfectly preserved architectural treasures and whose name is actually said to come from the Latin word “bi-lacus” or “two –lakes”.
What are we waiting for? Let’s start the visit from the village, characterized by a perfectly preserved antique architecture, by its picturesque stairways overlooked by suggestive craftsmen workshops; almost entirely surrounded by the blue waters of the lake and leaning against mountains completely covered with green woods. Follow one of the suggested walking tours that you can find at the tourist office and in just a few hours you’ll be able to discover San Giacomo Church (stupendous example of the Roman-Lombard art built between 1075 and 1125 by the Masters of Como), San Giorgio Church (Romanesque chapel dating back to the period of 1080-1120), the panoramic Punta Spartivento that offers a view of all three arms of the lake and the stairways, like Salita Serbelloni, which is still called by the locals “Il Fossato” (ditch) because during medieval times this used to be the ditch which was used for defending the old town. Not to be missed is Villa Serbelloni, property of the Rockefeller Foundation since 1959. It is located on top of the peaked headland and has the lake’s largest park with a splendid view of the two branches of the Lake. It is open every day, apart from Monday from mid March till mid November. The visits, only guided, take place twice a day at 11.00 and at 15.30; reservations for the visit must be made at the Promobellagio office in the tower in Piazza della Chiesa 15 min. before the guided visit starts, max. 30 per. The tower, one the few remains of Bellagio’s medieval defense system, is also used for exhibitions . On the other end of the town you can easily reach Villa Melzi,summer residence built for Francesco Melzi d’Eril, friend and political associate of Napoleon Bonaparte, at the turn of the 19th century. Its English style gardens, open from the end of March to the beginning of November ( from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm) are full of azaleas and rhododendrons.
Leaving the historical centre you’ll be able to discover some of the 22 suburbs scattered over the vast area of land stretching from the lakeside ( 229 m above sea level) to the top of Monte San Primo ( 1686 m above sea level) which are all part of Bellagio. For example, close to Villa Melzi, in Loppia, you will be able to discover the Church of Santa Maria di Loppia and two rare examples of Larian ( from lake Como) Gondolas, sailing craft used up to the end of XIX century, and a little bit further on that direction you’ll get to San Giovanni, where you could visit the Museum of Navigational Instruments, open daily from March to October, fom 10.00 am to 1.00 pm. Exactly on the other side of the Lake, you’ll be able to discover the characteristic suburb of Pescallo, known as a fishing village and the place where once upon a time the fish market was held. If you like water sports than you shouldn’t miss Pescallo, because this is the starting point for the kayak tours around Bellagio: enjoy the lake by the most beautiful place… the lake itself
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