Located on the Italian-Swiss border, at the southern end of the western branch of Lake Como in northern Italy the city of Como is very popular for the beauty of its landscape and its immeasurable charm, surrounded by green ridge hills, resulting in unparalleled, natural scenery. It's the most important town on the lake, with a long history, lively streets and a busy waterfront. All of this, together with its proximity to the Alps, only 48 kilometers north of Italy's commercial capital of Milan, and other points of interest in the Lombardy region, is the reason for why Como has become a very popular tourist destination.
You can see its Roman origins in the orderly grid of streets of its historic center and the remains of the Roman gate, Porta Pretoria. It's more evident in walled Medieval Como, a rare example of Romanesque fortifications, with the imposing Porta Torre (tower gate) at Piazza Vittoria. There are a lot of things to do in Como, the city is easy to cover on foot, and its tourist attractions are within walking distance of the train station and boat landing. Como revolves around its lakefront promenade and the adjacent Piazza Cavour, the old city harbor that is now home to many pretty cafés with a beautiful view of the lake, from which you can follow the short Via Plinio to Piazza del Duomo. Visiting the Como Cathedral (Duomo di Como) is definitely one of the best things to do in Como, since the church is characterized by a set of styles ranging from Romanesque to Gothic. Next, your trip can go on by heading to Piazza San Fedele, that was originally a wheat market and still hosts its Romanesque church, which dates back to 1120: the Basilica of San Fedele. If you happen to pass through this little square on Saturdays, you will have the chance to come across numerous stalls, where you can find some antiques and handcrafted items.
As you stroll past shops, you can't help notice the abundance of silk; indeed since the turn of the century, Como has been the centre of Italy's silk industry; to this day, silk in Como is still spun and printed using traditional craftsmanship. This town is undoubtedly the best place in Italy to shop for silk; with its fine designer goods like ties and scarves at very favorable prices.
For a stunning, romantic promenade walk down the path through Villa Olmo, Villa del Grumello and Villa Sucota, a route to meet and "breathe" culture and history. The path, called “Chilometro della conoscenza” includes breathtaking views, a little Chapel, greenhouses, a small Museum and enchanted hidden corners.
A funicular railway, opened in 1894, runs up the hill from Como to Brunate. The two shuttles depart every 15 to 30 minutes, passing each other at the halfway point. At Brunate you can admire the views, take a stroll or even walk back down to Como. The Funicolare Como website (see links panel) provides timetables and suggests some walks and outings from Brunate.
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