Its origin goes back to the Ice Age.
It has an inverted Y shape with the two branches that head south towards Lecco and south west towards Como.
Thanks to a clement climate that favored the arboreal development, the Lake was inhabited since the proto-historic era.
Then the Roman colonization took place, and it culminated with the establishment of Como as the area was especially important either for the defence of the lowland territories as well as a connection to the lands beyond the Alps.
In the same period the reputation of the Lake began to spread, its shores and settlements began to rise.
Among the early bards of the virtue of the Lake were the Latins, Cassiodoro, Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger (natives of Como) and Strabone.
Later on in time were added these voices, that of Paolo Diacono, of Leonardo and Benedetto Giovio.
The international acclaim of the Lake arrived in any event between the 18th and the 19th Centuries, with first the triumph of the "villa civilization", and then with the development of the tourist élite.
Lake Como as a result became the obligatory stop for travellers and writers visiting Italy: those who wrote about it among the others Bourget, De Musset, Longfellow, Stendhal and Flaubert.
The most well-known passage are the celebrated opening lines to the "Promessi Sposi" "The Betrothed": That branch of lake of Como that turns at midday…", with which Manzoni immortalized the Lecchese versant.
WHAT TO VISIT
COMO: the Cathedral, Sant’Abbondio and San Fedele Church, the Broletto Palace, the Voltiano Temple, Funicular to Brunate
CERNOBBIO: An aristocratic glamour residence resort
Porticciolo, Santa Tecla and San Giovanni Church
the Lake’s only island – S. Eufemia Basilica (only during spring / summer and autumn timetable)
LENNO: Villa del Balbianello, the Villa nowadays is a museum owned by FAI (Italian Environment Foundation), the gardens are open to the public
Villa Carlotta with its botanic garden
Characteristic village, Villa Melzi, Villa Serbelloni where the visit to the park are possible at established time
The town has evidence of Belle Époque
VARENNA: Villa Cipressi and Villa Monastero, The Vezio Castle
BELLANO: Bellano horrid formed by Pioverna Torrent
GRAVEDONA: Santa Maria of Tiglio Church and Gallio Palace
PIONA: Abbey founded by Cluniacensi monks (only during spring / summer and autumn timetable)
COLICO: Town situated on the road to Stelvio (Valtellina) and Maloja (Valchiavenna), Pian di Spagna naturalistic oasis – Mezzola Lake
LECCO: Manzonian places (only during spring / summer and autumn timetable)