Sometimes it happens to be in the middle. For the great poet Dante, he was “in the middle of the journey of our life”, for those who are discovering places, it could be Bellagio. Location located on the tip that divides the southern part of Lake Como in two, as well as being known and appreciated all over the world for the artisanal production of Christmas decorations.
Bellagio fascinates by its architecture, the enchanting location, the views it offers on both sides of the Lario, and the excellent cuisine, which absorbs all the flavors of the lake.
Bellagio extends between 229 meters. above sea level up to 1686 meters. height of the top of Mount San Primo. This locality is divided into 22 hamlets, of which the most important is certainly Borgo or the historic city core.
And this is where our visit is concentrated, which begins on the lakefront, at the tourist office, in Piazza Mazzini.
If the day is clear we can best admire the shores of the lake. In Piazza Mazzini, we see the Larian one, while on the extreme tip that divides Lake Como into two branches, we will also admire the Lecco one.
The city tour
Our city tour begins by admiring the buildings with large arcades in Piazza Mazzini. This place was a city market area until the 18th century. The goods that were exhibited up to the shore of the Lario.
In front of the jetty (marked with the number 1) we see a dark stone column that has two dates (1829 and 1868) engraved on it. These are the flooding of the waters. These, however, were not the only leaks from the lake.
The Grand Hotel
At the end of the square stands the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, not to be confused with a historic townhouse, which we will meet later in the itinerary.
It is a building born as a private villa in 1852 for the Frizzoni family and later became a hotel (1872, with the name of Grand Hotel Bellagio). It was included in the properties of Villa Serbelloni in the early 1900s and changed its name.
To the left of the main entrance, there is a small lookout where you can admire the Como side of the lake.
Another unmissable place in Bellagio is the exciting central dividing point of Lake Como. Also known as Punta Spartivento, where the show is majestic.
Arriving at the wall of the pier, on the right you can admire the Lecco part of the Lario, going towards the left balustrade, here is the Como one.
Punta Spartivento is so named because of the wind, which often blows strongly in this area.
The church of San Giacomo
Admired Punta Spartivento, we head towards the historic center of Bellagio and the first monument we meet is the Church of San Giacomo.
This is the town parish church. The building dates back to the period between the 11th and 12th centuries, it is a typical example of Lombard-Romanesque art. It has three naves with a bell tower to the left of the facade. Little remains of the original construction.
Inside there are several paintings, including the “Deposition of Jesus in the tomb” attributed to Perugino.
To the right of the square, however, what remains of the ancient city fortification, while in the center is the granite fountain built in 1897 and first placed in the garden of the Gothic Villa and then, in 1908, moved to the square.
From the square of the Basilica of San Giacomo, looking up, we will see a portion of Villa Serbelloni, a 1959 building owned by the Rockefeller Foundation of New York (today it is used as a Study and Conference Center). Instead, you can visit the park which remains open from April to the end of October.
Church of San Giorgio
Going up via Garibaldi, which crosses the heart of the village flanked by many shops, we will arrive at the headquarters of the Municipality of Bellagio and the small church dedicated to San Giorgio dating back to the century. XI.
Under the bell tower, a passage leads to Salita Genazzini. Going down a few steps, on the right, you will find the headquarters of the Library. It is an Art Nouveau building built in 1914.
Following the road that leads to the lake, but crossing the Municipal Park, you can admire the Gothic Villa built in neo-Anglican style and transformed into apartments in the mid-twentieth century.
At the end of the park is the tower that once contained the mechanism for the functioning of the water clock, while following the lakeside promenade you can reach the garden of Villa Melzi (open every day from March to early November).
On the wall of the Splendide, a plaque reminds us of the death of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, poet, and creator of Futurism which took place in Bellagio in 1944.
Another plaque is, however, a little further on. It commemorates the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt.
Climbing the steps we will return to Via Garibaldi, while passing the small portico, or the ancient gateway to the Borgo, we will end up in Piazza Mazzini, our starting point.
On the left of the portico is the first hotel opened in Bellagio in 1825, the Genazzini hotel (today Metropole).
Toc is the typical dish of the Bellagio tradition. It is a polenta-based product with the addition of butter and cheese that is often combined with missoltini, or dried agoni, typical lake fish, or local salami.
How do I get to Bellagio?
From Milan, follow the A9 motorway to Como, then from the Larian city continue on the SS583 that runs along the Como branch of the lake, the alternative is to get to Lecco following the SS33 to merge onto the SS583 following the Lecco bank.
Both Como and Lecco boats depart for Lake Como navigation which stops in Bellagio.