Bellagio, Lake Como’s pearl is one of the most beautiful towns on Lake Como Italy. Bellagio is an international destination known for its majestic villas over-looking the Lake, and for being the home to famous individuals. Bellagio it is considered one of the most beautiful traditional Italian town, even if as Italian and Lake Como resident I probably got used to it, I have enough about the beauty of traditional Italian towns. I see it, but I am looking for more than just beauty.
My article was also inspired by The most beautiful towns to visit on Lake Como finally talking about The towns on Lake Como, that are so many and so special, each of them is unique.
Being a member of the Slow Lake Como team, I have the mission to show you what an insider consider the best of Lake Como. We want you to fall in love with unknown corners of the lake, undiscovered places for the residents too, even in world-famous Bellagio!
Bellagio center and World Famous Villas
This is a point for many residents of Lake Como’s shores. The town center of Bellagio is for an extensive period of time (March – November) crowded with visitors and tourists, this is making the town a tourist destination rather than a community town center. Have a look around when you visit it, can you find any alimentari (small food store) or supermarket there? Or is the center full of bars, restaurants, and shops closing down in November?
Anyway I agree with most of the people telling Bellagio has still a charming and relaxed atmosphere 🙂 while there you can visit Villa Melzi and his botanical garden, you can do some shopping, walking in the narrowed streets of the center. Admire Church San Giacomo, built between 1075 and 1125, at the top of the historic center. Walk in Villa Serbelloni Park, above the historic center, has an 18th-century garden and great views of the lake. It’s open April through November, please check dates before arrival.
Discover The Museum of Navigational Instruments, in the hamlet of San Giovanni, can be reached on foot in about 25 minutes, public boat, or in summer on the tourist train. It’s open daily, mornings only. (Thanks to tripsavy.com for the info)
The point is if you want to go deep, to discover the soul of Bellagio, you need to explore a bit more around. Here is what Slow Lake Como discovered and love about the area.
The Toc is a traditional meal prepared by local residents during important religious celebrations like weddings and baptisms. Discover more about this food tradition of Bellagio
Pescallo lays on the same promontory of Bellagio but hidden on the other side, facing the Lecco branch perennially admiring the breath-taking show of the Grigne. Really far from every clamor, just a few steps away from the place most visited in Lake Como area Pescallo used to be a finishing village. In Pescallo I did my first kayaking in Lake Como (just a few years ago with a colleague from Argentina) supported by Bellagio Water Sports, where local expert Michele can organize for you SUP and kayak tours ).
Madonna del Ghisallo: the Patron Saint of Cycling
Just a short drive into the mountains south of Bellagio or 40 minutes by bus, you’ll find one of Italy’s legendary cycling routes – Ghisallo Pass. The 552m climb over the distance of 10,6km along the hairpins of this famous hill is not just a challenge for cycling enthusiasts. Ghisallo Pass is a popular feature of the most renowned cycling races like Giro di Lombardia, Giro d’Italia, and many others.
Legend has it that in medieval times, a local count was being attacked by bandits when he saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary, and running towards this vision saved him. Thus, the Madonna del Ghisallo became the patroness of travelers. Then, in 1949 a local priest managed to persuade Pope Pius XII to admit her as the patroness of cyclists. Since then, the small chapel has become a shrine to cycling legends, both living and deceased, and provides a memorial to those who have fallen in our sport.
The views on top of the mountain are spectacular, but the scenery is not the only reason to come here. Ghisallo Pass is literally a place of pilgrimage for cyclists and supporters from all over the world
Partly because the collection of cycling artifacts accumulated was becoming far too big for the small chapel, a purpose-built Museo di Ciclismo has been created nearby on the mountaintop. In contrast to the traditional style of the chapel of the Madonna, the ultra-modern museum building is cut into the very side of the mountain itself – its massive plate glass windows affording breathtaking views of the Lombardia hills and the Lago di Lecco below.
My research about Bellagio lead me to this quick article about a gluten-free experience in Bellagio, I think it could be useful for some of you. Check Gluten Free Palate website.
- Travel Passionate.com The most beautiful towns to visit on Lake Como
- Tripsavvy.com, Bellagio Travel Guide
- The New York Times, 36 Hours: Lake Como, Italy
- Fullsuitcase.com, Discover Bellagio, the Pearl of Lake Como
- BELLAGIO, LAKE COMO ITALY GLUTEN-FREE
- Cycling News, La Madonna del Ghisallo – the Patron Saint of Cycling
Photo: Pescallo & Bellagio Lake Como by Slow Lake Como
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