Discover the elegance and charm for which Lake Como is famous at this ancient fishing village. Find grand villas, shady piazzas and plenty of gelato.
Enjoy the beauty of Varenna, where jumbled multicolored buildings are wedged between steep hilly slopes and the still waters of Lake Como. Appreciate the relaxed atmosphere and discover the culture, history and architecture of this lakeside haven.
The appeal of Varenna lies in its simplicity. Narrow lanes weave past old fishermen’s houses. The little strip of shingle beach is perfect for swimming during hot summers. Indulge in fun lakeside activities, enjoy a long leisurely lunch in a traditional restaurant. Visit the gardens of one of the two regal villas, Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi.
Like its Lake Como neighbors, Varenna has a charming waterfront, where a small harbor, a promenade lined with traditional gelaterie (ice cream parlors) and stunning mansions create a romantic Italian Lakes atmosphere. Head up the lanes into the town to find the leafy Piazza San Giorgio. Step inside the Chiesa di San Giorgio and the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista. Both churches have impressive frescoes.
Wander around the stunning gardens of the Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi and be amazed at the vivid blooms. Stretching along the shores of the lake, the gardens weave around ornamental statues and manicured lawns. Villa Monastero is open to the public daily in summer and on select days in other seasons. Visit the villa along with the Casa Museo museum.
Venture a little farther out of the main town to the nearby hamlet of Fiumelatte to see the tiny Fiumelatte River, which flows a bright white in summer. The word “fiumelatte” means “milk river.” For truly breathtaking views, climb up the hill to the ancient Castello di Vezio, the home of the queen of Lombardy many centuries ago.
Varenna provides an excellent base for exploring Lake Como. A direct train line links the little fishing town with Milan, which has several international airports. Spend a fun day aboard one of the ferries that cross the water and link Varenna to other lakeside towns and villages.