From the cloud-piercing peaks of its Alpine mountains to the depths of its vast lakes, Lombardy features some of Italy’s most captivating scenery – and Lake Como is no exception. Ferry along this shimmering body of water, called ‘Lario’ by the locals, to visit the charming conurbations of the Como province, including its eponymous capital city.
Offering food to match the view, you’ll find award-winning restaurants a short walk from many of our favourite properties here. Stay at one of the Villa d’Este residences in Cernobbio for easy access to I Tigli in Theoria, an elegant Michelin-starred restaurant in the city’s centre. Enjoy the contemporary cuisine, made with the freshest seasonal ingredients, and work through one of the tasting menus – all of which include a pre-dinner welcome from the chef.
In the lake-side commune of Torno, you can indulge in more Michelin-star fare at Berton al Lago. This restaurant boasts a beautifully modern interior with a show-stealing stairwell, as well as an outdoor terrace so you can dine overlooking Lake Como. The food is contemporary and Italian, celebrating the best produce of the local surroundings; there’s freshly caught fish from the lake’s deep blue waters as well as wine from the verdant Valtellina mountains to the north-east. You can try more of the region’s wine alongside exquisite biscotti, jams and grappa at Cantina Follie, an artisanal food and drink shop in nearby Tremezzina.
After dining at Berton al Lago, bed down a minute away in A&K favourite Villa Pliniana, a restored 16th-century palazzo perched at the foot of forested slopes, so close to the water you can almost dip your toe in. Alternatively, avoid the hassle of restaurant reservations by choosing a luxury villa in Lake Como complete with personal chef, such as Villa Balbiano – it’s the ultimate gastronomic indulgence.
Adrift in Lake Como is a solitary island. Isola Comacina rises out of the water in tufts of green leaves, a short boat ride from the coastal commune of Ossuccio. Formerly razed to the ground in a medieval battle between the forces of Como and Milan, then cursed by a vengeful bishop, Comacina has thankfully transformed into a quiet island retreat and artists’ residence. Stop by the only restaurant here, the Locanda, which serves a rustic menu barely changed in decades. Courses consist of simply prepared vegetables, grilled trout, fried and oven-cooked chicken, DOP-certified parmigiano-reggianoand peaches with ice cream. The no-frills feast is finished off with a literal flash in the pan; as per tradition, brandy is set alight to exorcise the bad vibes left by the bishop’s curse – then added to sugar and coffee before being served to guests. Enjoy the alcoholic heat of this rich tipple as your host recounts the history of the island. For an unfettered view of the island, stay at Villa Ausacium.