Gardens of Lake Como

The district of Lake Como is famous for its gardens and villas, and despite its proximity to Switzerland and its soaring dark wooded peeks ( over 2000 m high in some places), the weather is classified as humid subtropical. In winter, the lake helps to maintain a higher temperature in the surrounding region. Average daily temperatures range from about 3.7 °C (39 °F) in January to 23.4 °C (74 °F). Averages, in a sense, don’t deal with aberrations, like the exceedingly warm temperatures (above 25) we experienced in Como in late October recently. The lake is 400 metres deep and is Y-shaped, with two distinct arms. Travelling about by ferry, you can reach most of the 31 municipalities on the lake, all the lovely small Comaschi villages that don’t feature in glossy magazines or brochures. Keep an eye on the ferry timetable though and double-check with the ferry captain about return times, especially when travelling out of season. At each spot, you’ll probably find a small osteria serving the local lake fish or a good risotto. The Province of Como is more than its tourist namesake, the town of Como, which, as a single destination, is disappointing.

Smoke on the water

The clement weather helps explain the presence of palm trees and the luxuriant gardens that make Lake Como so special. The gardens of famous villas can be visited when open during the main tourist season. Many provide backdrops for American weddings. You’ll see plenty of ‘Wedding Planner’ signs around the province of Como. After all, the property rich but cash strapped marchesi need to keep up a certain bella figura. 

Concrete transformed by garden

Not all the lovely gardens are attached to villas. Public spaces are transformed through careful planting. Simple boxy looking houses take on more glamour when draped in Autumn creepers. Some gardens are wild, using the native chestnuts and pines of the ridges above: others are over manicured and formal. The synergy of garden and built environment ( house, village, church, dock, villa) results in a harmonious and glorious whole. It’s a lovely place to visit, especially if you get away from the main tourist traps.

The following collage is a media file full of gardens. Click open the first, then use the arrow to view some of Lake Como’s gardens.

 

Next post: village restaurants of Lake Como.

35 thoughts on “Gardens of Lake Como”

  1. Francesca – Just now I am hugging one of those tree trunks of your title photo staring out at one of my favourite places in the world. Don’t want to talk, don’t want to share . . . just quietly enjoy . . . Love the palms, love the bougainvillea – love to remember my own long walks there . . . . thank you for beginning my weekend with such beauty and harmony . . . . tho’ looking out my study window at a multitude of gumtrees enjoying the clement spring weather has its own well-known attraction also . . .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I might have to call you my tree hugging friend Eha. It’s a lovely place to stroll and enjoy the lake and garden, Oh, did I not mention that it’s time for a Spritz, as well. Our gums though- just smell them in the morning….. hmmmm… don’t start me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Francesca: am too stupid to find out your email address – but am certain you would SO enjoy the current post by ‘Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino’ if you don’t already get it! Rome restaurants divided by geographical and socio-economic districts . . . nice ‘piece’ on Trastevere . . .

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  2. So, so gorgeous. When I hear someone say Lake Como, I always want to say ‘Lago di Como’. It sounds so much more fitting to that beautiful area. I was there many years ago, actually last century 😉 and it was beautiful then but I was looking after my parents’ needs and didn’t feel like I saw it as you have just shown it to me. But maybe that is just your well traveled and narrative experienced eye. Lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Lago di Como sounds so much better. And it had to be pointed out to some fellow travellers that Lake Como , as a title, was describing all the myriad of villages and the lake itself, and not just the tourist town of Como. I also went to Lago di Como last century, in 1985, and saw very little then as we had three kids with us, and the prices of food and so on was way beyond our reach. It was 1985, and the Aussie dollar had crashed badly that year, so travelling with 5 meant eating at railway stations and staying in back packers. It was good to return and indulge in the sights slowly.

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  3. Wonderful take on “transformation”. Though, I would argue that gardens are also part of the built environment. After all, they are constructed. Lovely area you’ve found to explore and at a perfect time with fine weather and few tourists.

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    1. yes, true, they are constructed. Some parts were wild, but when it comes to gardens, those at Como win the ‘built’ award. Might have to re-shuffle my thoughts on the blog. Thanks.

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