Visit Tremezzo, Lake Como for 2020/21 with SNO®
All hail the Azalea Riviera, with its blooming flowers, bobbing boats and blow-your-socks-off scenery. Together with Mezzegrea, Lenno and Ossuccio, tiny Tremezzo’s part of Tremezzina – a charming commune covering part of Como’s western shore. When you’re not gazing into the depths of the lake or up at the many mountains, set your sights on the area’s grand gardens, artsy villas, medieval ruins and charming old chapels…
Then, close your eyes completely to take in the floral and citrusy alpine air - courtesy of bright blossoms, orange and lemon trees (once a week, fresh produce from the food market adds to the mix). Between the hills and lakeside are all manner of activities, from panoramic hikes to ventures around villas and long, al fresco lunches spent watching the world go by. You could fill every second, though sparing some time for dolce far niente is just as important.
Walkers can have a whale of a time exploring Lake Como from Tremezzo. The village sits right on the legendary Greenway del Lagio di Como, an incredibly scenic 10km path between Colonno and Cadenabbia di Griante, following parts of an old Roman road called the Strada Regina. Head down the lake, over the Bolvedro bridge and stop in the churchyard of Sant’Abbondio – the views back over Tremezzo are amazing. Along the rest of the Greenway, you pass Medieval towers, charming chapels, piazzas and olive groves – plus some stonkingly pretty lake views.
Heading up the lake, the walk from Cadenabbia to the San Martino chapel is a must – it takes about an hour and gives you yet another view of the lake to knock your socks off. If you want to explore other parts of the lake, you can access the ferry via Cadenabbia for transport to Bellagio and Varenna. The former has oodles of charming old hamlets and villas to wander between, while Varenna’s most famous for its Wayfarers Path, a good 2-3 hour hike on ancient mule track.
Further up from Cadenabbia, the Parco Val Sanagra behind Menaggio has gorgeous trails through meadows and forest – wherever you walk make sure you meet local celebrity (celebritree?!), Rogolone – said to be one of Europe’s oldest oaks.
Hikers seeking altitude have to experience Monte Galbiga. A funicular from Argegno takes care of the climb up to Pigra, leaving your legs fresh and ready to hike the mountain in a couple of hours. You can also head down to Collono or over to Lake Lugano.
Tremezzo’s hard to beat if you’re a foodie in Lake Como. La Terrazza gets frequent mentions in the Michelin guide – try Gualtiero Marchesi’s creations featuring fish from the lake. La Darsena does too thanks to chef Marcello’s modern twists on traditional dishes and a super scenic setting (book a lake view table at sunset as far in advance as possible). We like the Red and White Wine Bar for pizzas and the obvious beverages, and L’Escale is another good spot for oenophiles – you can dine within a wine cave or out on the veranda. Al Veluu is a super spot if you want to push the boat out – up in the hills behind Tremezzo it sees some of the best sunsets on the lake, and cooks up some incredible European cuisine.
Tremezzo’s tremendously exciting for cyclists. You can circumnavigate the lake completely from here (clockwise puts you closer to the lake) or enjoy shorter stretches up and down the waterfront – the local roads are some of the narrower around Como, but unless you ride on the weekend, they rarely get too trafficy.
If you want some bucket list bike rides, head up to Cadenabbia and take the ferry to Bellagio for two iconic (and thigh testing) climbs – the first is Madonna de Ghissallo, a 10km ride up to a chapel which has become a world-famous shrine of cycling. The second, which you can continue onto after Ghisallo, is Muro di Sormano – probably the steepest, toughest but most rewarding 2km you’ll ever ride.
Mountain bikers with good technical skills should head straight to Argegno. The cableway here leads up to Pigra (if you’re gaga for gradients you can opt to cycle up instead…). The ride down is fabulous, leading along WWI trenches and a white-knuckle narrow slope before returning to the lake.
Visiting villas is by far one of the favourite activities around Tremezzo (pronounce it: Tree-metz-o), with the Carlotta and Balbianello (in nearby Lenno) being two local favourites. Tennis is available in some of the larger hotels.
When it comes to water activities, you can usually hire boats just north of Via Carlotta. Some of the bigger hotels offer water skiing and there’s sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing available to the north. Golf-wise, the nearest course is the Menaggio e Cadenabbia Golf Club - with 18 holes and over 100 years of history, it’s a corker.
Bar Red 7 White has both a brilliant wine menu and, just over the road from the lake, lovely views (the sarnies and pasta aren’t bad either if you’re peckish). Acqua Cheta is in the park Teresio Olivelli and puts you even closer to the water, looking over the famous Gulf of Venus. Come at the weekend for DJ sets and live music or come any day at sunset for stonking scenery.
The best airport for Tremezzo is Milan Malpensa, with Milan Linate and Bergamo airports only about 40 minutes further out. From the UK, the flight time lasts around 2 hours. Our holidays often have airport transfers included, but if you’d rather have a car, hire companies operate from the airports.
Another way to reach Lake Como after your flight is the train: Malpensa airport has a rail station and buses connect Linate and Bergamo airports with the main stations in Milan. Trains run into Como city, which has buses to take you to Tremezzo.
Up towards Cadenabbia, Carlotta is one of the lake’s most talked about villas. Neoclassical in style, it dates back to the late 17th century and was commissioned by a marquis from Milan. When it comes to views, this place will wow you – facing Dolomite cliffs and Bellagio’s peninsular. One owner, a politician and art collector, installed some fine masterpieces by Vanova, Magno, Hayez and more, which you can view in the villa’s museum. The bedroom of a later owner, Princess Charlotte of Prussia (after whom the villa gets its name) is perfectly preserved with Baroque furnishings. That’s before we get to the gardens, which are nothing short of glorious.
Clooney, whooney? THIS is Como’s true movie star, having appeared in Casino Royale and Star Wars Episode II among others. Down the lake in Lenno, it’s a total Hollywood heartthrob, on a handsome bit of headland named Avedo, overlooking the Venus Gulf. Terraced gardens surround this palatial property – don’t miss the cartographers hall or the views from the Loggia.
Down the lake past Lenno is the lovely little town of Ossuccio, home to a pretty Romanesque abbey.
You can catch a boat from Ossuccio to Isola Comacina - at 600 x 200m, this speck of land is Lake Como’s only island. There’s a fascinating past to this place: it’s been a Roman stronghold and artist’s colony and seen sieges aplenty. Legend and lore exist, too - the Holy Grail was supposedly brought here and a medieval bishop placed a centuries-old curse that an exorcism is still performed against to this day…
Visiting Comacina, you can explore the archaeological sites of the island’s 9 former churches and see the Church of S. Giovanni (with its 17th century bell tower) as well as three artists houses. There’s also the chance to dine in the island’s restaurant, which has served the same dishes since it opened and performs the aforementioned exorcism every time anyone eats there…
Lenno (3km): 5-10 minute drive/bus or 40-minute walk from Tremezzo
Cadenabbia (900m): 2-5 minute drive/bus or 10-minute walk from Tremezzo