Isola Comacina is opposite Ossuccio, with the Romanesque-Gothic bell tower of the Church of St Mary Magdalene, one of the most-photographed spots on Lake Como. Defensive structures were built on the island in the Roman and Byzantine eras, and it then became a fortress during the fight to repel the barbarian invaders. The houses on this tiny island were razed to the ground in the year 1169 by the people of Como, to punish the inhabitants for their loyalty to Milan when the two Lombard cities were fighting for control of the lake. Until then, the islanders had lived their lives with complete disregard for the fate of the mainland communities. Today, you can reach Isola Comacina by water taxi from Ossuccio, or on the lake clippers run by the local boat service, Navigazione Laghi.
The Baroque Oratory of St John the Baptist is the only historic building still left intact on the island. The oratory stands on the remains of a much older Romanesque building, which is among the many ruined churches dating from that period. There is also a small cluster of rationalist houses, built by the architect Pietro Lingeri in 1940, when attempts were made to make this islet a place for artists, but it is almost impossible to visit them.
On the mainland, the Strada Regina along the Lake's western shore reaches Ossuccio after passing Laglio, famous for being the site of George Clooney's villa, the small bay of Argegno and the village of Sala Comacina.