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Places to visit in Como in a day

What to see in Como in a day: 7 unmissable sights

Are you looking for ideas for a day trip to Lombardy? Explore beautiful Como, just an hour's train ride from Milan.

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Treat yourself to an escape from the daily grind with a day trip to Como: the Milan-Como train takes only an hour. Discover it on foot, from above with the funicular railway or by boat as the most beautiful villas on the lake pass before your eyes. This is the birthplace of the Roman Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, and Alessandro Volta, to whom the Tempio Voltiano, one of the city's must-see attractions, is dedicated.

And what's the best time of year to visit? From April to the end of September, when the climate is mild and the atmosphere is lively. Here is what to see in Como in one day.

Como's lakefront, starting from Piazza Cavour

Street in the historic centre

If you arrive by train, start your tour from Como San Giovanni station. If you prefer to drive, you can leave your car at the Centro Lago car park, close to the station. It's a 10-minute walk to Piazza Cavour, the beating heart of the city.

The tour begins with a walk on Lake Como with a view of the Lario. Reflected in the waters of the lake is Life Electric, a metal sculpture inspired by Volta's most famous invention, the electric battery.

The Tempio Voltiano, science on show

Tempio Voltiano in Como

Take a stroll through the gardens of the Tempio Voltiano. The Palladian-style temple was built in 1927 to mark the first centenary of Alessandro Volta's death, to house the Volta Museum in Como.

The two floors contain objects, instruments and memorabilia related to the great inventor, many of which were saved from the fire of the 1899 Volta Exhibition. Just beyond is the 30-metre-high Monumento ai Caduti (Monument to the Fallen). Climb to the top to admire the city and the lake from above.

Opening hours:

Tempio Voltiano: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-6pm

Monumento dei Caduti: daily from April to October, 3-6pm

The magnificent villas of Como

Villa Saporiti in Como

Continuing along the promenade along the left bank, take the 'promenade of villas' in Como, built under Habsburg rule. The first is Villa Saporiti, or Villa La Rotonda, built in the late 18th century by architect Leonard Pollack. Napoleon Bonaparte, Queen Isabella of Naples and Prince Ferdinand I of Austria all stayed here.

Don't miss Villa Gallia, built in the 17th century on an older building and remodelled in neoclassical style.

Opening hours:

Villa Saporiti and Villa Gallia: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am-12:30pm and 2:30pm-5pm

Villa Olmo, a garden on the lake

Villa Olmo on Lake Como

Lose yourself in the magnificent park of Villa Olmo, one of the most beautiful villas on Lake Como, before stepping into its splendid neoclassical rooms. The villa dates back to 1782 when Simone Cantoni designed it for Marquis Innocenzo Odescalchi, who wanted a summer residence overlooking the lake.

These frescoed rooms have accommodated celebrities such as Bonaparte, Ugo Foscolo and Giuseppe Garibaldi.

Opening hours:

Villa Olmo: Tuesday to Sunday 10am-6pm

Como Cathedral and Palazzo Broletto, a journey through time in the piazza

Interior of Como Cathedral

Head back towards the centre for a bite to eat before continuing your city sightseeing. What is there to eat in Como? Obviously, pizzoccheri (a type of pasta), polenta uncia (polenta with cheese, browned butter, garlic and sage) and ossobuco (veal shank).

After lunch, dive into the heart of the city and discover Como Cathedral, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, and built in Gothic and Renaissance style. It is located in Piazza Duomo, which is also overlooked by Palazzo Broletto, built in the 13th century with a Gothic-Romanesque façade. Behind the Duomo stands the former Casa del Fascio, an example of rationalist architecture.

Opening hours:

Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta: weekdays 9.30am-5.30pm, holidays 1-4.30pm

Piazza San Fedele, the heart of the walled city

Basilica of San Fedele in Como

The next stop is Piazza San Fedele. The Roman Forum once stood here, and the market was held here until the 19th century. Today it is dominated by colourful 16th-century buildings and the Basilica di San Fedele, one of the most beautiful churches in Como.

It was built in Lombard Romanesque style on the site of an early Christian church dedicated to St Euphemia. Continue the walk to Porta Torre, an impressive 34-metre-high fortress built in 1192 to defend access to the city.

Opening hours:

Basilica di San Fedele: Wednesday to Monday 8:30-12 and 15:30-19

Funicular Como-Brunate, for an exhilarating view

Funicular railway from Como to Brunate

Exploring the streets of the old town, return to the lakefront and take the promenade on the right to reach the Como-Brunate funicular railway and a magnificent vantage point over Como.

It departs from the station on the Geno lakefront. The ride is one kilometre long and it takes 7 minutes to reach the hilltop village of Brunate. From here you can marvel at the town from above as the sun goes down and paints the water and sky in a thousand different colours.

Opening hours:

Funicular Como-Brunate: daily 6-22:30, Saturday and summer season until midnight

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