The remarkable landscape was formed at the end of the last Ice Age when the Alpine glaciers retreated, leaving deep lake-filled valleys. For over ten thousand years people have been leaving their mark here, from prehistoric rock carvings at Val Camonica to the magnificent 17th and 18th century villas that surround Lake Como.
Lake Como is the most dramatic of the three great lakes and has a depth of 410 metres, it is one of the deepest lakes in Europe. Although smaller than Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda, it has the longest perimeter at 170km (106 miles). Lake Como is approximately 29 miles (47 km) long and up to 2.5 miles (4 km) wide.
The lake is shaped like an inverted Y and the town of Colico is situated at the northern part of the lake whilst the town of Como is situated at the southwestern branch and Lecco sits on the southeastern branch. These three branches of the lake all meet at La Punta Spartivento (‘the Point that divides the Wind’), the beautiful resort of Bellagio. Villas, gardens and villages are dotted all along the western branch of the lake making it the more scenic route of the two branches. The eastern branch, known as the Lago di Lecco is more rugged with fewer villages and at its southern tip is the large industrial centre of Lecco.