Como is an industrial town in the north of Italy and is situated at the southern end of the western branch of Lake Como. It is approximately 50km north of Milan and borders Switzerland (Chiasso).
First impressions of Como is that it does not look all that pretty (as with most industrial towns), but once you reach the historic centre of Como with its ancient medieval walls and cobbled streets and the amazing view across the lake, you will change your mind.
During the reign of Julius Caesar and on his orders, the centre of Como was moved from the hills nearby to its present location. This swamp area at the southern end of the lake first of all had to be drained and then the new walled town of Como was built in grid style (typical of Roman times). Many years later the town of Como was destroyed in the decade long war with Milan. Then in 1162 Milan was demolished as the people of Como took their revenge along with the help of Frederick Barbarossa (who descended from Germany and was crowned King of Italy in 1154). Unfortunately there was a run of bad luck for Como as the Austrians claimed the territory in the early 1700’s and then Napoleon marched into the region and decided to rule from 1796 for the next 19 years! The town of Como finally became part of the Kingdom of Italy in the mid 1800’s when it was freed from the Austrians.
Besides being a great place to take excursions across the lake, Como has many things to offer; shops, cafes, sightseeing. One of the main sights to see is the Duomo; the construction of which begun in the late 1300’s. The portal window of the Duomo has statues either side of the famous Pliny the Elder (the uncle; author, naturalist and natural philosopher) and Pliny the Younger (the nephew; lawyer, author and natural philosopher), both from Como.
The magnificent Villa Olma is another of Como’s amazing sights to see; which now hosts various exhibitions. Since Como is famously known for its silk industries, you should take a trip to the Museum of Silk in Como and learn more about silk production and the tools and machines used to make this exquisite material.