September is the month of new beginnings: the new school year is starting and you’re returning to work, where you want to be back among friends, telling stories and sharing experiences.
It’s the perfect month for walks in nature, seeing its changing colours, enjoying its marvellous and picturesque landscapes, where the days are still long and warm, the weather and the atmosphere are ideal for a bit of weekend pampering.
Here’s an itinerary to discover the spectacular landscape of the Alpine foothills, in Lombardy, on the shores of Lake Como, discovering old villages and restorative walks, all designed so you can take the trip in your electric car.
Starting out from Milan, our restorative weekend starts with a fully charged car, heading for Bellagio, around one and a half hours away.
The municipality overlooks Lake Como and is noted for its cobbled lanes, elegant buildings, the views and green spaces of the Parco di Villa Serbelloni, as well as the Romanesque Basilica di San Giacomo, the Museum of Navigational Instruments and the Torre delle Arti gallery space, a venue for shows and exhibitions.
After visiting Bellagio, the itinerary continues from its pier, taking the ferry towards Varenna.
The historic and colourful village of Varenna
One of the earliest references to this extremely picturesque village dates back to 1769, when Varenna was a small fishing village. Today it’s a very romantic and evocative place, overlooking the waters of Lake Como, enriched by its splendid artistic heritage. In the central square, the pulsing heart of the little village, St. George’s Church and the Church of St. John the Baptist face one another, both boasting precious frescoes and painted fragments of antique origin. Walking along the village’s lanes, you’ll come across the Villa Monastero, a 16th-century architectural complex with its museum house and botanic gardens, and Villa Cipressi, a house from the late Renaissance period, whose terraces lead down to the lake.
After a scenic lunch break recharging both body and soul, taken at one of the village’s traditional hostelries, restaurants or bistros with a view, the last enchanting place to visit, before returning to the ferry, is the Passeggiata degli Innamorati [Lovers’ Walk], a metal walkway set into the rock overhanging the lake, covered with climbing plants, which will lead you to the pier.
Oliveto Lario and the enchanting beach at Onno
Once you’re back at Bellagio, you’re just 20 minutes by car from Oliveto Lario. Whilst your vehicle is charging at the points on Via Garibaldi no. 52, this is a perfect opportunity to visit the beach at Onno, which is untamed and freely accessible, the perfect place to end your first day outdoors, enjoying the sunset with a view of Lake Como.
The following day, feeling relaxed and regenerated, the journey continues towards Magreglio, around 17km from Onno.
Trekking to the Madonna del Ghisallo
Magreglio is a small medieval village, which became famous in the world of cycling thanks to the arduous climb that forms part of the Tour of Lombardy. It’s the starting point for cycling and walking excursions to the summits of the famous Larian Triangle, where you can visit the sanctuary of the Madonna del Ghisallo,
who was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII as the universal patroness of cyclists. The Museum of Cycling is also close to the sanctuary.
Reaching the pass by bicycle is a feat that requires good training, but the panoramic view over Lake Como repays the effort many times over.
After this first revitalising panoramic excursion, you’ll want to explore the other beauties of the area leading to Nesso, around 27km away by car.
The spectacle of the Orrido di Nesso
The small picturesque village of Nesso sits on the shores of Lake Como, where the Tuf and Nosè streams meet and create the famous waterfall, which shares the name of the village and makes this place incredible.
The spectacular ravine, created by a deep fracture in the rock, explodes into a waterfall with a drop of more than 200 metres, known as the Orrido di Nesso, one of Italy’s most impressive waterfalls, which splits the village in two. Nesso, characterised by its narrow lanes which lead to the remains of a castle dating back to the 14th century, is also crossed by the ancient Strada Regia, a collection of bridleways that connect all the villages on the eastern shore of the lake. Today it’s a walking and cycling trail that’s more than 30km end to end.
After a morning of explorative excursions and breath-taking views, it’s time for lunch, sampling dishes that are typical of the lake area. You just need to choose one of the trattorias and inns with panoramic views.
Among the arches and views of Como, always looking towards the lake.
The final stage of this weekend outdoors is Como, just 19km by car from Nesso. When you arrive at Como, while your car is charging at the points on Piazzale Gerbetto, it’s worth discovering the beauty that makes this town so special. From Piazza Cavour, where the port of Como once opened into, start by exploring the centre of the ‘walled city’ of the same name, with its old houses that have been renovated in the style of the 19th century.
The area has many buildings you should see, starting from the 15th century Cathedral and continuing to the old town hall in Broletto, today used as an exhibition space. After a walk in the lively Piazza San Fedele, you can continue your visit with a sightseeing walk along the lake, starting from the Volta Temple and meandering along the lake shore, which offers beautiful scenery.
A final view before returning
Before leaving the lake, you can take the opportunity to admire it from a unique point of view: by funicular railway to Brunate, a village that offers a view from 715 metres, where you can get a meal and one last moment of pleasurable relaxation before getting back in your car, ready to conclude your weekend and return to Milan.