Bellagio, frequently called "the pearl of Lake Como," is a top Italian lakeside vacation destination and one of the most romantic places to visit in Italy. Set in an ideal position where the two legs of Lake Como come together, Bellagio has panoramic lake views and a fairly mild climate. There's a pretty lakeside promenade that leads to Villa Melzi with its beautiful gardens. The village has picturesque stone lanes and stairways with shops, gelato bars, cafes, and restaurants.
Bellagio has long had a celebrity cache, with Italy's most famous stars of film and sport vacationing here. And of course, Lake Como's most famous resident, George Clooney, has a villa near Bellagio, and often invites his celebrity friends to come vacation on the lake.
Where to Stay in Bellagio
- Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni is a 5-star luxury hotel overlooking the lake, one of the oldest and most elegant hotels along this part of the lake. It has a pool, several restaurants, and a spa.
- Hotel Suisse is a small, 1-star hotel with a restaurant and cooking school, with an ideal position in town facing the lake.
- Hotel Excelsior Splendide is a 3-star hotel, also facing the lake, with Art Noveau decor, a restaurant and bar, and a small swimming pool.
- Hotel Il Perlo Panorama is a 2-star hotel at the top of a hill 3 kilometers from the town center with gardens, gorgeous lake views, a restaurant, and parking.
Arriving in Bellagio
Bellagio can be reached by bus or passenger ferry from the town of Como, which is on the Milan to Lugano (Switzerland) train line. By car, it's about a 40-minute drive along the lake from Como or Lecco. A car ferry connects to Mennagio on the western shore of the lake and passenger ferries and buses connect to other towns along the lake. The closest Italian airport is Milan Malpensa, about 85 kilometers away.
What to See and Do in Bellagio
While the best thing to do in Bellagio may be to simply relax and enjoy the lakeside ambiance, there are several interesting sights in and near the village.
- I Giardini di Villa Melzi, built in 1808, has a park with sculptures and garden known for its beautiful azaleas and rhododendrons. It's open from the end of March through the beginning of November and admission includes the museum and neo-classical chapel.
- San Giacomo Church (Chiesa San Giacomo), built between 1075 and 1125, is at the top of the historic center. The church is in Lombard Romanesque style and has mosaics, a 12th-century cross, and a 15th-century triptych.
- Villa Serbelloni Park, above the historic center, has an 18th-century garden and great views of the lake. It's open for guided tours from mid-March to early November.
- The Museum of Navigational Instruments, in the hamlet of San Giovanni, can be reached on foot in about 25 minutes, by public boat, or in summer on the tourist train. It's open daily, mornings only.
- Walking paths go along the lake and over the hills to small hamlets and picturesque parts of the lake.
- Boat tours, water sports, and a touristic train tour are available during the summer season. During summer there are many musical events and festivals held in Bellagio, too.