VARENNA – Many people say that Varenna is the prettiest town of Lake Como. It is not down to us to say whether it is true or not but this ancient fisherman village built on a promontory on the western coast of Lake Como is certainly very fascinating and so romantic, it’s a pearl set between the mountains and the lake.

The town. Varenna, built on a promontory on Lecco’s shore in front of Bellagio, is a small village with just over 900 inhabitants with narrow stone streets and steep staircases leading down to the lake. A peaceful place where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the west coast and the mountains; you can walk along the romantic lake front promenade or around the pretty old village centre; it is frequented by tourists in every season, in the summer when it is possible to go for nice walks amidst beautiful landscapes and splendid views and in the winter when there is a sort of a dreamy melancholy atmosphere.

The villas. There are some nice historic and architectonic sites that are well worth a visit, starting from Villa Monastero, that was originally a Cistercian abbey, then became a Patrician residence and now belongs to the province of Lecco. The villa features many terraces overlooking the lake with numerous species of plants and a beautiful botanical garden.

Heading towards the mountainside above Varenna the Castello di Vezio dominates the whole lake; a well preserved fortress with a curious exposition of birds of prey kept by a falconer who gives daily displays of falconry.

The mountains. If you love nature, Varenna is the perfect starting point for hiking: taking the road from the lake towards the hamlets of Perledo and Esino Lario, you can set out on trips to the Grigne mountains, the dolomites of the prealps, from where you have of the best views of the Prealps. Varenna is also crossed by a 45 kilometer path called Sentiero del Viandante, that winds around the eastern cost of Lake Como from Abbadia Lariana to Colico. There is also an easier pathway 6 km long that goes through the hamlets in Varenna: that’s the Patriarchi Greenway Path.

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