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Cernobbio is one of the beautiful old towns that line Lake Como. Narrow streets and quaint houses in shades of pink, terracotta, gold, and cream stucco delight travelers who visit here. Elegant shops, picturesque cafes and restaurants and the ancient church are well worth seeing. The Piazza, where the steamer docks, is a wonderful place to have a coffee, or one of those fabulous Italian ice creams, and talk with the friendly residents.
Cernobbio, which is just a short drive from Milan, was the setting for the movie “A Month by the Lake.” Although the Villa Baglianello featured in the movie is fictional, there is a wealth of other villas here. Many are owned by international film stars like George Clooney, or by Italian business tycoons. Taking the public steamer is a good way to view the villas, as well as to visit some of the other towns on Lake Como. You can also hire private boats, which are able to get closer to shore, as well as boasting knowledgeable guides who will relate tons of history and other information about Cernobbio and the surrounding area.
The Villa d'Este, a stunning and luxurious hotel which used to be a cardinal’s palace, boasts rooms which are almost like museums with their abundance of art. There are also extensive and beautifully landscaped gardens. The garden is private, however, so unless you stay here, you will not be able to view its beauties. The Villa does have one visible claim to fame, and that is the floating swimming pool, the only one is all Italy. The rectangular pool juts out from the shore and seems to literally float on the lake.
Lake Como is surrounded by the Alps, which seem to rise directly from the beautiful blue waters. Mount Bisbino looms 4350 feet above the town of Cernobbio. There is hiking in the area, although driving to the summit is easier, and worth the trip. To see Cernobbio spreading across the hill beneath, the tranquil lake beyond, and the Swiss Alps in the distance is just spectacular.
Because Lake Como is a mountain lake, and not the sea, the beaches here are not the wide, white sand beaches some people expect. A few of the hotels do have beaches, but they are mostly shingle. Swimming is popular, though, as are wind surfing and sun-bathing. The locals say that the north shore of Lake Como is better for water sports, as the water is cleaner.
Cernobbio is a wonderful place to visit. Although it is more well-known than it used to be, it still feels like a real town, not just another tourist trap. It’s a relaxing and stunningly beautiful area for a vacation.