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The village of Lenno is one of the great hidden treasures of Lake Como. It is 27 kilometres from Como, in the Tremezzina region, well known for abundant foliage and a popular swimming spot. No water pollution here!
Since it is a bit off the main thoroughfare, you will find unspoiled beaches and lots of peace and quiet for your romantic getaway. Or stay for a month, and feel your stress melting away.
A key attraction in Lenno is Villa Balbianello, the sumptuous location chosen as a movie set by both Casino Royale and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Take a boat excursion from the Lido of Lenno to discover luxurious and vibrant gardens.
The villa was built on the cliff in the 1700s by Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini. The second owners were the American Ames family; Count Guido Monzino was the third. The count generously donated the villa to the FAI (Italian Ambient Fund) in 1988.
A three-section colonnade overlooks Lake Como’s inlets, which have unique personalities. The cardinal named one of them the Bosom of Venus for its gentle nature, and the other the Gulf of Diana, for its wildness. Be sure to tour the odium and the library.
Next, stroll the promenade and pick up brochures at the tourist information office. If you like churches, wander into the 11th century Roman baptistery in the main square.
Then lunch in the Piazza XI Febbraio, where you can get a good view of the World War II memorial. At Trattoria Santo Stefano, a Slow Food restaurant, sample fresh lake fish, such as grilled chub and homemade ravioli. The Piazza also has its own winery, and be sure to request the hand-pressed olive oil.
Enjoy a post lunch drowse at the pebble beach near the Gulf of Venere. After the sun has set, dine at the Lido di Lenno Beach Bar, open until 4 a.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, dance the night away right on the beach. No cover charge, and the drinks are reasonable.
When you’re finally exhausted, sleep in a charming attic room at the four-star Hotel Lenno. The hotel is situated in the Gulf of Venus, which overlooks Lake Como. Enjoy the sauna, pool and terrace. The restaurant offers Italian fare and premium wines.
The next day, ride the funicular railway to Brunate for an aerial lake view. From the peak, you can hike or ride a bus to the Faro Voltiano, a lighthouse. Ascend a spiral stairway for a unique perspective on the Italian countryside.
Or amble over to the Pissarottino Fountain, and back down to Lenno through a gorgeous wooded area. Don’t miss the Eremo Saint Donato, a fifteenth century convent.