The elegant hilltop suburb of Brunate is home to a plethora of villas and gardens. It can be reached in seven minutes via a small funicular from the eastern end of the Lungo Lario Trieste, which runs along the shore of Lake Como.

The views from the "Balcony of the Alps" are, of course, fabulous. A 30-minute-walk from Brunate along a forest path leads up to the Faro Voltiano, an octagonal lighthouse built in 1927. At an altitude of almost 3,280 ft/1,000 m, its platform affords sweeping views of the Alps. You can also walk up the Monte Boletto, or, if you're feeling less energetic, take one of the signposted walks down to Como, with some very beautiful villas on the way. Brunate can also be reached easily by car. It's located 4 mi/7 km from Como.

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