This busy, pretty holiday town 4 mi/7 km north of Como is famous for its legendary Grand Hotel Villa d'Este. (But for most mere mortals, the huge garden of Villa Il Pizzo is easier to visit.)

Cernobbio has a beautiful lakefront piazza and interesting old churches. You can take a swim on Lido Riva di Cernobbio, rent a boat for excursions on the lake (, or drive up to Monte Bisbino (11 mi/17 km from Cernobbio, right on the Swiss border) to enjoy the fabulous lake views along the way. Avid walkers should follow the mule tracks and footpaths of the signposted Via dei Monti Lariani, which leads from Cernobbio through magnificent scenery to Monte Bisbino, into the Val d'Intelvi, the Val Menaggio and on to Gravedona and Sorico, at the far north end of the lake. It will take you a week to complete this stunning trek. Mountain huts and quaint B&Bs are readily available. A detailed map and (Italian) description of this walk can be downloaded at

Cernobbio's weekly market is held in the old town on Wednesday.

Just south of Cernobbio, Villa Erba was once the home of film director Visconti. It's also graced with a beautiful park, which you might be able to visit if you attend one of the international conventions or cultural activities organized in the villa. The gardens are open to the general public May-October Saturday 2-6 pm, Sunday 10 am-6 pm. You may also book a private tour of some of the grandest rooms.

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