Located 19 mi/30 km from Como, Bellagio is the most famous village on Lake Como. For unforgettable views, it's best approached by ferry from Cadenabbia, Varenna or Menaggio. Bellagio's scenic waterfront is graced by two of its most traditional hotels, the Genazzini, (opened in 1825, now the Metropole) and the Florence, opened in 1852.
The glory of the Belle Epoque can still be felt in Bellagio. Often called "Pearl of the Lake," its position on the headland of the peninsula between Como and Lecco is simply stunning. Bellagio's residents have included Lombard aristocracy, the Austrian empress Sisi, Franz Liszt, Gabriel Faure and Charlie Chaplin, who all enjoyed the extraordinary mild climate. Today, almost half of its visitors are American, (and we're not talking about the Hotel-Casino Bellagio in Las Vegas, built by an U.S. billionaire who fell in love with this place).
Villa Serbelloni, which dominates the promontory, and Villa Melzi d'Eril are only two of several sumptuous mansions in Bellagio. Most of these princely residences are embellished with magnificent gardens. The village, with its cobbled medieval alleyways, the 12th-century church of San Giacomo, flower-adorned shops stocking fashion from Milan's best designers, excellent restaurants, traditional cafes and hip bars, is among the most beautiful in Italy.
Take a walk along the promenade with its pastel-colored fin-de-siecle hotels, palm trees, oleanders and bougainvillea, and you might think that you're in a Mediterranean town. Take a short stroll to the Punta Spartivento at the very tip of Bellagio's promontory for a 270-degree view of the lake and the mountains, or go on a two-hour walk to Monte San Primo to enjoy a fabulous panorama. http://www.bellagiolakecomo.com.
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