Things to do and see in Varenna, the Pearl of Como Lake

April 26, 2013

On the shores of Como Lake, in the province of Lecco, there is Varenna, a small village of just over 800 inhabitants, connected with the opposite town of Bellagio by ferry. The position of Varenna, situated on a rock at the foot of a mountain, in addition to its classic villas with garden hosted on its lakefront, have led it to the definition of the Pearl of Como Lake.

For those who decide to spend one or more days of vacation near Varenna, the village offers a variety of attractions of interest. Despite its small size, things to do and see in Varenna are truly many.

First of all there is the Church of St. George, which was consecrated in 1313 and restored in 1957, which is today a three-aisled basilica in Romanesque style. Inside there are many art works, including the frescoes in the nave, the Deposition from the Cross and the polyptych of St. George.

Another place of interest is the Castle of Vezio, an ancient medieval fortress overlooking Varenna, born as a watchtower and home of the Lombard Queen Theodolinda. It is currently a center for breeding, care and training of birds of prey.

In Varenna is possible to visit two beautiful classic villas. Founded as a convent of nuns, Villa Monastero is currently a conference center and, since 2003, the site of a museum in which are presented the original furnishings. Villa Cipressi is instead an architectural complex overlooking the center of the lake, the rooms of which are open to the public. Both villas are characterized by their beautiful gardens, which are home to many important and interesting plant species.

For lovers of birds, it is recommended to visit the Luigi Scanagatta Museum, dedicated to the researcher of ornithology, which houses a collection of migratory specimens of considerable importance that live on Como Lake and more generally in Italy.

Finally a trip to Varenna cannot be considered complete without visiting the fraction of Fiumelatte; its name derives from the river that runs through it, the shortest waterway of Italy, so named for the white foam formed by the stream, that flows in the spring from a cave into the waters of Como Lake.

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