Como is an industrial town in the north of Italy and is situated at the southern end of the western branch of Lake Como. Como is approximately 50km north of Milan and borders Switzerland (Chiasso). On first impression, Como is not that pleasing to the eye (as with most industrial towns) however once you reach the historic centre of Como with its ancient medieval walls, cobbled streets and amazing lake views you will soon be swayed to change your mind.
The town of Como was originally situated in the hills but during the reign of Julius Caesar and on his orders, the centre of Como was moved from the hills nearby to its present location. In preparation for the move of ‘Como’, the swamp area at the southern end of the lake had to be drained and then the new walled town of Como was built in grid style (typical of Roman times). Many years later the town of Como was destroyed in the decade long war with Milan. Then in 1162 Milan was demolished as the people of Como took their revenge along with the help of Frederick Barbarossa (who descended from Germany and was crowned King of Italy in 1154). Unfortunately there was a run of bad luck for Como as the Austrians claimed the territory in the early 1700’s and then Napoleon marched into the region and decided to rule from 1796 for the next 19 years! The town of Como finally became part of the Kingdom of Italy in the mid 1800’s when it was freed from the Austrians.
Thankfully the town of Como recovered from its turbulent history and has become a popular holiday destination with many things to offer; excursions across the lake, shops, cafes, sightseeing. A ‘must see’ whilst visiting the town of Como is the Duomo (cathedral). The building of the Duomo began in the late 1300’s. The portal window of the Duomo has statues either side of the famous Pliny the Elder (the uncle; author, naturalist and natural philosopher) and Pliny the Younger (the nephew; lawyer, author and natural philosopher), both from Como. Villa Olma is another significant ‘must see’which now hosts various exhibitions. You may or may not know that Como is famous for its silk industries, therefore a trip to the Museo della Seta (Museum of Silk) is a very informative one where you can learn more about silk production and the the tools and machines used to make this exquisite material.