Routes by car – From Milan to Varenna, the alternative slow

The Lake of Como is a traditional destination for a day trip from Milan: just take the highway A8/A9, and in a moment you come to their waters. Here, however, we suggest an alternative route, which will allow you to get to some of the most beautiful places that overlook on its banks, avoiding the solution more rapid, but also more banal. With the caveat to always check before starting that the museums and places of interest are open.

It comes from the metropolis of lombardy to the north, taking the s.s. 36 laps at Monza, its park and the famous autodrome; it continues on its path, which becomes a dual carriageway, up to Nibionno, where you will leave to reach the Grass on the s.p. 342 and 41. There we will first stop to visit the church of St. Euphemia, with a tower bell of the end of the XI century, the monument to the Fallen of the First world war by the architect Giuseppe Terragni, the nearby open-air theatre Licinium, built in 1923 to host performances of classical works, and the remains of the Castle of Villincino.

Ramps for cyclists. Recovery the drive, you will walk along the provincial road s.p. 41 to Canzo and Asso, along the small Lake of Segrino: the two places are contiguous. We will stop to visit some of the villages and churches of great value, such as the basilica of Santo Stefano di Canzo and by the seventeenth century, St. John the Baptist to the Ace, and then continue in the direction of Magreglio and Ghisallo. It is the latter, a hill that connects the Valassina, with the upper part of Lake Como: with a pass at the altitude of 754 meters, is dear to cyclists, providing a challenging test (especially on the lariano). Not surprisingly, at the top, as well as the sanctuary dedicated to the Madonna del Ghisallo, which preserves relics of the great champions of the two wheels, we will find the statues of Coppi and Bartali, but also the Museo del ciclismo, dedicated to the great of the specialty.

A balcony on the lake. Our journey continues along the bends of the s.p. 41 that allow us to reach the first Civenna, called “the balcony on Lake Como” for its panoramic position, then Bellagio, the famous tourist resort of sorts on one of the vertices of the so-called Triangolo Lariano. Here we will stop for the time necessary to admire the elegance and beauty, renowned in the SIXTEENTH century: among other things, we will be able to visit the romanesque parish church of San Giacomo, which houses a Deposition from the cross of Jesus by Perugino.

Glimpses of manzoni’s. We then the lake with the s.p. 583 that runs all the way around until you reach Lecco, where is the need of another stop to appreciate the architecture of the nineteenth century, and the remains of the epoch of the visconti, such as the tower of piazza XX Settembre, focusing also on the basilica of San Nicolò (with a facade of 1774) and the bronze monument to Alessandro Manzoni. The s.s. 36, which runs along the opposite shore of the lake, will allow us finally to move from Mandello del Lario, home of Moto Guzzi (which has its own museum), and getting to Varenna, a romantic village which is, not coincidentally, will give us a “walk of love”, realized with a suspended walkway on the water.

To see: the noble villas of Bellagio and Varenna. Holiday destination par excellence, the Lake Como is dotted with fine villas: is a list of some of the affected by this route, worth a visit. In Bellagio, Villa Melzi d’eril was realized between 1808 and 1810, for the account of Francesco Melzi d’eril, duke of Lodi, who entrusted the construction to the architect Giocondo Albertolli, a leading exponent of neo-classicism: decorated by painters such as Andrea Appiani and sculptors such as James Canova, the complex, surrounded by fine landscaped gardens enriched with works of art aroused the admiration of Stendhal, who mentioned in one of his works. Always in Bellagio, Villa Serbelloni offers another scenic park, in which the earl who built it in the second half of ‘700, made roads and paths for nearly 18 kilometres in length. Of the property of the Rockefeller Foundation, the villa now houses a luxury hotel and a conference venue, but its fine Italian gardens (with cypress trees, olive trees, terraces) can be seen with a guided tour. In Varenna are Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi. The first boasts a botanical garden full of exotic tree species, such as palms, african, agaves and yuccas; the park is decorated with vases, sculptures, and a small neoclassic temple, while the building is an old convent transformed by the family Mornico, who bought it in the ‘600, in a patrician residence. Inside you can visit 14 rooms with furniture preserved. The neighbouring Villa Cipressi consists of a complex of buildings, built between the ‘400 and’800, and owes its name to the rows of cypress trees that adorn the garden consists of terraces sloping towards the lake, which offer beautiful views. It houses an elegant hotel, but the park is open during hours that vary according to the season. In Lecco, finally, in the ward of the Texas is located the Villa Manzoni, which belonged to the homonymous family from 1615 to 1818, when the writer sold it to the family of Scola. Manzoni spent his childhood and his youth, drawing inspiration for the plots of his future masterpiece. Of a neoclassical building, the villa, which includes the chapel of the Assunta, where you will find the tomb of the father of Alexander and an altarpiece of the eighteenth century; the ground floor houses a museum manzoniano, divided into nine rooms with original décor, while the second is devoted to the municipal art Gallery, full of hundreds of paintings and engravings, especially of the lombard school.


Total distance: 120 km

Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes (stops not included)

Check out the other routes in the car

Source: Quattroruote.en – Edited by Anthon K.