Welcome to Cernobbio, renowed international holiday resort on the shores of Lake Como, at the foot of Monte Bisbino, is famous for its magnificent villas.
Villa d’Este, overlooking the lake, was the residence of the Princess of Wales, Caroline of Brunswick, in the 16th century, and now it is turned into a luxurious hotel with a magnificent furniture and a wonderful garden.
Another prominent villa is Villa Erba, dated back to the 18th century. The famous director, Luchino Visconti stayed here, as the villa became the customary residence his mother Carla Erba. Today it has become a multipurpose centre for various events and congresses, and still keeps its sumptuous rooms and its elegant park.
Walk along Cernobbio’s waterfront to discover all the villas: Villa Bernasconi, in liberty style, Villa Fontanelle, that used to belong to Gianni Versace, Villa Pizzo, built in 1435 by the Muggiasca family.
From the village there is a scenic route which leads to Monte Bisbino (1300m) where you can visit the Sanctuary of Virgin Mary (Santuario della Beata Vergine).
Cernobbio – What to see
The most famous and enchanting villa is Villa d’Este, constructed on the lake front in 1568 for Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio and projected by the architect Pellegrino Pellegrina, better known as Tibaldi.
In 1815 Caroline of Brunswick, a descendant of the d’Este family and wife of the future George 3rd of England, took residence here and the villa took the name of Villa d’Este. These were years of care and magnificence for the villa and its park. In 1873 it was turned into a luxurious hotel, without losing any of its original characteristics.
Inside it is decorated with works belonging to the French school, statues from the school of Canova, and Andrea Appiani’s decorations. The magnificent park is interesting too, containing the thermal Waterlily by Pellegrino Pellegrini, Ercole’s fountain and Telemaco’s temple.
Another famous villa is Villa Erba, built in the nineteenth century, it’s located on the shores of Lake Como, just outside the town centre. located on two floors joint together by a stairway and a panoramic turret. In the nineteen twenties, the property passed to Carla Erba, mother of the director Luchino Visconti that spent some of his time here in several occasions. Today the villa has a become conference centre.
Other villas that deserve to be visited are Villa Pizzo or Volpi Bassani, built between mid500 and 800, Villa Fontanelle, that belonged to Gianni Versace and Villa Bernasconi, designed in an eclectic Liberty style.
For those who like walking, the panoramic road that leads you up to Monte Bisbino, is simply unrivalled for its scenery that offers a beautiful glimpse of the lake. Along this road, 17 km long, you can visit caves, like the Fox hole (Buco della Volpe), a large cave with big pools and streams, or the Zocca d’Ass under/below l’Alpe di Garzegallo and further up the Sanctuary of the Virgin Mary (Santuario della Beata Vergine).
Cernobbio – Cuisine and Restaurants
Here listed are some good restaurants in Cernobbio and nearby:
Via Regina 40, Villa d’Este – 22012 Cernobbio
Tel. +39 031 3481
The Veranda overlooks the Lake and the gardens. It is formal and elegant (jacket and tie are required in the evening). Glassed-in or al fresco, windows are automated and can disappear into the ground. In the Summer tables are also set up on the terrace. The menu is traditional Italian haute cuisine.
The Grill is informal, yet the ambience is cozy and chic. The menu lists an interesting variety of regional dishes with a choice of the best Italian wines. In the Summer, meals are served in the garden under the century-old plane trees.
Casa S. Stefano
Via Caronti 7 – 22012 Cernobbio
Tel. +39 031 334 7621
Via Monte Santo, 69
Situated on the top of a hill, from where you can admire a lovely lake view, popular among Vips. Elaborate menu that includes also saltwater fish.
Ristorante La Terrazza Asnigo
Via Noseda, 2 – 22012 Cernobbio
Tel. +39 031510062
Restaurant situated on a hill with large glass windows, from where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the lake. In the summer it’s possible to dine outside.
Via Volta, 21 – Cernobbio
Tel. +39 031 334 7509
This charming restaurant that enjoys a fantastic location in the centre of the city is not far from Villa Erba and only 150m away from the Lake.
Baita Alpe Madrona
Via Bisbino, 66 – Cernobbio
At the Baita Alpe Madrona you can taste some typical traditional dishes and also nice pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven.
Cernobbio – How to get there
From the Milanese air Terminals of Linate, Malpensa and Orio al Serio, you should make your way to the centre of Milan and then take the train to Como.
With the Malpensa Express it is preferable to get off in Saronno and then get the train of The Ferrovie Nord for Como. If you prefer you can choose the bus, line 250, that from Malpensa takes you to Como in just an hour.
To arrive at Cernobbio you have to get off at the Como S. Giovanni’s station and then catch the bus n.6.
Cernobbio is 5 km away from Como centre. From Milan you have to take the motorway A9 (Como-Chiasso), take the exit Como nord and drive along the Statale Regina until you get to Cernobbio, which is the first town you see.
Header photo: by Francesco Cirigliano licensed under the Creative Commons license.