An ideal place to stay away from the crowds that fill the main tourist resorts in the summer, Cernobbio features a quaint old town that culminates in a wide lakefront promenade that can be reached in just 15 minutes by boat from the city of Como, and where there are bars, restaurants and even a lido: everything you need to make the most of your day!
Cernobbio is also home to some of Lake Como’s most famous villas, including Villa d’Este, an annual landmark for the nations of the world who meet at the Ambrosetti Forum. Also, not to be missed are Villa Pizzo and Villa Bernasconi with their fascinating special features, or the scenic Villa Erba during special events.
In addition, Cernobbio is an excellent starting point to take refuge in nature, thanks to the presence of a secret garden and more challenging paths from which you can enjoy beautiful views of Lake Como. Enjoy your trip and discover the best things to do in Cernobbio during your vacation!
Cernobbio’s historic center is built around Piazza Risorgimento, the town’s main square that represents Cernobbio’s lakefront.
This area, known locally as Riva di Cernobbio, is the most popular with tourists as it is home to the Art Nouveau pier and several hotels, bars, restaurants, and also a playground for children.
Two monuments are located here: the War memorial (Monumento ai Caduti), created by sculptor Angelo Galli and dedicated to the victims of the two world wars, and the one dedicated to Giuseppe Garibaldi, a well-known Italian general and patriot.
Attached to the center is the historic village, which branches off through its alleys that will allow you to admire enchanting views of Lake Como. Walking through the narrow streets it will be possible to relive the history of fascinating places, monuments and churches.
A very evocative church, located a few steps from the Riva, is the Church of San Vincenzo, built in medieval times but renovated in the 1700s; it stands out for the bright colors of its facade, in Baroque style.
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Villa Bernasconi was the residence of the wealthy Bernasconi family, responsible for the introduction of a silk factory that was the reason for the town’s great growth during the 20th century.
Characterized by a lively Art Nouveau style with decorative motifs reminiscent of the silk production process, the villa has over time become an important cultural center and one of the most sought-after locations for summer events (such as concerts or food and wine events). Inside, the villa houses an interactive museum that chronicles its evolution over the century.
Villa Bernasconi is a ten-minute walk south from Riva di Cernobbio, and regular admission costs €8. Learn more about Villa Bernasconi!
Villa Pizzo is located on the opposite side of Cernobbio from Villa Bernasconi.
Built in the first half of the 19th century on the promontory from which it takes its name, Villa Pizzo has been owned over time by several Italian and European noble families and today is an exclusive location for private or corporate events, surrounded by a beautiful garden with a dock on the lake.
Especially in summer, the villa organizes numerous guided tours that will take you on a discovery of this extraordinary mansion with breathtaking views of Lake Como. Learn more about Villa Pizzo!
Villa Erba is the place where the famous director and screenwriter Luchino Visconti spent many of his summers. Villa Erba is a true masterpiece of 19th-century architecture, full of breathtaking frescoes, rooms with inlaid walls and majestic ballrooms that will make you experience the atmosphere of The Leopard.
Even today, the villa hosts numerous cultural and musical events, as well as weddings, private events, international conventions and trade fairs. It is possible to visit Villa Erba only during public events (fairs, concerts, etc.) or on certain days of the year. Find out more about Villa Erba!
The magnificent Villa d’Este is a Renaissance residence located on the shores of Lake Como, one of the few 5-star luxury hotels on Lake Como and also one of the finest in the world. Therefore, it cannot be visited except by its guests.
Directly overlooking the lake, the complex includes a botanical park of about 10 hectares enriched with statues and wonderful architectural elements, a floating pool as well as several buildings (two are the main ones reserved for guests).
Villa d’Este has always been a resort for politicians, intellectuals, and clergymen; today the villa also hosts important international congresses (such as the Concorso d’Eleganza or the Ambrosetti Forum). Learn more about Villa d’Este!
The Giardino della Valle is a “secret botanical garden” in Cernobbio, located in the bed of the Garovo stream, a short distance from Villa d’Este and the town center.
Born from the reclamation of an illegal dump, based on an idea of resident Ida Frati, the Giardino della Valle has become an oasis of tranquility and reflection, and a meeting place for children, youth, adults, the elderly, painters, photographers, musicians, poets and writers.
The garden now boasts thirty different species of plants, sculptures, ponds, wooden bridges and a bookcrossing library, where you can exchange books and read while being lulled by the gentle sound of the stream.
The Giardino della Valle is always open, and it is recommended to visit in spring because of the blooms that allow you to walk surrounded by colors and scents. Please note: due to the nature of its paths, the visit is not recommended for those who have difficulty walking or those who need to bring a stroller.
Two beautiful nature trails start from Cernobbio: the Sentee di Sort and the more challenging Via dei Monti Lariani.
Sentee di Sort
The trail is fairly easy and not too long, suitable even for older children (be careful because there are still some exposed and somewhat narrow passages, one of which is secured by chains). However, I do not recommend walking the trail with large dogs or strollers.
The Sentee di Sort starts from Rovenna, a small hamlet above Cernobbio that can be reached by the C28 bus, runs along a route that totals about 2.5 km (1.5 miles) and offers magnificent views of Lake Como.
Via dei Monti Lariani
The Via dei Monti Lariani is a hiking trail consisting largely of paths and mule tracks that runs along the western shore of Lake Como starting in the town of Cernobbio and ending in Sorico.
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