Como is an elegant and lively town, lying on the southwestern branch of the lake of the same name, in a unique natural landscape and surrounded by lush verdant hills. Luxurious villas, elegant buildings and ancient churches highlight the beauty of the city, while the lovely alleys and the colourful piazzas add to its charm. Como is also referred to as “the city of silk”. Back in the 1400s, Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, decided to plant mulberry trees around the lake to feed the silkworms, and the city has been the largest silk producer in Italy since then.
Point of interest
The most stunning piece of architecture in town is the splendid Duomo (the cathedral), dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta. Its construction began in 1396, and lasted four centuries overall, in a splendid fusion of styles – Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. Como is also renowned for its lakeside villas with lush gardens, such as the Neoclassical Villa Olmo, built in 1780, now a popular venue for congresses, events and art exhibitions. The city has become one of the major tourist destinations in northern Italy, and is a hit with Italian and international celebrities alike.
Bergamo is a small “two-storey” city in Lombardy, with a rich history and a stunning architectural legacy. The walled upper town, Bergamo Alta, is beautifully preserved, with wonderful cobbled streets and lovely mediaeval buildings. The modern, lower town, Bergamo Bassa, is connected to the older, upper district via a funicular railway.
Points of interest
Major landmarks include the Venetian walls, which were built by the Republic of Venice in the 16th century, when Bergamo was a possession of that State, in order to protect the city from the Republic of Milan and from France, when the Republic of Venice was starting to lose its monopoly of maritime trade. These walls – a symbol of the rich and bold history of Bergamo – are the keepers of a beautiful city, waiting to be explored.