Lake Como Identikit: 15 Key Data to Know
The amazing waterfront villas and their luxurious gardens, the exclusive restaurants, the timeless fairy tale vibe of its little villages: it’s not surprising that Lake Como has become over years such a popular destination.
But there’s far more to know about Lake Como than its typical tourist attractions and its Italian culinary treats: we have summed up for you a list of interesting data you might be interested to learn to better understand our place. We like the idea that our clients not only buy a property, but they actually buy the place as well!
#1 The FIRST lake in Italy for perimeter
Lake Como is pretty much huge: it’s 46 kilometers (28.5 miles) long and 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) wide at its widest point. It has an area of 146 square kilometers (56 square miles), making it the third largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore.
#2 The glacial origin
Our lake is of glacial origin: where now you see a blue water, there was a massive glacier.
Its iconic and universally known shape, an inverted Y, does comes from the glacier of the Ice Age.
Fun fact: there’s a local proverb that compares the shape of lake como to the one of a man. It sounds pretty much like this: “Lake Como is like a man: one leg in in Lecco, the other in Como, the butt in Bellagio and the head in Domaso”.
Lake Como is located at 198 meters above the sea level, between the Como and Bergamo Pre-Alps and the Pianura Padana.
#4 Its second name: Lario
A name you’ll often hear Lake Como be called with is Lario. Apparently in the Roman era, according to the writings that came to us, the lake was already called Larius. In the Middle Ages the name changed to Lacus Commacinus as a consequence of the strong presence of the Masters Comacini who gave birth to schools and cultural activities in the area.
#5 Affluents and emissary
Lake Como has 37 affluents (the main ones are Adda, Mera, Fiumelatte, Pioverna, Liro, Livo, Albano, Telo, Breggia, Varrone, Gerenzone and Caldone) but just one emissary: Adda river, which enters the lake near Colico and flows out at Lecco.
#6 Retention time
Lake Como has a retention time (the measurement of time that water spends in a particular lake) of 5.5 years.
#7 a veeeery long Shoreline
Lake Como has one of the longest shorelines in Europe (and definitely the longest in Italy): 170 km long!
#8 the deepest lake in Italy
Lake Como is the fifth deepest lake in Europe: its deepest spot, 410 meters, between the villages of Argegno and Nesso.
Its average depth is around 150 meters (500 feet).
The depth also explains the exceptionally blue color of the water!
#9 Breva & Tivàn
Lake Como has its unique winds: the afternoon one, Breva, from the south, and the morning one, Tivano, from the north.
#10 A CRUCIAL ROLE IN ITALIAN HISTORY
Fascism “ended” on Lake Como in 1945, precisely in Dongo (where Mussolini has been captured) and later in Giulino di Mezzegra (where he’s been executed).
#11 Only one island
Despite its wide surface, Lake Como has only one island: Isola Comacina. It’s tiny (1 km long), and mostly covered of wood and ruins. You can reach it by taxi boat.
The island is surrounded by a bay called Zoca de l'oli, so named for the tranquility of the lake waters and for the spontaneous growth of the olive tree.
Originally the Lavedo peninsula (where Villa del Balbianello is) was an island like Isola Comacina, but gradually the river debris have united it to the land again.
#12 a varied landscape
The Lecco branch is the wildest and by far most suggestive, thanks to the presence of coves and inlets alternated with small villages.
On the other hand, the Como branch boasts the Isola Comacina and the Lavedo promontory (Balbianello). The eastern shore of this branch is particularly impervious and covered with woods; here the villages are still made up of ancient houses perched between the lake and the mountains.
In the north, near Colico and Dorio, there’s a small sunken gulf, almost like an independent body of water, called Lake Piona: it’s the setting for the homonymous Cistercian abbey which stands near its shores, embraced by the peninsula of Olgiasca and the Montecchio Sud.
In the North there’s also a charming natural oasis called Pian di Spagna.
The rains, concentrated in spring and autumn, enable the development of a Mediterranean flora (olive, laurel and cypress) along the coast. You will then find oak and chestnut trees in the hilly area (500-800 meters), and beech forests, firs and larches in the mountains. At the highest floor (up to 2000 meters) you can see junipers, rhododendrons, blueberries and green alders.
The Holy Mount in Ossuccio (Tremezzina) is a U.N.E.S.C.O heritage. The Sacro Monte di Ossuccio is a sanctuary located on a hillside slope between olive groves and woods along the western edge of Lake Como facing Isola Comacina. Fifteen Baroque inspired chapels, built between 1635 and 1710, and dedicated to the Mysteries of the Rosary, are dotted along the way that leads to the Monastery.
A legend tells that Lake Como had, in the bygone era, its own beast: the Lariosaur (aka Larrie).
#15 The best place in the world (and we’re not us to say it!)
In 2014, the blog "The Huffington Post" classified our as the most beautiful one in the world for its mild microclimate and the special environment full of villas and quaint little villages.