Why Argegno Is The Perfect, Unspoilt Base for Your Lake Como Getaway
You’ll think we’re probably biased because this village is home to our branch, but we’ll keep repeating it fiercely: we simply love Argegno (pronounced ar-GEE-nioh).
We are talking about a charming hamlet located on the western shore of Lake Como - facing its waters in their deepest spot - only about 15 Km from Como.
A passenger ferry runs from the town and the famous L'Isola Comacina, Villa Balbianello, Villa Carlotta and the vibrant Tremezzo shore are all within easy driving distance of Argegno, making it the ideal base for your Lake Como escape.
With Lake Como in front and the glorious mountains of Val d’Intelvi behind, Argegno is situated on one of the narrowest parts of the Como branch (you’ll see how the opposite shore will look incredibly close!), so what you clearly see from the waterfront promenade are charming wooded slopes that rise straight up from the water, and beyond them, the Dolomites.
It may interest you to know that the historical center of Argegno in 2018 has been chosen as set of Netflix Murder Mystery, with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. Well, apparently the charme of this village hasn’t gone unnoticed.
In this article we’d like to provide you the big picture of all you can do in Argegno, all the amenities not to be missed, as well as our tips to enjoy this romantic hamlet at its best.
If you want to spend your holiday somewhere a little quieter and quainter than Lake Como’s big tourist destinations, read on and take notes!
WHY WE DEEPLY LOVE ARGEGNO
We’d like to start our little reportage on Argegno telling you, as locals, what exactly we love of this tiny village.
Consider that Argegno is somehow an unspoilt corner on the western coast of Lake Como.
This village is not glamorous and popular like many of its neighbors, and that is its purest allure. It has retained its individual, unique character.
While Bellagio, Varenna, Menaggio and the whole Tremezzina area are internationally popular and full of amenities, Argegno is less well known. So if you are looking for experiencing an authentic Italian village life, with fewer crowds and a humble and welcoming vibe, this is the destination for you.
Also, in our view (and per our experience), the piazza - the hub of the hamlet, with all its colorful townhouses - is one of the most vibrant of the lake.
Stone stairs, an old romanesque bridge that divides the hamlet into two districts, period townhouses with brightly painted facades, the fast-flowing Telo stream, wrought-iron Juliet balconies with flowers throughout: Argegno has an undeniable romantic and timeless soul we are particularly fond of.
FACTS & FIGURES
Some interesting figures about Argegno:
210 meters on the sea level
4,28 kmq surface area
45 min drive from Lugano
15 min (20 km) from Como
60 min from Milano
60 km from Madesimo, the closest ski resort
75 km to Airport Bergamo Orio
35 km to Airport Lugano Agno
55 km to Airport Milan Malpensa
65 km to Airport Milan Linate
Adjacent villages: Brienno, Colonno, Dizzasco, Lezzeno, Nesso, Pigra, Schignano
HOW TO GET TO ARGEGNO
The best route to get to Argegno is to travel from one of Milan’s international airports to central Milan by shuttle. From there, take a train to Como San Giovanni station and from here, catch a ASF bus headed to Argegno. Check our post about all the public ways to wander around Lake Como!
Services depart Como Stazione Autolinee adjacent to Como Nord railway station every 30 minutes throughout the day and journey time is around 40 minutes.
Tickets can be purchased from the ticket office right before you travel.
Argegno has a clear roman origin. This is testified by a few discoveries of gravestones, the inscriptions of which refer to the consul Publio Cesio Archigene.
Argegno has always been a fortified centre; its strategic position played a fundamental role in the course of the war between the Rusca and the Vittani. In 1335 Argegno surrendered together with all the towns of Como to the Lordship of Milan, and became property of the Visconti family.
The romanesque bridge: a few steps ahead from Piazza Roma, don’t miss the magnificent bridge which connects the two parts of Argegno. The pointed arch testifies once again the Roman origin of the town’s suburb. The bridge runs over the mouth of Telo stream.
Argegno-Pigra cablecar: it covers a 648-meter difference in altitude in just 4 minutes, reaching the most beautiful terrace at the foot of the Alps. The two 12-people cabins alternate on steep 70 to 95% slopes, opening to incomparable views over the lake and the surrounding mountains. A return ticket costs € 3.90 and the journey takes just five minutes!
Church of S. Trinità. Built in the 20th century on the base of the original church from 1632 (whose only remain is a painting portraying Christ’s birth), the new church is quite impressing with its unique façade with several statues and the central rose window. Under the rose window, you can see a delightful mosaic depicting the four Evangelists, Sant’Abbondio (the patron saint of Como), and Sant’Anna (patron of Argegno).
Among the townhouses overlooking the river, there’s the ancient blacksmith's shop with the hammer of 1772 (now in disused).
On the external facade of the building that currently houses the local Library there’s a gorgeous fresco of Madonna with Bambino.
S. Sisinnio Church: interestingly, this church was the sea to the local committee of Valle Intelvi during 1848 insurrection movements. You can reach this church following the street that goes up to Valle Intelvi.
Tempio di Sant’Anna (18th cent.): you can see it on the road to Schignano (internationally known for its carnival). Internally there’s plenty of stuccos and frescoes dating back to its original construction.
Its name dates back to the Roman era and it was attributed to the town in honor of consul Publio Cesio Archigene. Other theses claim that the origin of the name is Celtic (ar-genous, literally “mouth of the river”, due to the fact that the village is born on the sediments of Telo stream).
There are only two bridges connecting the two sides of the town: one, the romanic, is still made of ancient stones with arches to sixth acute; the other one is more contemporary.
The deepest spot of Lake Como is in the waters of Argegno. Pietro Vassena is the engineer who, in 1948, made a memorable immersion here, on board the C3 submarine designed by himself. He touched the lake’s bottom (-410 m): he established the world record for depth.
Argegno is the first town of the farmed Val d’Intelvi, which is known for being the homeland of many artists over the years (e.g. Carloni from Scaria and Solari from Verna).
The old baroque parish church, which stood in the current Piazza Roma, possessed "frescoes of good brush" and a plaque behind the main altar, reminiscent of the subdeacon Giacomo del Duomo di Como (1317). It was demolished at the beginning of the century (1929) because the town needed a square and in its stead was built the current Church of the SS. Trinity.
Vicolo Mulini is definitely our favourite alley in Argegno: here, the "Roggia Molinara" was built around 1600. This canal was an ingenious system for canalizing the waters of the sheet to provide hydraulic energy to the 4 mills used for grinding wheat, corn and chestnuts from the forests of Val d’Intelvi. On the back of the then mill Toppi, now used as a bakery, you can see the date of 1605 engraved. Further on, at the corner with via Garibaldi, another mill, now used as a dwelling, shows off a vast entrance hall where the quadrupeds rested, waiting for the load. A little further on, the Spinelli mill offers evidence of an interesting architecture. The irrigation channel also supplied energy to a flourishing spinning mill and a tundish, now also transformed into a private house.
As a general tip to really breath the timeless vibe of Argegno, we suggest you to get lost in the narrow pebbled streets of the town center, all in the surrounding of Piazza Roma.
Head towards the orange building at the top of the square with ‘panificio’ (bakery) written on its awning and turn left. Then just keep walking to see what you can find.
If you walk up to the district of Castello, 5 minutes uphill from the piazza (take the steep back streets), you’ll enjoy a fabulous view on the maze of orange roof of the centre and on the lake. We promise that your efforts will be rewarded by the view!
As soon as you get to Argegno, you will notice how many restaurants and cafés populate such a small area.
Most of them are located on the lakefront, so they offer exceptional views during your dining experience. You can enjoy a variety of Italian dishes ranging from the local lake fish (such as perch or misultin, for the more curious tastes) to the traditional Italian pizza.
The most romantic dinner you can have in Argegno is, in our view, by Telo river, at La P’Osteria (Via Lungo Telo di Sinistra, 3. T.: +39 031 447 4072). The indoor rustic room is just lovely, with the stone vaulted ceiling. If you choose a table outside you can enjoy the peaceful scenery and the fresh breeze coming directly from the mountains of Val d’Intelvi.
If you’re craving pizza, try Hotel Argegno’s one: at Lakeside we have a kind of obsession for it (don’t miss the one with truffle oil, fresh mushrooms, and tomatoes with garlic: not properly a light dish, but just adorable!).
The best aperitivo in Argegno is at Caffè Colombo, right in the main piazza. You can taste local products, as well as a good selection of wines and craft beers. The staff is just lovely; also, they often organize theme nights with live music. The piazza wouldn’t be so vibrant without this club!
Another nice place not to missed is Bar Motta. The friendly young staff makes the difference; we particularly appreciate the selection of music (like italian singer-songwriters from the ‘70s) they put on! Try their sandwiches and focaccia: the portions are quite huge, perfect if you are very hungry after your stroll around the village!
For all ice-cream lovers, in the Piazza right next to our office you’ll find a paradise: Gelateria Zoe. There’s quite difficult to describe in few words how excellent this ice-cream is. Be prepared for a queue, as everyone gets crazy for this shop! Many of our clients said that Zoe’s rich, creamy and silky smooth gelato is the best they’ve ever had.
If you want to buy local products as souvenirs from your holiday, drop by Bistrò Argegno: they have a good selection of jams, pasta and sauces also from Valtellina area.
Don’t miss the fresh food market every Monday morning! It’s all around the main square. If you get to Argegno by car, make sure to come very early in the morning, to avoid issues in finding a parking.
Take your time to feel the magic peacefulness of Pigra (811 meters above sea level), especially at its Belvedere: this is actually the best place to enjoy the spectacular San Giovanni fireworks of Isola Comacina in June (https://my.tremezzina.co/en/events/festival-of-san- giovanni-2018/), because the island is right down the Belvedere.
If you move by car, Argegno is the best starting point to reach other places of interest like Monte Sighignola, at the Swiss-Italian border. You absolutely must enjoy the breathtaking view from the panoramic viewpoint called Balcone d’Italia (at 1.320 meters asl), that overlooks Lake Lugano.
SERVICES & AMENITIES
In Argegno you have pretty much everything you need:
Coffee bars, two mini markets, a couple of shops, restaurants, post office, bakery, Lido, pharmacy, newsstands, self-service laundry, bank, bus service, ferry service, ice-cream parlour, bike rentals, hotels, a lovely harbour.
Besides the Lido we have also a public beach: look for some stone steps leading from the walls of the stream opposite the marina and then walk along the shingle towards the mouth of the stream.
Like most of the towns and villages on the edge of Lake Como, Argegno is served by fairly regular ASF buses (you can buy tickets at Bar Motta) and passenger ferries (tickets can be purchased from ticket offices that can normally be found alongside the jetty).
Argegno feels authentically italian, and we like to call it “our little gem”: a tiny hamlet oozing a timeless allure that never stops surprising us.
With its wealth of high-end restaurants, cozy pubs, romantic corners, quiet alleys, and excellent bus and boats connections with the rest of the lake, Argegno must definitely be on your to-visit list.
Promise us you’ll drop by this unforgettable village!
Oh, and… if you irremediably fall in love with this location, have a look at the rich selection of properties we have for sale here!
Feeling inspired after reading this post? Contact us to get helpful information on how to enjoy Argegno at its best!