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PSA: You Need to Go to Lake Como, Italy With a Group. Here's Why.

Since long before George Clooney first stepped foot in Lake Como, this region has been Northern Italy’s summer spot for the A-list crowd. Palatial villas and impressive gardens line the waterfront, while the streets are filled with designer shops and Michelin-starred restaurants. The latest hotel addition to the region, Il Sereno brings a fresh, modern aesthetic to the lake, and with it, perhaps a younger crowd. So, for young and old, families and friendcationers, and everyone in between, here’s a summer guide to what to do, where to eat and all the best hotels in Lake Como.

Reporter: Alyssa Brown | Location: Grand Hotel Tremezzo

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The hotels of Lake Como are famous around the world for their grandeur and luxury comforts. There are waterfront palaces surrounded by gardens that date back centuries as well as modern marvels of architecture. Here are a few of our favorite places to stay.
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Grand Hotel Tremezzolearn more

This Belle Epoque manor on the waterfront is one of the most famous five-star hotels in Lake Como. Grand Hotel Tremezzo offers comfy, luxe suites filled with antique furnishings, but it’s the gathering spaces that really feel spectacular. Wander the gardens and find your way to the beachfront, where you can spend your days lounging in the sunshine and sipping champagne.
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Il Sereno Hotel

Torno, Italy
The first hotel of its kind in the Lake Como region, Il Sereno brings a sleek, modern aesthetic to the lakefront. The 30-room boutique hotel features interiors by design maven Patricia Urquiola, a fabulous spa, a lakeside pool and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Read the full story here
Photo:theclm
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Villa d'Este

Cernobbio, Italy
Once a palace built for a 16th-century Cardinal, this villa is a modern-day luxury resort with the stunning stonework, plush furnishings and ten acres of private gardens in the Baroque and Renaissance styles. Villa d’Este is easily one of the most glamorous places to stay while summering in Lake Como. Read the full story here

Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como

Blevio, Italy
Spacious, modern suites fill the Mandarin Oriental on the lake’s edge in Blevio. This five-star resort offers luxury in the form of lake activities, a large spa and all-day fine dining.
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Albergo Terminus

Como, Italy
Set in central Como, Albergo Terminus is a four-star boutique hotel set in an Art Nouveau building built in the early 1900s. The suites here are pretty and posh, towing the line between old and new.
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Villa Pliniana

Torno, Italy
A collection of suites, apartments and small villas, Villa Pliniana is one of the most private, exclusive stays in Lake Como. There are ballrooms of extravagant proportion inside, while outside the gardens meander along the lakefront in all their colorful glory. Take a note from Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek’s playbook (er, list?), and you can take over the villa for a wedding at this stunner of a spot with its frescoed walls and ceilings, stone walkways and lakefront waterfall serving as backdrops.
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Whether you’re looking for the best gelato spot in Lake Como or scouring the fine dining restaurants for a Michelin-starred meal, we’ve got your dining needs covered. Anyone up for an eight-course tasting menu with wine pairings? Sign us up.
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Ristorante L'Escale Trattoria & Wine Barlearn more

Also part of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, L’Escale is a wine bar and trattoria on the waterfront with both indoor and outdoor seating. There are a solid 1,300 wines on the list here, so you’ll definitely want to spark up a conversation with the somm.
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La Fabbrica del Gelato

Lenno, Italy
This Lenno gelateria is a must-visit during a trip to Lake Como. Nutella, pear and cinnamon, custard, blackberry, and orange chocolate are just a few of the flavor highlights you might find on the menu. Not a fan of ice cream? Ask about the tiramisu!

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Berton al Lago

Torno, Italy
Set in Il Sereno, Berton al Lago is Michelin-starred chef Andrea Berton’s restaurant that garnered its own star within a year of opening. The restaurant sits on the water’s edge and offers a dining experience that’s Italian with a modern approach. Read the full story here

The Market Place

Como, Italy
A contemporary space in the heart of Como, The Market Place offers six- or eight-course degustation menus with optional wine pairings. This is a great spot to celebrate a special occasion like a wedding anniversary or big birthday.
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The Restaurant at Hotel Vapore

Torno, Italy
Set along the waterfront in Torno, it’s easy to take a beautiful wooden Riva boat to the restaurant at Hotel Vapore. Once you arrive, you can expect to dine on classic regional fare like risottos and handmade pastas.
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Mistral Restaurant

Bellagio, Italy
Set inside Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, Mistral Restaurant is another Michelin-starred waterfront dining spot. Open for lunch and dinner, Mistral is a traditional Italian restaurant with seasonal dishes and tasting menus from chef Ettore Bocchia.
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Fresco Cocktail Shop

Como, Italy
If you’re in the mood for an afternoon aperitivo or an after-dinner nightcap, make a stop over at Fresco Cocktail Shop. The drinks here are top notch and the scene makes it the kind of place you’ll want to stick around a while.
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Restaurant Silvio

Bellagio, Italy
If you want to learn about the traditional fare of the region and get an education on Lake Como’s fish in the process, Bella Gio Silvio is the place to go. This waterfront restaurant has been run by the same family for five generations, and continues to share its passion for the local community with its diners.
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Cremeria Bolla 1893

Como, Italy
A local staple, Cremeria Bolla has been serving the community since 1893. Head here when you’re craving something sweet, whether gelato or a beautifully crafted pastry.
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A day well spent in Lake Como might include a wander through the cobblestone streets, marvelling at the beautiful gardens and taking a Riva boat ride to the Borromean Islands. There’s plenty to do in this gorgeous region, from touring old villas to perusing street art.
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T Beach at Grand Hotel Tremezzolearn more

If you’re looking for a fabulous place to relax in the sunshine by a floating pool on the lake, Grand Hotel Tremezzo’s T Beach may just be your best bet. The glamorous lakefront beach is dotted with sun loungers, an open-air barbecue and a fancy champagne bar.
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Villa del Balbianello

Lenno, Italy
The stately villas of Lake Como are some of Italy’s most famous structures, but most are privately owned and impossible to access. Set in Lenno, Villa del Balbianello is one that’s open to the public for tours of the gardens and 25-room estate. Here, you can not only get a glimpse into the lives of Lake Como’s elite, but you can also host a wedding in the gardens.
Photo:Jean Christophe Benoist
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Villa Carlotta

Tremezzina, Italy
A mixed-use museum and botanical garden, Villa Carlotta is a great place to go if you want to learn about this beautiful region’s history. The museum offers plenty of activities, events and exhibitions throughout the year, making it a must-add to any Lake Como agenda.
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Villa Monastero

Varenna, Italy
This 14-room house on the lake is kept in all its glamorous glory, furnished with the collections of its past owners. Villa Monastero is a house museum surrounded by botanical gardens filled with rare and wild species. Hot tip: Check out the hours before you head over, as the schedule varies throughout the year.
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Boat Tours

Lake Como, Italy
The best way to spot the palaces, gardens and villas of Lake Como is from the water. Plenty of local companies offer lake tours in private charters and motorboats, with guides catering your ride to suit your agenda. Check out Riva boat charters if you want to speed around in one of those iconic wooden speedboats like you’d see in a James Bond movie.
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I Giardini di Villa Melzi

Bellagio, Italy
Set in Bellagio, the villa of Francesco Melzi d’Eril, Duke of Lodi, dates back to the early 1800s. The villa is surrounded by parks, giant hedges of rhododendrons, towering trees and beautiful botanical gardens that are open to the public. There’s also an old greenhouse on the grounds that’s used as a museum of memorabilia.
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Bellagio

Bellagio, Italy
The town of Bellagio is probably the most famous of the region, home to Villa Melzi and plenty of luxury hotels. Take a stroll through the flower-lined streets and you’re likely to find a few boutique shops, designer stores and spot some beautiful gardens.
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Isola Bella

Lago Maggiore, Italy
Considered by many to be the most beautiful of the Borromean Islands in Lago Maggiore, Isola Bella is home to a Baroque palace that extends across the island. The garden island is open to the public and displays the Borromeo family’s private art collection as well as some of the most extensive gardens in the area.
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Deodato Arte Gallery

Como, Italy
Deodato Arte is a brand, founded in 2010 by Deodato Salafia, specializing in Modern and Contemporary Art, with a focus on the Pop and Street Art movements. Be sure to check out a part of the collection by Mr. Save The Wall, a local street artist who makes public art and private, commenting on political and social issues.
Photo:Via Wikipedia
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Duomo di Como

Como, Italy
Como’s famous cathedral was constructed over the course of nearly four hundred years, from 1396 to 1770. Today, it’s a stunning place to visit and marvel not only at the varied architecture, but also to see the tapestries, frescoes and sculptures.

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