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Lake Como ~ Lago di Como

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Bellagio on Lake Como

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View of Varenna on Lake Como

Lago Como
Wikipedia: Lake Como

Lake Como (Lago di Como in Italian, also known as Lario) is a lake of glacial origin in Lombardy, Italy. It has an area of 146 km², making it the third largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. At 410 m deep it is one of the deepest lakes in Europe and the bottom of the lake is more than 200 m below sea-level.

Coordinates 46°00′N 9°17′E
Primary sources Adda River, Mera River
Primary outflows Adda River
Catchment area 4,508 km²
Basin countries Italy, Switzerland
Max-length 46 km
Max-width 4.5 km
Surface area 146 km²
Max-depth 410 m
Water volume 22.5 km³
Residence time (of lake water) 4.5 years
Surface elevation 199 m


The lake is shaped like an upside-down “Y” or like a back-to-front “λ”. The northern branch begins at the town of Colico, while the towns of Como and Lecco sit at the ends of the southwestern and southeastern branches respectively. The small towns of Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna are situated at the intersection of the three branches of the lake: a triangular boat service operates between them.

Lake Como is fed in large part by the Adda River, which enters the lake near Colico and flows out at Lecco. This geological conformation makes the southwestern branch a dead end, and so Como, unlike Lecco, is often flooded.

The mountainous pre-alpine territory between the two southern arms of the lake—between Como, Bellagio and Lecco—is known as the Larian Triangle, or Triangolo lariano. The source of the river Lambro is here. At the centre of the triangle, the town of Canzo is the seat of the Comunità montana del Triangolo Lariano, an association of the 31 municipalities which represent the 71,000 inhabitants of the area.


The lake's name in Latin is Lario, but this name is rarely used; it is usually called Lago di Como (literally "Lake of Como"). In guidebooks the lake may be variously described as "Lake Como", "Lake of Como", or "Como Lake."

While the town of Como is referred to as "Como", the lake itself is never referred to solely by this name. (This is not true of another lake in Italy, Lake Garda, where "Garda" may refer to either a town on its shores, or the lake).

Villa d’Este

The Villa d'Este, in Cernobbio, was built in 1568 by Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio, a native of the town. In 1816–17 the villa was home to Caroline of Brunswick, estranged wife of the Prince of Wales and shortly to become Queen Consort of King George IV of the United Kingdom. The landscaped gardens in the English style are a product of this period. Later in the century it was turned into a luxury hotel. Today the Villa d’Este is known for attracting such celebrity guests as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Paul McCartney, Sharon Stone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Yves St. Laurent, Alfred Hitchcock and Mikhail Gorbachev.