Introduction to Como Audio Guide: From the Old Town to the Lakefront

Bask in lakeside piazzas and hear ancient tales of trade with an art historian
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Audio Guide Details
1 hour 15 minutes
Product Type
Audio Guide
Preview Introduction to Como Audio Guide: From the Old Town to the Lakefront
Start: Piazza Alessandro Volta
Via Olginati
Via Vitani
Photos & Highlights
Audio Guide Description
  • Take your time to savor the natural beauty and learn its history on your own schedule as as a local guides you through this important port city
  • Hit play together and stroll the city or wander solo, but always with an expert in your ear as your personal guide

Steeped in commercial significance and centuries-old history, Como has always been Italy's gateway to trade with Northern Europe, nestled at the southwestern tip of Lake Como. On this self-paced tour with art historian and Context Travel expert Laura Benitti, you'll find out how Como's strategic location made it into a pivotal commercial port, and see notable examples of atypical Italian architecture, with influences beyond these shores. Along the way, Laura will share fascinating tales of Como's illustrious past, from ancient Roman times to the modern era.
The walking tour begins at the Alessandro Volta Statue, a tribute to the inventor of the first electric battery. You’ll venture on to Como's Cathedral at Piazza del Duomo to gaze at its wonderful Swiss-sourced marble facade, a byproduct of the region’s historic trade links.  From there, you'll learn about Tommaso Rodari, hailed as the "Michelangelo of Lake Como" and his Renaissance masterpieces. Laura will let you in on the controversial history of Casa del Fascio, the Fascist Party's headquarters during Mussolini’s regime, and its pivotal role in World War II. From the Piazza Cavour, you'll wind around the picturesque lakefront, where you'll take in breathtaking views of the surrounding historic villas. Your tour comes to an end at the Lake Funicular Station (Funicolare Como Brunate) where you can continue on to the hilltop town of Brunate, take a boat trip, or simply indulge in Como's culinary delights. 

Along the way, you'll have a chance to:
  • Learn about Tommaso Rodari, a master of the Renaissance, who worked as a sculptor and architect in Como from 1484 to 1526
  • Trace Como's origins from its Celtic roots to its prominence as a Roman settlement in the 1st century
  • See the palace from 1215 where public councils met during the Middle Ages, at the Broletto
  • Learn about Como's silk industry, which dates back to the 1400s, and has evolved to supply fashion houses like Armani and Prada
  • Dive into Casa del Fascio's reconquest by the Partisans (Italians who resisted Fascism) towards the end of the Second World War  
  • Take in Porta Torre, a fortified tower from the 1100s, when Como's city walls were almost completely rebuilt after their destruction by the Milanese
  • Learn about Como's strategic lakeside position and how it was perfect for trade between the surrounding regions and the mountains of the Pre Alps
  • Visit Piazza San Fidele, traditionally called Grain Square, the site of Como's forum in ancient Roman times, and the most important market and commercial square in the city for centuries

This self-guided tour will help you to get a grasp of the city's fascinating history, with plenty of time to taste good food and stroll beside the lakefront with its magnificent panorama. Join Laura as you navigate through Como's historic squares, ancient streets, and iconic landmarks, guided by her expert insights.

Although this tour includes some cobblestone streets, it is wheelchair accessible and can be experienced by travelers of all capabilities. There is some construction near the very end of the tour so those with mobility issues may experience difficulty accessing the sidewalk while the curb is being built. However, there are less than 10 steps in total along the route, and it is possible to go around these areas. The total distance of the audio guide tour is 1.62 miles.
Meet Your Expert

Laura was born in Turin, where she studied history of art, but moved to Milan in 2002. Since her graduation, she has accumulated a long experience as an art consultant and registrar in a few museums in Turin, as well as an expertise as a local Milan guide. She speaks both English and French and she loves to meet people from all over the world, loving mostly exchanges about art, but also about traditions, day by day life, cuisine and local recipes. She loves to be both an experienced and friendly local ambassador of Milan and Como area for her travellers.

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(5.0) 1 Review

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Excellent experience, I uncovered so many unexpected surprises