Lombardia - Places to visit - Como
Situated 201 m above sea level on the south-western tip of the Lake of the same name, Como is 5 km from the Ponte Chiasso border between Italy and Switzerland.
It was probably a Gaul settlement, becoming a Roman colony (1st century BC.) with the name of Novum Comum: its present urban structure still follows the outline of the ancient castrum.
After the Barbarian invasions it became a free municipality, often at war with, and destroyed by, Milan in 1127. It then shared the vicissitudes of the Lombard capital, that is, the Signorie, Spanish and Austrian rule, the Cisalpine Republic and the unification of Italy.
Important Monuments: Duomo (14th-17th century) with Gothic-Renaissance faade; Basilica of San Fedele (12th century); the churches of Sant'Abbondio (11th century) and Sant'Agostino (14th century); the Broletto (13th century)-Romanesque-Gothic; Villa Olmo (Neoclassical); remains of the Roman walls and Porta Praetoria.
Favoured by its position on important lines of communication, Como was already renowned in the 16th century for the spinning and weaving of silk and wool.
These two activities still play a prime role in its economy, making it one of the leading producers world-wine. Other industries present are engineering and printing. Many banks and finance companies, together with shipping and transportation make for an important services sector. There is also considerable tourism.
Events: Autunno Musicale (musical autumn), winter opera season.
Famous People: Alessandro Volta (scientist, 1745-1827), Pliny the Elder (Latin scholar, 23-79 AD.), Pliny the Younger (Latin writer, 61-112 AD.), Paolo Giovio (historian, 1483-1552).
Cultural Institutions: Archeological museum, Societ Archeologica Comense (archeological society), Fondazione Somaini (foundation), Tempio Voltiano (museum of the life and works of Alessandro Volta), Museo Storico G. Garibaldi (historical museum), silk museum (at Garlate).
In the Province: Cant (furniture industry), Lecco (industrial town, archeological museum, Villa Manzone), Cernobbio, Bellagio, Tremezzo (Museo di Villa Carlotta-museum), Campione d'Italia (casino), Barzio (winter sports), Erba (archeological museum).