Lake Como or as the Italians say Lario or Lago di Como
The mystical light, the Alps, the neoclassical architecture and quaint villages make Lake Como one my the most romantic wedding destinations in the world. When I photograph intimate weddings at Lake Como, I like to integrate the magnificent backdrops, the mountains, the cobblestoned passageways and the pastel colors of buildings. Since these are destination weddings, I think that the photographs should clearly show where we are. Imagine the two of you, captured against a spectacular lakeside sunset, walking through the historic lanes and terraced gardens of Bellagio’s 19th century Villa Melzi, or the picturesque village of Varenna where time stands still. Lake Como is shaped like the letter “Y” and these two towns, at the crux of the lakes two arms are surrounded by breathtaking vistas.
The lake has been home to aristocrats since Roman times. Its shores are dotted with imposing 18th and 19th-century villas, surrounded by vast parks, which have attracted celebrities such as George Clooney., Giorgio Armani and Richard Branson. Mulberry trees planted in the 14th century continue to produce some of the finest silks in the world. providing fabric to Hermès, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and other luxury brands.
Where to elope on Lake Como
A number of the great villas can be rented for a dream wedding location. I have photographed unforgettable elopements at:
- Villa Balbianello
- Villa Monastero
- Villa d’Este
- Villa Regina Teodolinda
…and there are so many more.
Ideal times for a Lake Como Elopement
In the spring, the shores of the lake are bathed in the pastel colors of new leaves and flowers. Clouds hover over the mountains, filtering the sunlight. There may still be snow on the mountains in the background.
In the fall, the leaves turn a rainbow of colors, the light is a gorgeous play of sun and shadow, and clouds come and go throughout the day adding texture to the photographs.
Summer is too hot and crowded. Winter is too cold and rainy unless you rent a villa and intend to stay indoors most of the time.
What to do in Lake Como
Unplug, relax, surrounded by beauty.
Take the ferry and tour the villages, stopping at all the main towns.
Eat! You’re in Italy and the local restaurants are superb. Lake Como is known for its risotto with the local fish, braised wild boar, and in the spring, strawberry gelato.
Visit the town of Como for its Gothic and Renaissance architecture, lakeside promenade, and shops. Be sure to bring home a silk scarf or necktie.
Take the train to Switzerland. The Bernina Express, known as the World’s Most Beautiful Rail Journey, has vintage coaches that take you on a two-and-a-half hour ride into the Alps, to Saint Moritz and Lugano. Alpine crossings, dramatic gorges, panoramic views.
How to get to Lake Como
You’ll fly to Milan, which has two airports. Try to avoid Malpensa, which is more than an hour from the city center and will cost you a €150 cab ride. Linate is smaller, less chaotic, and more accessible to the city. You can spend a day or two exploring Milan, see the Duomo, Leonardo’s Last Supper, browse the designer shops of Via Monteleone, and eat Risotto Milanese, or head to straight to the train station. Train service to Lake Como is phenomenal and it’s less than a half hour from the center of Milan. If you choose to rent a car instead, you can drive to Lake Como, many of the hotels offer parking and a car can be useful for exploring the area.