Lake Como, and the city that shares its name, lies to the north of Milan close to the road that leads to Switzerland and the Gotthard tunnel. Como grew during the 19th century with the development of the rail network that made international tourism possible, and it has flourished as a tourist destination and as a place to live for the extremely well-heeled ever since. This is the place where George Clooney rubs shoulders with Russian oligarchs. The climate is temperate all year round, the scenery is stunning, and the luxuries of Milan are in easy reach. Water sports of all varieties are here from water skiing to power boat racing.
However, one way to appreciate Como may not be immediately obvious. Opened in 1894, the Como to Brunate funicular railway takes you up nearly 500 metres at a gradient of 55% – which is an experience in itself – but once at the top the view over the city is magnificent. It is just amazing to look down on the seaplanes flying their guests along the length of the lake and there are plenty of walks to be enjoyed there as well.
It is said that on a clear day you can see Turin although I have never been able to put that to the test. But for the ultimate view take the shuttle or, if you are feeling fit, a steep two-kilometre hike to the lighthouse named after the pioneer scientist who researched electricity, Alessandro Volta. Volta was born and died in Como and it is he that we have to thank for the invention of the battery so, in a convoluted way, when you see a Tesla on the road think of Alessandro and Como.