This page has been created to replace a previous partner site, “discovermenaggio.com”. Previously very successful this site has now moved its content to discovercomo.com/menaggio.
Menaggio- The perfect location
Menaggio is about half way up the western side of Lake Como, an attractive and thriving town in the summer months and little more quiet in the winter! Accessible by car from Como at the south end of the lake, or Lugano in Switzerland, across the pass via Porlezza (340) above Menaggio but also by ferry from Bellagio and Varenna (where there is a train from Milan). The heart of the “old” town gathered around Piazza Garibaldi close to Menaggio’s harbour features mostly 19th century buildings in the Italian alpine style painted in muted tones.
The higher part of the town has a more medieval aspect featuring narrow alleys, steep stairs and stone buildings. The old and “new”, the shops, restaurants, cafes, public squares and alleyways, the tree shaded lakeshore promenades bordered by flowers, and the well-kept villas form a wonderful and serene place to holiday.
Menaggio, although peaceful and relaxing (sit in the square and watch the pace of life) there’s is still lots to do in and around Menaggio. You can enjoy walks through the town and its numerous gardens. Along the way you can take a look at some of Menaggio’s lovely little churches: San Stefano (17th century), San Giusto and San Carlo accompanied by a beautiful bell tower and the ruins of a medieval castle above the town is also worth a visit.
Water enthusiasts or families with children can head to The Lido, a modern building to plunge into the cool, fresh waters of Lake Como. Water skiers can rent a power boat and skis, with opportunities to rent sailing boats and skiffs.
Historically this area was originally settled during the Bronze Age by the Gauls, but subsequently conquered by the Romans who established a defensive fort and colony where Menaggio now sits. The town was linked to by a major Roman highway, the Via Regina, to other parts of the Empire over the Alps and the Southern territories.
Because of Menaggios’ strategic location on the Via Regina, during medieval times, Menaggio was surrounded by walls (remnants of which still exist),towers, castles and various other fortifications, which historians visit this region of Lake Como to explore.
Centuries later citizens of Menaggio were actively involved in a process (the Risorgimento) a process that in 1805 culminated in the annexation of the region of Lombardia by the Kingdom of Sardegna.
Menaggio remained an important strategic through WW1 and WW2, and one can still find modern day fortifications dating from both wars in the immediate vicinity. Mussolini, the Fascist dictator who allied Italy with Germany during World War 2 was eventually discredited. He attempted to escape into Switzerland, whose border is just 18 kilometers north of Menaggio, but was caught by partisans and executed.
By the end of the 19th century, Menaggio, like other of the principal towns on Lake Como, had become a well-known tourist retreat, attracting the very wealthy who built marvelous lakeside villas, many of which have now been converted to comfortable, sometimes grand, lakeside hotels.
Walks, Talks and Guides
Menaggio has numerous local guides who will take you out on the lake (the northern stretches of Lake Como are spectacular). The Menaggio-Cadenabbia Golf Club is about 5km from the town and quite a wonderful place to play a round. Its hard to believe that a Golf course of such excellence can be built in such a mountainous region. Visit the information centre on the square for lots of information on local walks.
As Menaggio is linked by ferry to all parts of the Lake and Varenna has a train service, cars are not necessary and the wonders of traveling by water transport can be thoroughly enjoyed.