There is a number of tours and excursions from Lake Como. In some cases, you can make your own arrangements to get there. Others are probably best enjoyed as organised excursions. These can be booked a couple of days in advance, from tourist information offices or commercial travel agents.
Places of interest there include the magnificent cathedral (‘Duomo’), La Scala Opera House and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele ll shopping centre that connects them. It’s also home to the San Siro soccer stadium and the cultural attraction for which demand most exceeds supply – Leonardo’s painting of the Last Supper.
With an old town built around the Piazza Vechia, Bergamo is a rich cultural centre. It was Donizetti’s birthplace and consequently has a museum and theatre named after him. Naturally, the theatre hosts an annual opera season. There’s also an art gallery (the Accadamia Carrara) containing works by Botticelli, Bellini, Mantegna and Fra Angelico.
Not far from Bergamo is an unusual attraction, a model factory and community, in the tradition of nineteenth century industrial philanthropy. Its interest lies in both the bizarre architecture and the fact that although the factory is now closed, there is still a community living there, which provides guides for visitors. Because of the location it’s probably only suited as a day out to those with use of cars.
The excursion to St Moritz is an organised trip that begins with a coach journey from Menaggio through the northern end of the Lake (the Alto Lario). The tour then joins the Bernina Express, which carries passengers up into the Swiss mountains before transferring them back to the coach for the final leg of the journey into St Moritz. For the return journey passengers stay with the coach as it descends through a series of steep U bends.
Lugano is the closest of the excursion destinations. Similar in size to Como, it differs in the way that the lakeside promenade is backed by a modern shopping arcade rather than an old town. Remember to take your passport for this trip and the St Moritz excursion.