Como is flanked to the east and west by steep and thickly wooded hills (scarred in part by the spread of residential housing). Northeast along the waterfront from central Como, the Funicolare Como–Brunate takes just seven minutes to reach Brunate, a quiet residential village which seems to float above Lake Como – it sits at 720m above sea level.

The views are pretty but partial – this is not the place for a sweeping panorama unless you walk further into the hills. Brunate's baroque Chiesa di San Andrea, with its faded pink exterior and giant bell peeking out of the bell tower, is hard to miss. In San Maurizio, a steep 40-minute walk (the first stage of the Dorsale hike) from Brunate's funicular stop scales 143 steps to the top of the lighthouse, built in 1927 to mark the centenary of Alessandro Volta's death. The Como tourist office can provide a map with various suggested walks around Brunate.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Como attractions

1. Broletto

0.77 MILES

The polychromatic Broletto, or medieval town hall, sits right beside Como's towering duomo. Unusually, it butts right up against the cathedral and is very…

2. Duomo

0.77 MILES

Como’s awesome marble-clad cathedral is one of the most important buildings on the lake, incorporating a variety of styles – Romanesque, Renaissance and…

3. Basilica di San Fedele

0.83 MILES

Hemmed in by houses these days and enclosing one side of what was once a medieval grain market, this Lombard Romanesque basilica dates back to the 7th…

4. Porta Torre

0.97 MILES

The southern gate in Como's defensive walls, bordered by a 40m 12th-century tower.

5. Pinacoteca Civica

0.98 MILES

Despite its inadequate labelling, Como’s art gallery has a sizeable collection with some rich pickings. Most interesting are the frescoes and sculpture…

6. Tempio Voltiano

1.02 MILES

The photogenic lakeside Tempio Voltiano was built in 1927. This neoclassical temple is now a museum devoted to Como-born ­electric-­battery inventor…

7. Monumento ai Caduti

1.11 MILES

This monument to Italy's WWI war dead is a classic example of fascist-era architecture and dates to 1931.

8. Museo della Seta

1.11 MILES

Far from being a flashy collection of silk scarves, this highly educational study of Como’s long-standing textile industry explains the full silk-making…