Lake Como offers absolutely evocative and unforgettable views, it is no coincidence that it is famous all over the world. The boat ride on the lake is definitely a must-try experience but there is another original way to appreciate all its beauty: admire it from the top!
Brunate is one of the most beautiful panoramic balconies of Como Lake known as the Balcony on the Alps because from here you can admire the entire western Alps.
Supposedly founded in Celtic and Etruscan times, Brunate is rich in places and structures that recall both ancient and modern, from the characteristic medieval streets to the multitude of villas in Liberty style. The latter testify that the village in the past was a popular holiday destination. Many properties were built by the Milanese nobility.
Brunate is also a great starting point for nature walks, its landscape is covered by forests mostly by maple, ash, pine, birch, locust, oak, chestnut and beech trees.
Located just an hour from Milan by car, it can be easily accessible from the Como city center through the historic funicular in Piazza de Gasperi. The line Como-Brunate is 1,084 metres long, of which the lower 130 metres are in tunnel. In just 7 minutes it will take you to the quiet village of Brunate located about 800 meters above sea level.
The closest viewpoint to the funicular is Via Pirotta, but if you want to admire the entire surrounding area, you have to reach the viewpoint of Via Pissarottino, located about 12 minutes walk from the funicular, or the farthest Voltiano Lighthouse.
Brunate develops as a village, with staircases and several courtyards including the Corte di Castello and Corte degli Ebrei. Leaving the historic center you can admire elegant villas in eclectic and Art Nouveau style, including Villa Calderini and Villa Pirotta, called La Piccola Versailles (the small Versailles).
The Campari Fountain
In via Roma, near the funicular, there is one of the twelve fountains commissioned in the thirties by the Italian company Campari (a famous liquors maker) and built by the sculptor Giuseppe Gronchi.
The Fontana Campari is in marble and concrete, it combines the classic style with the art déco. The intent was to create an advertising poster with depth, like a 3D poster of our days. Just two other fountains of the same advertising campaign remain today: one in the hamlet of Le Piastre in Pistoia and the other in Chiusi della Verna in the province of Arezzo.
The Church of Sant’Andrea Apostolo
The parish church of Brunate is dedicated to the patron Saint Andrew the Apostle and dates back to the fourteenth century. Inside it houses the frescoes by Recchi, made at the end of the seventeenth century, and the altar dedicated to Blessed Maddalena Albrici. Inside the church there is an 1827 pipe organ, built by the famous Fratelli Prestinari in Magenta.
The Voltiano Lighthouse
Following the signs, after a 20-minute walk, we reach the privileged viewpoint located on Monte Tre Croci, the Voltiano Lighthouse.
Built in 1927 to mark the centenary of Alessandro Volta‘s death and designed by the engineer Gabriele Giussani, it has an octagonal tower 29 meters high, containing a spiral staircase of 143 steps. You must surely climb to the top because at the end a reward awaits you.
From the top of Faro Voltiano you can recognize the villages of Como, Cernobbio, Chiasso and see the snowy peak of massive Monte Rosa.
At night the lighthouse lights up with green, white and red colours, symbolizing the Italian flag.
Have a good trip 😉