Things to see in Varenna
Varenna is beautiful. Varenna enchants, fascinates and makes people fall in love. Varenna is romantic, colorful and picturesque. And it holds must-see attractions!
It has always been on the top list of Lake Como’s most visited towns and villages to see at least once in a lifetime.
And it has all the credentials to be there!
If you reach it by boat (keep in mind that the train also arrives in Varenna), already at a distance your eye will be caught by its colorful tangle of lakeside houses!
Once landed, my advice, as always, is to explore!
Follow the suggested routes, but also deviate from the “path” and poke around here and there among alleys, stairways and doorways, looking for corners that are less obvious, but make all the difference!
However, according to many, and also mine, there are at least 3 things to see in Varenna…I tell you about them below.
Things to see in Varenna
1# The romantic lakeside promenade
It is a must-see in Varenna, a thousand times photographed, beaten by thousands of tourists every year and almost a mandatory route to the village from the landing stage. I say almost because you can actually also get there by following the narrow streets behind the houses.
Anyway, don’t worry, it is impossible to miss the famous footbridge.
Well, what can I say, it is one of the most romantic walks on the lake: short but intense, it allows you to savor the view, the promontory of Bellagio and the valley of Menaggio, on the opposite shore.
You will reach the beating heart of the village intoxicated with beauty!
And there the pleasure continues: in very few other towns on the Lario it is possible to have the privilege of sitting at the tables of a bar at such a close distance from the water as in Varenna, a stone’s throw from the steps used to “pull boats ashore.”
During the warm season getting a front row seat here is a feat for few!
2# Villa Monastero
Villa Monastero is located just outside the village, a five-minute walk from the main square, St. George’s Square.
From the square, after visiting the two beautiful churches overlooking it, the Church of St. George and the Church of St. John, which are rich in frescoes, head to the right.
The villa is located a little further on.
The building has existed as far back as the 12th century and was originally a women’s monastery, transformed into a residence in the 1600s, by the Mornico family.
After several changes of ownership, in 1918 the mansion was confiscated by the Italian state as a war debt, the last owner being a German, and was later turned into a famous conference center. Despite this, walking through the park, its religious origins somehow still come through.
Certainly its lakefront gardens, almost two kilometers long, are worthwhile for their absolutely striking location. Beautiful is the citrus grove, beautiful are the walls of roses on the facade of the villa, and beautiful is the loggia.
3# Vezio castle
Amon the top things to see in Varenna there is also its castle! It is located on the cliff overlooking the village and can be reached either on foot (about 25 minutes) or by car.
As you can well imagine, the view from up there is fantastic. And that is a given.
What is not a given, however, is what awaits you inside its walls!
No less than a falconer with his raptors who, at the time of training, perform spectacular flights.
While in fact, the castle was originally part of the lake defense system, it now houses a care center specifically for these types of birds. Getting to know the buzzards Parsifal and Linda, the barn owl Wart, the hawk Tristan, and the eagle owl Arthur is a lot of fun!
But of course the castle also fascinates because of its history and all the events it evokes.
So even wandering around its ancient walls (or what remains of them), climbing its tower, strolling through its olive-rich gardens and peeking into its dungeons is a rich experience!
The lake is full of such military outposts, a testament to the ancient origins of its settlements, dating back to times when defending against attacks by enemy peoples was a top priority.
Varenna is all this and more. And it will certainly not disappoint.