Varenna is a small fishing village and is located in the middle of Lake Como where it becomes majestic.
In the center the tip of Bellagio juts out, on the coast the villages of Cadenabbia, Menaggio crumble while to the north the large blue mirror seems to lick the stands gigantic of the Mesolcina chain. Known for the precious marble quarries, which for centuries have been an important economic resource for the inhabitants of the place, the village of Varenna is divided into a network of narrow streets that descend steeply towards Lake Como, where the houses are reflected in the water as in certain areas of Liguria. Of prehistoric origin (Gallo-Roman remains were found), Varenna conquered municipal liberties in the Middle Ages. During the ten-year war he opposed to Como and made league with the Comacina Island from which he welcomed the refugees after his destruction. Even then Varenna was famous for its black and white marbles.
The lakeside promenade is suggestive and romantic, baptized “love street”…
The lakeside promenade is suggestive and romantic, baptized “love street”, from which you can climb towards the center of the village with four churches facing it: the fourteenth-century church of San Giorgio, rich in late medieval works, the Oratory of Santa Maria delle Grazie and the Oratory of Santa Marta, both of the seventeenth century, the church of San Giovanni Battista, of Romanesque origin.
Not far from the church of San Giorgio, along IV Novembre Street we can see the entrance of the neoclassical Villa Isimbrandi or of the Cipressi now Hotel Villa Cipressi with garden and terraces connected by a staircase. A little further on, there is the entrance to Villa Monastero, a name that derives from the original destination of the building as a place of spiritual retreat for Cistercian nuns of Santa Maria Maddalena, among the distinguished sculptures is the clemency of Titus, the last unfinished work of GB Comolli (1830).
Also worth a visit is the ornithological museum which preserves a remarkable collection dedicated to the permanent and migratory avifauna of the Como area, with a scientific library of historical importance.
An interesting excursion is to the nearby hamlet of Fiumelatte, so named for the white foam of the seasonal stream that flows only in spring from a cave and that after a short path is thrown into the waters of Lake Como.
We recommend from Varenna, a trip to Esino Lario m. 913, called the pearl of the Grigne for its splendid position, from the road to Esino a short detour reaches the Castle of Vezio at m. 383, tower of a medieval castle, home of the Lombard queen Teodolinda.
Legend has it that Queen Teodolinda spent the last years of her life right here. The castle is open to the public for visits: from here you can admire a view of Lake Como that will leave you speechless, also watch falconry shows at different times of the day (weather permitting), spectacular flights of birds of prey guided by falconers dressed in vintage clothes. The castle houses a seat of a falconry with a center of care and training of birds of prey.
In the tower of the castle of Vezio, a permanent exhibition was also made of the various specimens of Lariosaurus found around Perledo and Lake Como.