The Como Province is an extremely interesting and diverse part of Italy. Due to the terrain, your experience will be very different depending where you are. The Como Region sits at the southern foot of the Alps, has beautiful lakes, and is even near the Brianza Plains. Because the landscape is so diverse, so are the people, cuisines and great local knowledge. For example, the lake cuisine focuses heavily on fish, the traditional valley cuisine (located near the mountains) is based on polenta, and mostly meat dishes are found in the Brianza plains. This region is known for manufacturing, film, and, of course, its villas and gardens.
The Como Province was one of the first to accept and widely use industrial manufacturing. This province is well known for furniture, cabinetry, lace-making, and above all silk production. Silk manufacturing began in the 1400s after the introduction of mulberry tree cultivation (the only silk worm food source). The silk industry is still very much alive today, although most of the raw silk comes from China or Brazil, many experienced weavers, printing offices, and silk factories are located in Como.
As we have already discussed in previous articles, a number of famous commercials and films have been shot in the region. But, the Como region hasn’t just been famous since the creation of modern film. Going back to ancient roman times, Julius Caesar found the area so beautiful he decided to build the town Novum Comum in 59 B.C. At the height of Romanticism in the 1800’s, famous poets and writers like Lord Byron and Shelly went on the “Grand Tour” of Europe, on which Como was an important and beloved stop. Back to modern times, the most well known international films shot in the area are Ocean’s Twelve, Casino Royale, and Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. Here is a pdf outlining all famous films shot in the region, their storylines and filming locations if you would like to take a look!
Alessandro Volt, creator of the electric torch (predecessor of the modern day battery), is a Como native. His invention was of so much importance that the current day electricity measurement, the volt, was named after him. Obviously, the city is extremely proud of his accomplishments and has multiple building celebrating his life and works. For example, one can visit the Gattoni Tower, where he began his scientific training or the Voltiao Temple, a small museum that showcases his works and has a few original items belonging to him on display.
From the 16th to 19th century, Milanese nobles built summer residences on Lake Como, which we know today as the villas surrounding the lake. A great example is Villa Carlotta, built in the 1600s; it was eventually remodeled and gifted to a Dutch princess. Villa Carlotta’s garden is also one of the best in the area; it has a number of exotic plants, it even has over 150 variations of the azalea flower!
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