“That branch of the Lake of Como, which turns toward the south between two unbroken chains of mountains, presenting to they a succession of bays and gulfs, formed by their jutting and retiring ridges, suddenly contracts itself between a headland to the right and an extended sloping bank on the left, and assumes the flow and appearance of a river”.
These are the immortal words, at the beginning of “The Betrothed”, with which Alessandro Manzoni describes the essential characteristics of Lake Como, making it so well known throughout the world. Around the Lake Como, or Lario, a varied and evocative landscape of uncontaminated nature and delightful, characteristic, villages unfold. Fortunately, the residents, aware of its significance as a tourist destination, appreciated that it was an area to preserve. Therefore, they have built new developments accordingly to maintain its splendour and without damaging the fantastic green scenery that characterises it. For this reason, Lake Como lends itself to be the ideal setting for a wedding party, especially if a romantic place with strong, pastoral, connotations is desired for the celebrations.
Palazzo Cernezzi, the seat of the Municipality, has always been party to the celebration of civil marriages in Como. The elegant and refined structure, built between the 16th and 17th centuries, on a pre-existing medieval nucleus with its name derived from that of a family who once owned it. In 1853, the building was bought by the Municipality to use as its municipal seat. Civil ceremonies are celebrated, free of charge, in the Sala Consiliare (Council Room, which the bride and groom can opt to decorate with flowers, at their expense), or in the Sala Ovale (Oval Room) or at the Tempietto di Villa Olmo (with a contribution of 500 euros).
Since 2014 the Sala Ovale has been available in January and February, while the Tempietto is available throughout the years, except for the few days from the 10th to 14th June. Also, given the significant increase in civil marriages recently recorded in the city of Como, the Municipality has, just this year, launched a tender from which three more prestigious locations will be chosen to host civil wedding ceremonies.
Already, getting married in an ancient and charming church is the dream of many, let alone if this enchanting place offers a spectacular view of the lake! Lake Como is full of little churches and chapels of great charm, which embrace many different eras, especially the Romanesque and the Gothic: let’s take a closer look at some of the most beautiful.
The Sacro Monte di Ossuccio located in the western part of Lake Como is a complex consisting of 15 chapels, dedicated to the Mysteries of the Rosary and was built in the period between 1635 and 1710. We can define everything as a mix of architectural and scenic beauty consisting of these chapels and the green surrounding them on a road of pebbles that runs alongside olive trees: a real paradise for the eyes and an unusual and privileged setting for a wedding.
Would you like an intimate ceremony where you can feel all of the affection and warmth of your family and friends?
The delightful Romanesque church of Sant’Alessandro might be the place for you. Located on a small hill, the top of which is arrived at by going up a stone stairway. Fortunately, over the centuries the exterior of the church has remained more or less the same as it was, retaining all of its charm and its value.
In Gravedona ed Uniti there is a sanctuary that owes its name to an event that happened many centuries ago, in the twelfth to be precise, when the building was constructed. Once the construction had been completed, a lime tree grew and climbed on the bell tower; hence the idea of dedicating it to Santa Maria del Tiglio. The view that you can enjoy, directly onto the lake, is breath-taking and the photographs cannot but help you to remember the occasion year after year!
If you would like to get married in the city, you can opt for the most significant sacred building in Como, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Located a stone’s throw from the central Piazza Cavour and the lake itself, it immediately strikes the visitor for its beautiful rose window and golden vaults. A setting of great prestige for a wedding that nobody could forget.
The Church of San Giorgio in Varenna is a unique jewel of the 14th century with mixed architectural features of the Romanesque and the Gothic eras. The facade, with three naves, is opened by a splayed round window; next to the portal is a large fresco depicting St. Christopher, patron saint of pilgrims. The interior is very particular where black, stone, circular, columns of local origin support a beautiful ceiling with cross vaults and ribs. Ancient frescoes cover the walls. There are many works of art of great value, including a triptych of San Giorgio over the high altar and wooden crucifix of the Lombardy school. The bell tower dates back to 1653.
The Church of S. Abbondio in Azzano (Como) was consecrated in 1724. Beautiful and caringly maintained, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the lake, which undoubtedly will not fail to immortalise your most beautiful photos.
In a typical alley of Lecco stands the Church of Santa Marta, considered one of the most beautiful in the city. You will especially like it for its simplicity, which immediately recalls intimate and warm atmospheres.
WEDDING VENUE (RECEPTION)
One of the reason why more and more couples decide to get married right on Lake Como is the possibility of organising the reception in a place that is not only aesthetically pleasing but possibly immersed in that lush and uncontaminated nature that makes this area one of the most sought-after of Lombardy and the whole of Italy. And in fact, there is no shortage of breath-taking locations: let’s look at some of them.
Villa d’Este, an aristocratic 16th century residence is today a magnificent 5-star resort with a privileged view of the lake. The hotel consists of 152 rooms furnished with taste and extreme refinement. An enchanting 10-hectare private park full of trees and flowers surrounds it.
Could you imagine a better scenario for your most beautiful day?
CastaDiva Resort & Spa, located in the municipality of Blevio, is a few kilometres from Como, on a bank of the lake, It is the only 5-star luxury property in the area and comprises seven villas with 73 suites and rooms and two private villas. Also: an exclusive spa, meeting room and restaurant with excellent Italian cuisine, and all within a park that is teeming with old trees: need we say anything else?
The Villa Carlotta, located inside a natural basin between Lake Como and the mountains, is a refined 17th century structure and home to works of art by the likes of by Canova and Hayez, and everything immersed in a botanical park full of plants and fountains. There are also three pools and a wide selection of menus. Difficult to find better.
The Villa Balbianello found in the commune of Lenno overlooks Lake Como and the Isola Comacina. It was built in 1787 on the side of a Franciscan monastery. This is a dream venue for your wedding day that will leave you breathless. There are two residential buildings, a church and a porch that overlooks a little dock. The main building has a rich collection of art and sculptures. Its unique location means that the only access to the villa is by foot along a kilometer-long footpath or by taxi boat from Lenno beach. It is also possible to arrange civil wedding ceremonies at the villa.
Overlooking the lake, the Grand Hotel Imperiale opens onto a lush garden. In Art Nouveau style, it offers the possibility of setting up the banquet in different parts of the structure and accommodating the newlyweds and any guests who would like to stay.
In Laglio, one of the most famous towns on Lake Como, is the Villa Regina Teodolinda. Its name comes from Queen Teodolinda who married twice on the shore that gives access to the villa. For the wedding banquet, you have at your disposal the magnificent interiors and the many green spaces that the structure has to offer, such as lawn garden.
Would you like to get married in one of the most prestigious hotels in the world?
In Bellagio, there is the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni whose name derives from the Milanese family who owned it. The rooms are sumptuous but also refined, in perfect nineteenth-century style, while the kitchen offers various types of menus and can count on the supervision of chef Ettore Bocchia. The landscape and the surrounding green scenery complete an ideal setting for a fairy-tale wedding.
The famous architect Pietro Lingeri designed the Villa Leoni which was built in the 1940’s on the shores of Lake Como. Inside, there is a beautiful hall that opens onto a park full of plants and flowers. A rich backdrop that will leave your guests speechless in amazement.
As for the photos we should first ask: is there a corner or a glimpse of this place that is not worthy of being captured and remembered?
Probably not: here one is surrounded by them and by so many other wonders that the desire to be photographed becomes unstoppable, let alone on the wedding day!
Our advice is to immortalise both the typical architectural structures of the place and the beautiful lake landscape, as both contribute to make Lake Como a unique pearl of our country. Every church, monument, path and view, as far as possible, should form part your wedding album.
Many VIP couples have also decided to get married on Lake Como.
Among the most famous we remember the singer John Legend and the model Chrissy Teigen, who at Villa Pizzo wanted to seal a love that had blossomed right here sometime before; Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, whose reception took place at Villa d’Este; British singer-songwriters Martine McCutcheon and Jack McManus, who married at Villa del Balbianello.
It is impossible not mention the much admired George Clooney when referring to Lake Como. The deep love that the Hollywood star has always cherished for the wonders of Como resulted in his buying an ancient and luxurious villa here where he spent his holidays.