Lesser Known Locations of the Italian Lakes
By Joel Draba-Mann
6 November 2015
The lesser known facts and locations of the Italian Lake District and where else to go to escape the fast-growing crowds around the more famous lakes.Read more
Life moves at a gentler pace in Cadenabbia, a pretty village on the western shore of Lake Como in Lombardy, northern Italy. And since Cadenabbia enjoys some of the region's most inspiring and unforgettable scenery, it's perfectly natural to want to relax, breathe in the fresh lake air and be slowly mesmerised by the view.
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Cadenabbia's innate tranquillity and natural beauty has long made it a favoured resort for visitors and holiday makers, and particularly for those from northern Europe, but before the nineteenth century little existed on the site of the current village except for an inn called the Ca' dei Nauli (the 'Boatmen's House) from which the modern name reputedly derives. The inn, which originally catered for the tradesmen who delivered their wares by boat to Como's lakeside villages, eventually became a hotel for visitors for the area. Many early travellers were British and settled in Cadenabbia, forming a community and founding Italy's very first Anglican Church, consecrated in 1891.
For today's visitors the peaceful village of Cadenabbia is an excellent base from which to explore the highlights of Lake Como; the town of Como itself, for example, is a delightful fifteen-mile cruise away. But for those who appreciate the simple pleasures of unforgettable scenery, leisurely mountain hikes and messing about on - and in - the water, Cadenabbia offers much to enjoy.
Cadenabbia's compact size and delightful surroundings reward exploration on foot. The village's long lakeside promenade offers superb views across the water to the resort of Bellagio and its surrounding hills, whilst a longer but easy stroll from the shore climbs beyond the village to the pretty Church of St Martin where spectacular panoramic views are gained from the church's elevated plateau.
Close to Cadenabbia's ferry moorings, the original Anglican Church - the Church of the Ascension - is notable for its gilt decoration, its paintings and it's beautiful, flower-like stained-glass window. The church's magnificent organ has recently been restored and musical events are hosted regularly.
One of Cadenabbia's unmissable attractions is the Villa Carlotta Museum and Botanical Gardens. The seventeenth-century villa houses many masterpieces of Italian art whilst the colourful gardens, described as 'a place of heaven', feature plantings of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias as wells as exotic plants, bamboos, ferns and ancient cedar and sequoia trees.
Regular ferries from Cadenabbia's waterfront make visiting Lake Como's other towns and villages both easy and pleasurable. Bellagio, which directly faces Cadenabbia across the lake has been a popular holiday resort since Roman times and features many historic villas and public gardens, fine restaurants and independent shops.