Escape to Lake Como

Escape to Lake Como
Jessica Bonavia

Escape to Lake Como

Following on from AW18, where better to turn for our next season’s inspiration, other than where the modern man goes to escape Milan? Lake Como.

Since Roman times, the upper echelons of Italian society have escaped the heat and humidity of summer in the city for the fresh mountain air of the sun-dappled towns dotted along its shores. Synonymous with luxury and relaxation, and only an hour from Milan, Lago di Como is still very much the summer playground for the modern-day aristocracy of Hollywood; in fact, George Clooney famously has a holiday home here.

All the staples of Italian life, from the morning cappuccino or afternoon gelato, to the evening Aperitivo and late-night cocktail, have an added glamour when enjoyed against a backdrop of hazy mountains across misty water.

A typical day along Lake Como might begin with a morning coffee at a table on the pavement outside Cremaria Bolla. Since 1893 locals have gathered here because it is the perfect place to watch the town come to life. After that, you could take a stroll through the nearby arches of the Broletto – a medieval meeting place that brings you to the Duomo – a green-domed Gothic cathedral that houses tapestries and paintings by Renaissance artist Gaudenzio Ferrari.

Come evening, you can then follow in the footsteps of Orson Welles, Frank Sinatra and Clark Gable, with an Aperitivo at the famous Bar Terraza at Villa D’Este – home of the classic car competition Concorso d’Elganza. Alternatively, if you’re luckier still, you’ll wrangle an invitation to a party at a private villa. It is these villas, built originally as holiday homes for Cardinals and Dukes, that draw filmmakers and film stars to Lake Como.

Since 1400, when the Duke of Milan planted the first mulberry trees around the Lake, Como has been the centre of silk production in Europe. From Hermes to Armani (and Gagliardi), Como is still where the best brands in the world come to buy the finest silk in the world. Many of the silk-weaving businesses here remain in family ownership and, though their heritage and skills are artisanal, they satisfy the most cutting-edge fashion designers in the world and have kept their technology firmly up to date. The results are clear in the incredible fabrics they weave, and the beautiful designs they created – no doubt inspired by the sheer beauty of their home, Lake Como.