When you tire of exploring the many lakeside villages and hiking trails around Lake Como, make sure to walk around Bellagio and take in a few sights.
You can’t miss Basilica di San Giacomo, whose tower prominently pokes above the red rooftops. The basilica dominates Piazza San Giacomo in the upper part of town. Constructed in the early 12th century by master builders from nearby Como, it is an ideal example of Lombard-Romanesque style.
The church was built around the lower part of the tower, which had been part of Bellagio’s medieval defense system. The builders handily converted the old watchtower to the bell tower we see today.
On the other side of Piazza San Giacomo, one other 11th century tower remains from Bellagio’s medieval defense system.
Romanesque Chiesa San Giorgio dates back to the 12th century. Inside is a statue, Madonna della Cintura, which is carried in the harvest celebration procession each September. Also inside is an 11th century fresco.
The bell tower straddles the steps that were once the only access to the upper part of town.
Bellagio’s Town Hall proudly displays the coat of arms.
Hotel Grande Bretagne is an unfortunate, unmissable eyesore occupying a prominent spot on the shore. The 19th century structure operated as a luxury hotel, then a hotel and catering school before shutting down in the mid-20th century. In 2000, it was purchased by a consortium of Milanese investors. Locals tell me it might re-open as a hotel, but no one knows when.Tweet