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Homepage>Locations>Italy>Milan>Milan Travel Guide>Attractions within 1 hour’s drive

Attractions within 1 hour’s drive

If you hire a car in Milan, you can reach the following attractions within one hour.

Lake Como, Lombardy

Como is situated at the southern end of the western branch of the beautiful Lake Como. If you hire a car in Milan, you can reach Como in just under an hour. Once you’ve parked your hire car, you can stroll around the Piazza Cavour where you can indulge in a delicious meal or have a drink whilst enjoying a great view of the lake and mountains. The Piazza Cavour is also the location of Como Cathedral, or Duomo, which dates back to the 14th century and features a wonderful 18th century dome. The interior of the cathedral is opulent, and includes tapestries and other art works. Outside, on either side of the main door, you can see statues of Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger, who were both born in Como. Adjacent to the cathedral is the 13th century Broletto, the original town hall, which was used as a theatre during the 18th century.

As well as being the birthplace of Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger, Como was also the home town of the physicist Alessandro Volta, after whom the “volt” was named. You can see a statue of Volta in the town’s Piazza Voltaand you can visit the neo-classical Tempio Voltiano (Volta Temple) on the banks of Lake Como, which houses scientific instruments and documents relating to Volta’s life and work.

Opening hours: The Tempio Voltiano is open from 10am until 12pm and from 3pm until 6pm, Tuesday to Sunday, between April and October. From November until March, it’s open from 10am until 12pm and from 2pm until 4pm. It’s closed on Mondays. Large sections of Como’s old city walls still survive and these are punctuated by historic towers, the most impressive of which is the Porta Vittoria, the city’s old gateway.

Other historical buildings to see in Como include:

  • the Basilica di San Fedele – this 12th century basilica features a number of frescoes dating from the 13th and 14th century.
  • the Sant’Abbondio Basilica – this Romanesque building dates back to the eleventh century and has two bell towers. Inside there are some amazing frescoes to be seen.
  • the Basilica of San Corpoforo - another Romanesque church, which was constructed during the 11th century, although some parts of the building date back as far as the seventh century. This basilica was Como’s first cathedral.

    You can also use your Milan hire car to drive to the Castello Baradello (Baradello Castle), a Romanesque tower at the top of the Baradello hill, just to the south of the town. Park your hire car and walk the final stretch to the tower for some wonderful views of Como and the surrounding area.

    Como is also known as one of the world’s main centres of silk production, and you can learn more about the town’s silk-making history at the Museo Didattico Della Seta (The Didactic Silk Museum) on Via Castelnuovo 1. The museum includes a weaving room, dyeing room and printing room, and exhibits include handlooms, time clocks, tools, printing tables, blocks, dye vats and many other fascinating instruments and machines.

    Opening hours: The Silk Museum is open from 9am until 12pm and from 3pm until 6pm, Tuesday to Friday. It is closed at weekends and on Mondays. You can also take a boat trip on Lake Como, and there are many outdoor activity opportunities to try in the area, including water sports and hiking. You can also jump in your Milan hire car and explore other towns and villages in the Lake Como area, such as Brunate or Cernobbio.

    Directions: To get to Como from Milan by car, take the A8 partial toll road out of Milan. Follow the A8 for about 10km and take the exit for the A9/Como/Chiasso. Merge onto the E35 partial toll road and follow this for 22.8km. Take the Como Sud exit and follow the signs into the centre of Como.