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The rich history of Lake Como is preserved in several museums which represent small treasures of art and culture, proof of the importance that our territory had throughout the centuries.
Some of these museums are of great importance, and they attract visitors from all over Italy and from abroad; they are dedicated either to the excellences of the area, or they focus on famous people who were born or lived on Lake Como.
Not to be forgotten, however, are the small museums that collect objects, relics and various proofs of the rural and farming life that once characterized the territory, in particular of those towns immersed in the valleys or in the Brianza area.

Here below a listing of the museums, villas and gardens that are open to the public with the opening times and admission fees.


Do not miss:

In Como:

  • Archaeological Museum P. Giovio & Historical Museum G.  Garibaldi. The Archaeological Museum displays  local excavations dating back from the Paleolithicto the Roman Era, along with a rich collection of tombstones. The 1800’s collections are very rich and worth a mention, most notably the Egyptian one. The Historical Museum is organised into two sections: Risorgimento & Contemporary History and Ethnography.
  • Silk Museum The Museum presents a true account of the history of Como’s famous silk industry. Through its display, it highlights the silk’s journey from silkworm breeding to the finished fabrics. The museum holds many interesting machinery and instruments. It also features a virtual catalogue containing files, collections and archive material to consult.
  • Volta Museum Neoclassical temple built in 1927 in honour of Alessandro Volta, the Como born physicist who invented the battery. The Museum houses a varied mix of items related to his life and a rich display of scientific instruments showing his researches and experiments in the field of Physics, among which the first voltaic pile. Special features: events and workshops for children.
  • Civic Art Museum The Civic Art Gallery displays works of local art from the 7th century until nowadays with important frescoes and sculptures from the Middle Ages and paintings from the Renaissance and the Lombardian Counter- Reformation period. The section dedicated to the local arts of the 20th century displays drawings by Antonio Sant’Elia, abstract canvases and sculptures by Manlio Rho, Mario Radice, Aldo Galli, Carla Badiali and works by Ico Parisi
  • Villa Olmo  Stately neoclassical building dating back to the end of 1700. It has an Italian garden at the front and an English park at the back with secular trees and woody plants. The city-owned villa is used as a venue for a wide range of events including conventions, concerts and art exhibitions. Visits are permitted to the ground floor, which is richly decorated with frescoes and stuccoes.
  • MuST Textile Studio Museum  - Antonio Ratti Foundation The Museum displays Antonio Ratti’s collections of ancient fabrics. There are more than 400,000 pieces. Special features: temporary exhibitions. To find out more about upcoming events and exhibitions, please visit www.fondazioneratti.org

In the Province of Como:

  • Villa Carlotta is one of the most famous villas on Lake Como, a unique place of rare beauty where the work of man and the work of nature live in perfect harmony. Commissioned by the Clerici family of wealthy Milanese merchants in the early 1700s, the mansion was composed of a sober but imposing building surrounded by a lavish Italian-style garden with statues, staircases and fountains. In the early 1800s the villa was handed over to Gian Battista Sommariva, a politician, entrepreneur and arts patron. Under his stewardship, the villa flourished and reached its maximum splendour.  Nowadays Villa Carlotta’s most famous feature is the colourful spring blossom of its 150-plus varieties of rhododendrons and azaleas. But its gardens are well worth visiting all year round for its camellia bushes, citrus galleries as well as trees, plants and herbs coming from all over the world.
  • Villa Balbianello The villa is set on the tip of the Lavedo Peninsula, a triangle-shaped woodland that stretches down to the lakeside, embracing a wide panorama. Its enviable location makes it one of the most scenic villas on Lake Como. From here and particularly from the much renowned Loggia, immortalized in so many films, one can enjoy breathtaking views. The Loggia and the villa were built by Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini in the late 1700s on the site of a small Franciscan monastery, of which little remains except for the church front flanked by two bell towers. The villa then passed through a succession of owners. In 1974 it was handed over to the Italian explorer Guido Monzino. Monzino filled the building with his own numerous art collections, his fine library of geographic and cartographic books and memorabilia from his expeditions. On his death in 1988, the villa was left to FAI, the Italian National Trust.
  • Villa Mylius Vigoni The house belonged to the German banker andmaecenas Heinrich Mylius, who collected here most of his famous 19th century art collections and made it into a house-museum. From the park, one can enjoy a wonderful view of mid Lake Como. The villa is nowadays managed by an Italian-German cultural centre.
  • End of the War II Museum Stage for memorable historical events occurred
    in the last months of WWII, Palazzo Manzi now houses the multimedia End of WWII. Museum: a virtual and interactive journey into the history of Resistance on Lake Como, the end of WWII in Italy and Mussolini’s last days.

other museums:



In Lecco


In the province of Lecco:

Province of Lecco - List of the interesting places to be visitedDownload PDF 489.57 KB
Province of Lecco - System of Museums Download PDF 321.22 KB
Province of Lecco - 6 Lario's stars brochureDownload PDF 2.34 MB