Get to know Isola Comacina, the only island on Lake Como

by VillasBuy Team

There are many reasons why people from all over the world love Lake Como and visit the area over and over again or even choose to move there permanently. The quiet, slow lifestyle, the stunning sceneries and the precious borgos that almost caught mid-step between the lake and the mountains are only some of them.

Another one is how packed with breathtaking hidden corners the area is. One of the most peculiar characteristics of Lake Como, for example, is that it only has one island. Its name is Isola Comacina.

This tiny island, which is almost completely abandoned, is situated in the waters off Tremezzina and in the municipality of Ossuccio, just a few kilometers north of Argegno. It attracts a lot of interested tourists, especially between March and October. This means that if you’re planning to visit the Lake Como area in the following weeks, you could definitely take time to enjoy a few hours there.

The island overlooks Zoca de l’Oli, a bay that gets its name from the traditional local production of olives, favored by the region’s unusually mild climate.

What is the history of Isola Comacina?

Isola Comacina’s history is rather strange and undoubtedly very ancient, considering that the island was still a Roman fortress when the Lombards arrived from beyond the Alps in the sixth century. The island could hold out against the siege for a few months before finally surrendering. The majority of the regions surrounding Lake Como, including Milan, were at that point already under Lombard authority.

Isola Comacina sided with Milan during a ten-year battle with Como in 1118, which ultimately resulted in Milan’s victory. The coming of Frederick Barbarossa, the Holy Roman Emperor, in 1169 offered Como the chance to exact revenge on the neighboring rebel regions, and the island was destroyed. The few inhabitants who survived fled to save their lives.

After a long chain of events, the island was given back to the Italian government by the King of Belgium at the beginning of the 1900s. Eventually, it became the responsibility of Milan’s Brera Academy, which continues to own it to this day. Pietro Lingeri, a rationalist architect, constructed three homes in 1939 intending to establish an artist colony on the island – a vision that sadly never fully materialized.

In addition to the three artist homes and a well-known and now closed inn built in 1964, Isola Comacina currently houses the Church of San Giovanni and a variety of archaeological sites, particularly church ruins.

Can you visit Isola Comacina?

Yes, of course you can visit Isola Comacina, one of the most beloved destinations for tourists but also locals!

You can usually get to its shores by boat through a public service that is available pretty much anywhere on Lake Como.

This means that, if you’re planning to buy your holiday home in the area – or even move there permanently – you can experience the exquisite pleasure of having this tiny island to visit almost whenever you please. By immersing yourself in its miniature perfection, you can relax and disconnect from your daily stress in a place almost suspended in time.

Take a moment to explore our beautiful luxury villas for sale on Lake Como and imagine the quality of life you would experience in such peaceful, beautiful places.

What about nature? Isola Comacina has plenty to offer

Isola Comacina can be referred to as what, in ancient times, Romans called a “locus amaenus”: a pleasant place (almost an understatement!).

Although very small – it’s about 600 meters long and only 200 meters wide – and comprising a total area of just six hectares, the island is green and luscious, almost entirely covered by typically Mediterranean vegetation. Olive trees, lime trees, laurels, and more peculiar species such as hackberry, hop horbeam and mulberry dominate the scenery and delimit a specific lake area characterized by a mild and favorable climate (hence the local oil production).

This tiny strip of land is utterly scenic and, together with the several villages and towns sprawled along the coasts, creates a harmonious sight that is simply impossible to forget.

Visiting the island will give you a unique point of view of the many borgos facing Comacina, such as the Sacro Monte di Ossuccio, part of the UNESCO’s universal heritage. The panoramic views are remarkable and showcase a triumph of different vivid colors: the green, yellow and red of the vegetation, the blue of the water, the grey, white and brown nuances of the mountain peaks.

And of course, nearby, this already unforgettable landscape is further enriched by the sight of the “pearl of the lake”: Bellagio.

In short, discovering Villa Comacina will give you a unique perspective of the ancient history and culture of the Lake Como area, but also an extraordinary opportunity to fully appreciate the enchanted atmosphere of a place where nature and traditions merge. This is one of the details that make this corner of the world unique and irreplaceable.


Picture by Ivan Dragonero on Pixabay

Contact us

contact us

Enter your name and surname, then select how to contact us.

How can we help you?


Leave us your email, we will get back to you as soon as possible.


Leave us your number, we will call you back as soon as possible.