What to see in Varenna

Varenna on Lake Como, is a small town (less than a thousand inhabitants) with a very rich, almost a thousand years old history, and with its own interesting landmarks.


You can get to Varenna within an hour by train from Milan.

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Photographer in Varenna

If you are thinking of a photo shoot in Varenna and Lake Como, the cost of the photographer’s services on Lake Como is usually from €300 (for a 2 hour shoot).

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Varenna’s landmarks

The major attraction of  Varenna is, so far, the castle of the XI century, Castello di Vezio (Castel Vezio). By now, only the watch tower and one of the walls have been preserved. You will feel a unique and very peaceful atmosphere here with just few tourists. The fantastic views of the lake and the hills will make you feel inner harmony and peace.

If you take a close look at these photos, you will see plaster cast ghosts, sitting all over the castle. And, by the way, they have been appearing due to the tourists, coming here. If you are ready to be a model for such a ghost, then you just need to let them cover you with the gauze, soaked in a special solution, and stay for a while in any posture. After a quarter of an hour, the gauze is removed and the sculpture is ready.

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There is a very well-kept park on the territory of the castle, and a small cafe and a souvenir shop at the entrance. And you can also climb to the top of the tower.

To get to the castle from the city, you just need to take the path that can be easily found from the direction signs. You need to go up the hill for 15 minutes; the slope is not big and quite comfortable for walking.

The castle is open to the public daily in summer (from April to October) and only on weekends in winter.

The entrance to the Castello di Vecio costs €4 euros for adults, €2 euros for children from 7-12 and is free for kids below 6.

The icon of the city they often call San Giorgio Church, the building with a majestic bell tower (Chiesa di San Giorgio) that can be seen even from the lake. The church is located on the main square of Varenna. It is few hundred years old, and it is a World Heritage UNESCO site. The building is an excellent example of the transition from the Romanesque to the Gothic style. The pride of the church is the amazing frescoes, real masterpieces.

Villa Monastero is another worth seeing place. The first construction here was a monastery built 800 years ago. It has been constantly reconstructed over the years until only one fresco remained from the original building. Now it is a tourist attraction open to the public.


The place has the Black and the Red halls and a grand staircase made of several types of marble. There is also an amazing garden with agaves, cypresses and rare pines. You can also admire wonderful bas-reliefs and statues while having a walk in the garden.

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Take a stroll along Varenna embankment full of flowers and fantastic hydrangea bushes of various shades. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops here as well.

The promenade leads to the ferry pier, from where you can go to Bellagio and Menaggio. My story about Bellagio is here, and Menaggio is described in this article.

A daily ferry ticket costs €15 and allows you to visit few towns from Lecco to Menaggio. And for €25, with an extended ticket, you will get by ferry to the southern part of the lake, to the city of Como.

As for the evenings, I recommend to enjoy fantastic sunsets in one of the cozy outdoor cafes of Varenna. Or take a bottle of wine and go to the pier to look at the sun setting behind the mountain tops. Out of all the cities on Lake Como, to my view, the most beautiful sunsets are in Varenna and Bellagio.

And, of course, if you are in Varenna, make sure you see the river Fiumelatte. It has an unusual, but beautiful color. Its name stands for "milkriver". Don't worry, it is not the dirt, it is just clay.


However, the river is remarkable not only due to this, but also because it is the shortest river in Italy - just 250 meters! And it flows through the city, in the quarter with the same name. In short, regardless its small size, Varenna is a surprisingly interesting place.

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