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Comune in Lombardy, Italy

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Como
Còmm (Lombard)
Città di Como
View of Como from Baradello Castle

View of Como from Baradello Castle
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Flag of Como

Coat of arms of Como

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Location of Como
Map
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Como is located in Italy

Como
Como
Location of Como in Lombardy

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Como is located in Lombardy

Como
Como
Como (Lombardy)

Show map of Lombardy

Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct,.mw-parser-output .geo-inline-hidden{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}45°49′0″N 9°5′0″E / 45.81667°N 9.08333°E / 45.81667; 9.08333
Country Italy
Region Lombardy
Province Como (CO)
Roman foundation 196 BC
Frazioni Albate, Borghi, Breccia, Camerlata, Camnago Volta, Civiglio, Garzola, Lora, Monte Olimpino, Muggiò, Ponte Chiasso, Prestino, Rebbio, Sagnino, Tavernola
Government

 • Mayor Alessandro Rapinese (since 27 June 2022) (Ind.)
Area

 • Total 37.14 km2 (14.34 sq mi)
Elevation

201 m (659 ft)
Population

 (31 October 2022)[2]
 • Total 84,250
 • Density 2,300/km2 (5,900/sq mi)
Demonym Comaschi
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
22100
Dialing code 031
Patron saint Saint Abbondio
Saint day 31 August
Website Official website
Como and its lake.
Life Electric, by Daniel Libeskind, to celebrate scientist Alessandro Volta (2015)

Como (.mw-parser-output .IPA-label-small{font-size:85%}.mw-parser-output .references .IPA-label-small,.mw-parser-output .infobox .IPA-label-small,.mw-parser-output .navbox .IPA-label-small{font-size:100%}Italian pronunciation: [ˈkɔːmo] ,[3][4] locally [ˈkoːmo] ;[3] Comasco: Còmm [ˈkɔm],[5] Cómm [ˈkom] or Cùmm [ˈkum];[6]) is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy. It is the administrative capital of the Province of Como.

Its proximity to Lake Como and to the Alps has made Como a tourist destination, and the city contains numerous works of art, churches, gardens, museums, theatres, parks, and palaces: the Duomo, seat of the Diocese of Como; the Basilica of Sant’Abbondio; the Villa Olmo; the public gardens with the Tempio Voltiano; the Teatro Sociale; the Broletto or the city’s medieval town hall; and the 20th-century Casa del Fascio.[7]

Como was the birthplace of many historical figures, including the poet Caecilius mentioned by Catullus in the first century BCE,[8][9] writers Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger, Pope Innocent XI, scientist Alessandro Volta,[10] and Cosima Liszt, second wife of Richard Wagner and long-term director of the Bayreuth Festival, and Antonio Sant’Elia (1888–1916), a futurist architect and a pioneer of the modern movement.

History[edit]

City and Lake Como, painted by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, 1834

Ancient History[edit]

The hills surrounding the current location of Como were inhabited, since at least the Iron Age, by a Celtic tribe known as the Orobii, who also, according to Pliny the Elder and modern scholars, had relations with the Ancient Ligurians,[11][12] a people very similar to the Celts. Remains of settlements are still present on the wood-covered hills to the southwest of town, around the area of the modern town’s district of Rebbio. In the areas of the districts of Breccia, Prestino and the neighbouring towns of San Fermo della Battaglia and Cavallasca there were also settlements of the Golasecca Culture,[13] built in the Iron Age.
Later, a second Celtic migration brought the Gaulish peoples in the area of Como, especially the tribe of the Insubres.[14]

Around the first century BC, the territory became subject to the Romans. The town centre was situated on the nearby hills, but it was then moved to its current location by order of Julius Caesar, who had the swamp near the southern tip of the lake drained and laid the plan of the walled city in the typical Roman grid of perpendicular streets. The newly founded town was named Novum Comum and had the status of municipium. In September 2018, Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli announced the discovery of several hundred gold coins in the basement of the former Cressoni Theater (Teatro Cressoni) in a two-handled soapstone amphora, coins struck by emperors Honorius, Valentinian III, Leo I the Thracian, Antonio and Libius Severus dating to 474 AD.[15]

Early Middle Ages[edit]

After the so-called “fall of the Western Roman Empire“, the history of Como followed the one of the rest of Lombardy, being occupied by the Goths, the Byzantines and later the Langobards.
The latter was a very important people in the region. The Langobards (or Lombards) were a Germanic people originated in Scandinavia. They arrived in the Po Valley in 568, led by king Alboin.
Lombards gave birth to the Lombard Kingdom that at the beginning was only made of modern-day Northern Italy, but later exapanded its borders in Tuscany, Umbria and portions of Southern Italy.
Under the Lombard rule, Como continued to grow, especially thanks to the reconstruction of Queen Theudelind’s road that connected Germany and the Italian Peninsula, giving to the town an easy and strategic access to commerce.[16]
In 774, the town surrendered to invading Franks led by Charlemagne and became a centre of commercial exchange.[17]

Communal Era[edit]

The Commune of Como probably saw its origins in the 11th century as an “association of prestigious families on a treaty basis”, by virtue of an oath of adhesion to the commune, renewed periodically in front of the municipal authorities until the 1200s, and, subsequently, in the presence of the mayor. Despite the resistance of parts of the feudal nobility of the diocese, this pact quickly extended to the entire free male population of the town. This was done also with the aim of strengthening the political independence of Como and the diocese, especially from the neighbouring Milan, and the sovereignty of the bishop of Como. The bishop quickly became the de facto “head of the state“, while an assembly of citizens was organised in the “Broletto” (Town hall), called “Brolo”. This assembly consisted of representatives of the local nobility called consuls and, later, also representatives of the guilds. The Commune had a set of laws and conventions, which were used to regulate urban activities, commerce, agriculture, fishing, hunting, law enforcement and taxation.
[18] The first explicit written mention of the Commune of Como comes from a document that dates back to the year 1109.
The deliberative assembly of the commune, in its first manifestations, was probably the plenary assembly. Since the first years of the 12th century, the role of the assembly was taken over by the council (or “Credenza”), known after 1213 as “General council” or “Bell council”. Starting from the second half of the 13th century, this assembly was divided into a large and a small council.
From the year 1109 the communal organization saw the addition of an executive body too, called “collegial magistracy of the consuls”, which, for organizational reasons, before 1172 was split into two institutions: the consuls of justice and the consuls of the municipality. The latter, in the early 13th century, were replaced by the podestà, with broader special powers in criminal matters.[19]
The territory of the Commune wasn’t just limited to the town of Como itself, but it held administrative powers over the territories of the entire diocese. These lands included most of the current day Province of Como, modern day Canton of Ticino, Valtellina, Valchiavenna and Colico.
Thanks to its strategic position on Lake Como and the important Road of Queen Theudelind, which linked the Italian Peninsula with Germany: the heart of the Holy Roman Empire, Como quickly became a rich and strong town.
Following this period of growth, Como and Milan quickly became rivals as the Commune of Milan had a great population growth, but it had few strategical communication routes. In this period Milan planned to conquer neighbouring territories in order to have access to their strategical geographical positions.
The first frictions between Como and Milan started over the County of Seprio, because both of the two communes wanted to control such territories. In the meanwhile, Milan started to act aggressively against other Lombard towns and a war broke out when some soldiers coming from Lodi, Pavia and Cremona attacked the town of Tortona (allied to Milan): the war of Lodi, in which Milan, helped by Crema and Tortona went to war against the communes of Lodi, Pavia and Cremona. The result was an important Milanese victory that crowned Milan as the main power in Lombardy.
This meant that the only remaining rival of Milan was the Commune of Como. These tensions led to an interesting episode when the Emperor Henry IV nomited Landolfo da Carcano, who sympathised for Milan, as the bishop of Como. This led to a strong reaction from the people of Como, who elected Guido Grimoldi as their bishop and exiled Landolfo.
Landolfo, though, kept interfering in the affairs of Como and the town’s response was the siege of its castle led by the consul Adamo del Pero. Landolfo was captured and imprisoned. This action sparked a crisis between Como and Milan, because Landolfo’s castle was defended by Milanese soldiers.
This resulted in the beginning of the Decennial War between Como and Milan in 1118. The war is very well documented thanks to an anymous poet who recorded the events in a poem called “Liber Cumanus, sive de bello Mediolanensium adversus Comenses”.
At the beginning, thanks to smart tactics, it seemed that Como was prevailing in the conflict, but after the death of Guido Grimoldi, the tide changed and Como lost the war in 1127. Milanese soldiers destroyed every building in Como, only sparing the churches.
After the war, the Commune was forced to be a tributary of Milan,[20] but this changed when Frederick Barbarossa came to power and restored Como’s freedom from the Milanese Commune.
The Comaschi were, then, able to avenge their defeat when Milan was destroyed in 1162. Frederick promoted the construction of several defensive towers and small castles around the town’s limits, of which only one, the Baradello, remains. He also helped the town to rebuild its defensive walls. The majority of this town’s defenses still survives to this day.
When the Guelph Communes joined their forces in order to organise the Lombard League to fight against the Holy Roman emperor, Como maintained its Ghibelline alignment.
Frederick I Barbarossa made the recognition of the Commune of Como official with an imperial diploma of 1175 (Concession of Frederick I 1175), with which the empeor allowed the town to be able to elect the mayors of the county, as a reward for the defection of Como from the Lombard League and in consideration of the common anti-Milan policy. With the subsequent agreements of 1191 and 1216, the emperors Henry VI and Frederick II extended to Como others concessions made in the Peace of Constance to the cities participating in the League.
In 1281 Como adopted its first written legislative code, consisting of the “Statuta Consulum Iustitie et Negotiatorum”, which was followed by a second one in 1296.[21]

The rise of Rusca/Rusconi family to power[edit]

Coat of Arms of Rusca/Rusconi family.

Already in the second half of the 12th century, the family of Rusca (also known as Rusconi) started to gain relevance in the town of Como. Rusca were a noble family originated in Como in the 10th century. They were the leaders of the Ghibelline faction of the town and their greater rivals were the members of the Vitani family.
In 1182, Giovanni Rusca became a consul of the commune and was later even nominated as podestà of Milan in 1199, thanks to his abilities during a peace treaty with the rival city. between 1194 and 1198 he was joined by two other relatives: Adamo and Loterio, who also became consuls of Como.
They quickly became the most influential family in the territory of Como, so much so that in the following years different members of this family tried to establish a lordship over the town, with different degrees of success.[22]
Loterio Rusca was the first to try to accomplish such goal. He was acclaimed as “Lord of the People” in 1276 and, with the trust of the Comaschi, he began his rise to power, but was met with resistance by the bishop of Como: Giovanni degli Avvocati , who was consequently exiled. Giovanni was hosted by the Visconti of Milan and gave Ottone Visconti an excuse to start a new war against Como, but unexpectedly Loterio was able to prevail and signed a favourable peace treaty with Milan in the town of Lomazzo. Milan had to recognise Loterio as the ruler of their rival town and they had to give back to Como the town of Bellinzona.[22]
Thanks to this important success, the family was able to ensure the following titles: Lords of Como, Bellinzona, Chiavenna and Valtellina; Counts of Locarno, Lugano and Luino.
Following the death of Loterio, the next notable member of the family was Franchino I Rusca, who established a personal lordship over Como and its territories and became an imperial vicar.
In 1335 a new war between Como and Milan broke out due to the expiration of conditions established in Lomazzo. This time, thanks to the leadership of Azzone Visconti, Milan won the war and Como was annexed to the Duchy of Milan.
The people of Como wanted to regain their administrative freedom and an occasion came when, in 1402, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan, died. In such occasion, Franchino II Rusca led a rebellion against the Milanese that ended in 1412, when his son, Loterio IV Rusca, gained the title of Lord of Como and was able to drive away the Milanese occupiers. This event, though, did not ended the political unrest in the town and a period of conflicts and massacres followed until Como found itself under Filippo Maria Visconti and so became part of the Duchy of Milan once more in 1416.
But once again, at the death of the Duke, Como reclaimed its independence and in 1447 the “Republic of Saint Abundius” was founded.[22][23]
In January 1449 Francesco Sforza, who claimed the title of Duke of Milan (even if the city was under the control of the Ambrosian Republic), sent Giuseppe Ventimiglia to attack Como but was repelled by the citizens led by Giovanni della Noce and he was forced to retreat in the small town of Cantù, in Brianza. Monzone helped the Rusca against the Vitani, who were Guelphs and allied with the Milanese, and they were ultimately defeated by Ghibelline forces. In April of the same year, Ventimiglia attacked Como again, while in January 1450 he unsuccessfully attacked the Ambrosian garrisons who from Monza were supposed to reunite with the Venetians of Colleoni crammed into the town of Como, with the intent to stem the siege of Milan laid by the Sforza and to provide military aid and food to the city. These events are known as the Battles of Cantù and Asso. In March 1450, following the fall of the Ambrosian Republic due to exhaustion and lack of resources, Como was defeated too and was definitively submitted to the reconstituted Duchy of Milan and so to Francesco Sforza, who in 1458 profoundly reformed the Statutes of Como.[22]

Modern Era[edit]

Subsequently, the history of Como followed that of the Duchy of Milan, through the French invasion and the Spanish domination, until 1714, when the territory was taken by the Austrians. Napoleon descended into Lombardy in 1796 and ruled it until 1815, when the Austrian rule was resumed after the Congress of Vienna. By 1848, the population had reached 16,000.[24] In 1859, with the arrival of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the town became part of the newly formed Kingdom of Italy under the House of Savoy.

20th century[edit]

At the end of World War II, after passing through Como on his escape towards Switzerland, Benito Mussolini was taken prisoner and then shot by partisans in Giulino di Mezzegra, a small town on the north shores of Lake Como.

21st century[edit]

In 2010, a motion by members of the nationalist Swiss People’s Party was submitted to the Swiss parliament requesting the admission of adjacent territories to the Swiss Confederation; Como (and its province) is one of these.[25][26][27]

The Rockefeller fountain that today stands in the Bronx Zoo in New York City was once in the main square (Piazza Cavour) by the lakeside. It was bought by William Rockefeller in 1902 for Lire 3,500 (the estimated equivalent then of $637).[28]

Geography and Climate[edit]

Situated at the southern tip of the south-west arm of Lake Como, the city is located 40 kilometres (25 mi) north of Milan; the city proper borders Switzerland and the communes of Blevio, Brunate, Capiago Intimiano, Casnate con Bernate, Cernobbio, Grandate, Lipomo, Maslianico, Montano Lucino, San Fermo della Battaglia, Senna Comasco, Tavernerio, and Torno, and the Swiss towns of Chiasso and Vacallo. Nearby major cities are Varese, Lecco, and Lugano.

The lakefront
Como Main Town buildings decorated with light show in December 2017

Climate[edit]

Como
Climate chart (explanation)
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
 
 
79
 
 
6
−2
 
 
74
 
 
8
−1
 
 
109
 
 
13
4
 
 
157
 
 
17
7
 
 
201
 
 
23
12
 
 
175
 
 
27
16
 
 
137
 
 
30
19
 
 
173
 
 
29
19
 
 
160
 
 
23
13
 
 
147
 
 
19
9
 
 
127
 
 
12
4
 
 
66
 
 
9
2
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Imperial conversion
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
3.1
 
 
43
28
 
 
2.9
 
 
46
30
 
 
4.3
 
 
55
39
 
 
6.2
 
 
63
45
 
 
7.9
 
 
73
54
 
 
6.9
 
 
81
61
 
 
5.4
 
 
86
66
 
 
6.8
 
 
84
66
 
 
6.3
 
 
73
55
 
 
5.8
 
 
66
48
 
 
5
 
 
54
39
 
 
2.6
 
 
48
36
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches

According to the Köppen climate classification, Como has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa); until the late 20th century winters used to be quite cold, with average daily temperatures well below freezing;[29] recently, occasional periods of frost from the Siberian Anticyclone have been recorded; however, due to global warming average temperatures in winter have gradually risen since the turn of the 21st century, reaching a record high of 21 degrees Celsius (70 °F) on January 27, 2024;[30][31] spring and autumn are well marked and pleasant, while summer can be quite hot and sultry. Wind is uncommon although sudden bursts of foehn have been registered in different occasions. Pollution levels rise significantly in winter when cold air clings to the soil. Rain is more frequent during spring; summer is subject to thunderstorms and occasionally violent hailstorms.[32]

Climate data for Como
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 21
(70)
22
(72)
24
(75)
26
(79)
31
(88)
37
(99)
38
(100)
37
(99)
31
(88)
25
(77)
22
(72)
21
(70)
38
(100)
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 6
(43)
8
(46)
13
(55)
17
(63)
23
(73)
27
(81)
30
(86)
29
(84)
23
(73)
19
(66)
12
(54)
9
(48)
18
(64)
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −2
(28)
−1
(30)
4
(39)
7
(45)
12
(54)
16
(61)
19
(66)
19
(66)
13
(55)
9
(48)
4
(39)
2
(36)
9
(47)
Record low °C (°F) −18
(0)
−16
(3)
−11
(12)
−5
(23)
−1
(30)
3
(37)
7
(45)
5
(41)
4
(39)
−3
(27)
−9
(16)
−10
(14)
−18
(0)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 79
(3.1)
74
(2.9)
109
(4.3)
157
(6.2)
201
(7.9)
175
(6.9)
137
(5.4)
173
(6.8)
160
(6.3)
147
(5.8)
127
(5.0)
66
(2.6)
1,605
(63.2)
Average precipitation days 9 8 10 12 13 11 8 9 8 10 11 9 118
Average relative humidity (%) (daily average) 84 76 69 74 72 71 73 72 74 81 85 86 76
Mean monthly sunshine hours 59 97 151 176 209 242 285 253 187 129 65 58 1,911
Average ultraviolet index 1 2 3 5 7 8 8 7 5 3 2 1 4
Source 1: [33]
Source 2: [34]

Government[edit]

The legislative body of the Italian comuni is the City Council (Consiglio Comunale); in Como, it comprises 32 councillors elected every five years with a proportional system, at the same time of the mayoral elections. The executive body is the City Committee (Giunta Comunale), composed of 9 assessori each overseeing a specific ministry, that is nominated and presided over by a directly elected Mayor (Sindaco). The mayor of Como since June 27, 2022, is Alessandro Rapinese, an independent leading an alliance bearing his name (Rapinese Sindaco), unaffiliated with any official political party.

Administrative subdivisions[edit]

Administrative subdivisions

Como is divided into these frazioni (roughly equivalent to the anglocentric ward):

  1. Albate – Muggiò – Acquanera
  2. Lora
  3. Prestino – Camerlata – Breccia – Rebbio
  4. Camnago Volta
  5. City Center – West Como
  6. Borghi
  7. North Como – East Como
  8. Monte Olimpino – Ponte Chiasso – Sagnino – Tavernola
  9. Garzola – Civiglio

Main sights[edit]

Churches[edit]

Duomo (Cathedral)
The park of Villa Olmo and the Cathedral
  • Como Cathedral: Construction began in 1396 on the site of the previous Romanesque church of Santa Maria Maggiore. The façade was built in 1457, with the characteristic rose window and a portal flanked by two Renaissance statues of the famous comaschi Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger. The construction was finished in 1740. The interior is on the Latin cross plan, with Gothic nave and two aisles divided by piers, while the transept wing and the relative apses are from the Renaissance age. It includes a carved 16th-century choir and tapestries on cartoons by Giuseppe Arcimboldi. The dome is a rococo structure by Filippo Juvarra. Other artworks include 16th–17th-century tapestries and 16th-century paintings by Bernardino Luini and Gaudenzio Ferrari.
  • San Fedele, a Romanesque church erected around 1120 over a pre-existing central plan edifice. The original bell tower was rebuilt in modern times. The main feature is the famous Door of St. Fedele, carved with medieval decorations.
  • Sant’Agostino, built by the Cistercians in the early 14th century, heavily renovated in the 20th. The interior and adjoining cloister have 15th–17th-century frescoes, but most of the decoration is Baroque.
  • Basilica of Sant’Abbondio, a Romanesque structure consecrated in 1095 by Pope Urban II. The interior, with a nave and four aisles, contains paintings dating to the 11th century and frescoes from the 14th.
  • San Carpoforo (11th century, apse and crypt from 12th century). According to tradition, it was founded re-using a former temple of the God Mercury to house the remains of Saint Carpophorus and other local martyrs.
Cathedral as seen at night during the light festival of Como in December 2017

Secular buildings and monuments[edit]

The church of San Fedele, apse area
The Neoclassical English landscape gardens of Villa Olmo
Cathedral as seen from across the lakeside
The Basilica of Sant’Abbondio

Economy[edit]

The economy of Como, until the end of the 1980s, was traditionally based on industry; in particular, the city was world-famous for its silk manufacturers, and in 1972 its production exceeded that of China and Japan,[36][37] but since the mid-1990s increasing competition from Asia has significantly reduced profit margins and many small and mid-sized firms have gone out of business. As a consequence, manufacturing is no longer the economic driver, and the city has been absorbed into Milan’s metropolitan area where it mainly provides workers to the service industry sector. A significant number of residents are employed in the nearby Swiss towns Lugano and Mendrisio, primarily in the industrial sector, health care services and in the hospitality industry;[38] the 30 km (19 mi) commute is beneficial as wages in Switzerland are notably higher. For these reasons, tourism has become increasingly important for the city’s economy since the late 1990s, when local small businesses have gradually been replaced by bars, restaurants and hotels.
With about 400 thousand overnight guests in 2023, Como was one of the most visited cities in Lombardy.[39]

The city and the lake have been chosen as the filming location for various recent popular feature films, and this, together with the increasing presence of celebrities such as Matt Bellamy who have bought lakeside properties,[40] has heightened the city’s attractiveness and given a further boost to international tourism; since the early 2000s the city has become a popular “must-see” tourist destination in Italy.[41]

Demographics[edit]

The city of Como has seen its population increase until it peaked at almost 100,000 inhabitants in the 1970s, when manufacturing, especially the silk industry, was in its boom years. As production began to decline, the population tally decreased by almost 20,000 until the beginning of the 21st century, when the city saw its population grow again by more than six thousand units, generally due to increasing immigration from Asia, Eastern Europe and North Africa. As of January 2023, the population was 83,700 people of which 12,000 were resident aliens, that is, 14% of the total; the population distribution by origin was as follows:[42]

Pos. Origin %
1 Italy 86%
2 Europe 5.3%
3 Asia 4.1%
4 Africa 2.8%
5 America 1.8%
6 Oceania 0.02%

Top 20 nationalities of resident aliens:

Culture[edit]

Museums[edit]

In Como there are the following museums and exhibition centres:

Cuisine[edit]

Polenta is a popular dish in Como, and was traditionally eaten for meals in wintertime. It is obtained by mixing and cooking corn flour and buckwheat. It is usually served with meat, game, cheese and sometimes fish; in fact, Polenta e Misultin (Alosa agone) is served in the restaurants in the Lake Como area.

A typical plate of polenta (here depicted with rabbit), a very common and traditional dish of the region

A traditional dish is the Risotto con Filetti di Pesce Persico or simply Risotto al Pesce Persico (European perch filet risotto), a fish grown in Lake Como, prepared with white wine, onion, butter and wheat.[43]

Palio del Baradello[edit]

In Como, a medieval festival called Palio del Baradello takes place annually.[44]

The first edition took place in 1981.[45] The event is organized every year to narrate to the citizens and tourists the events that happened in 1159 when the town hosted the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and aided him in his fight against the rebel communes in Lombardy. The Emperor restored Como’s former freedom, which was lost in a ten-year-long war against Milan. Together, the Ghibelline communes and the emperor defeated Milan.

These pivotal moments for the town are celebrated by the medieval festival, where actors portray the main characters: Frederick Barbarossa, Henry the Lion, Beatrice of Burgundy, and Bishop Ardizzone, while citizens dress up in medieval attire.

During the Palio del Baradello, the town is divided into its historical wards called “Borghi” (in Lombard: “Burgh”[46]) Tavernola,[47] Quarcino,[48] Rebbio, Camerlata,[49] Cernobbio,[50] Cortesella[51] and Sant’Agostino.[52] The first day hosts the opening ceremony while in the following days the factions compete in different races to determine which district will win the year’s edition.[53]

The final day of the festival consists of a grand parade where all the participants march across the town in medieval costumes, accompanied by animals, wagons, and replicas of siege engines, culminating in a ceremony where the emperor announces to the public which ward won the competition.

People dressed in medieval clothing
Last day parade of the Medieval festival

Symbology[edit]

Heraldry[edit]

The heraldic achievement of Como consists of a white cross on a red background. It was used in the Middle Ages to represent the town’s political faction, the Ghibelline one. The first recorded mention of this symbol dates back to decennial war between Como and Milan (1118–1127). An anonymous poet from Como described the coat of arms, in his poem about the war, as “rubra signa” (Latin: “red symbol”) and “cum cruce alba” (Latin: “with a white cross”).[54]
Later, the motto ‘LIBERTAS’ (Latin: ‘Freedom’) was added to the town’s heraldic achievement. The oldest testament of such symbol comes from the year 1619, when the historian Francesco Ballarini wrote that the people of Como at the time were already using the motto in the town’s coat of arms.[54]
It is thought that this motto emerged when the town of Como was liberated from the Milanese occupation thanks to the help of the Holy Roman emperor Frederick I Barbarossa and was later censored when the town was conquered by the Visconti family in the 15th Century. The motto was later restored when the town proclaimed its independence from the Lordship of Milan, but was later censored again as Milan regained control over Como.
It was restored one last time after the unification of Italy, because otherwise the town’s coat of arms would have been too similar to the arms of the House of Savoy, inserted in the heraldic achievement of the newly born Kingdom of Italy.
Curiously, the coat of arms of Como is often represented with a curvature and surrounded by floral elements.
The crown is another important element of the heraldic achievement. A crown appeared in the coats of arms of Como reported on some municipal posters in 1796.
On the 9th of November 1819, Francis I of Austria, Emperor of Austria, recognised Como as “Royal Town”: that is when the crown (5-pointed and studded with gems) officially entered the coat of arms. In the version that came in 1859, the crown is topped with six gold flores (only the frontal three visible).
[54]

Flags[edit]

Como has been using throughout history the Cross of Saint John as its flag: that been a white cross over a red field.
Probably around the 12th Century, the city started to fly a version of this banner including the word “LIBERTAS”, in the bottom right corner, as it is represented in the town’s heraldic achievement. Such flag can be seen displayed at the town hall (Palazzo Cernezzi).

Version of the flag with the word LIBERTAS

Transportation[edit]

Rail[edit]

The Servizio Ferroviario Regionale (Regional Railway Service) connects Como by train to other major cities in Lombardy. Services are provided by Trenord through two main stations: Como San Giovanni and Como Nord Lago. There are five more urban stations (Albate-Camerlata, Albate-Trecallo, Como Borghi, Como Camerlata and Grandate-Breccia).

Como San Giovanni is also a stop on the main north–south line between Milan Centrale and Zürich HB and Basel SBB. Intercity and EuroCity trains stop at this station, which makes Como very accessible from the European Express train network.

The lakeside funicular connects the centre of Como with Brunate, a small village (1,800 inhabitants) on a mountain at 715 m (2,346 ft) above sea level.

An old steamship
The funicular to Brunate

Buses and taxis[edit]

The local public transport network comprises 11 urban (within city limits) lines and ‘extra-urban’ (crossing city limits) (C) lines connecting Como with most of its province centres. They are provided by ASF Autolinee.

Ferrovie Nord Milano also provides other bus lines connecting Como to Varese in substitution of the original railway line that was dismissed in the 1960s.

Taxi service is provided by the Municipality of Como.

Ship transport[edit]

The boats and hydrofoils (aliscafi) of Navigazione Laghi connect the town with most of the villages sitting on the shores of the lake.

Airports[edit]

Nearby airports providing scheduled flights are Malpensa International Airport, Milano Linate and Orio al Serio International Airport; Lugano Airport, in Switzerland, mainly schedules regional flights within Switzerland, charter flights to nearby countries[55] and caters to private aircraft operations.

Aero Club[edit]

Aero Club Como

Como is home to the oldest seaplane operation in the world,[56] the Aero Club Como (ICAO code LILY),[57] with a fleet consisting of four seaplanes, used for flight training and local tour flights and four classic seaplanes of historical interest, a 1961 Cessna O-1 Bird Dog, a 1946 Republic RC-3 Seabee a 1947 Macchi M.B.308 idro and a perfectly restored 1935 Caproni Ca.100.[58][59] A hangar right next to the lake houses the club’s fleet and is also used for aircraft maintenance and servicing.

The restored Caproni 100

Education and health[edit]

Como is home to numerous high schools, the Conservatory of music “Giuseppe Verdi”, the Design school “Aldo Galli”, the University of Insubria and a branch campus of the Politecnico di Milano.

In Como there are three major hospitals: Ospedale Sant’Anna, Ospedale Valduce and Clinica Villa Aprica.

Sports[edit]

Notable sports clubs are the ASDG Comense 1872 basketball team, a two-time winner of the FIBA EuroLeague Women, and Calcio Como, a football team. There are also numerous recreational activities available for tourists such as pedal boating, fishing, walking and seaplane rentals. Como also hosts a prestigious clay-court tennis tournament every year, the Città di Como Challenger, which attracts many of the world’s top players who are not involved in the concurrent US Open. Many players have testified that they much prefer playing in the relaxed and friendly Como environs than the hustle and bustle of Flushing Meadows–Corona Park.[citation needed]

International relations[edit]

Como is twinned with:[60]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

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  1. ^ .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit;word-wrap:break-word}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation:target{background-color:rgba(0,127,255,0.133)}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free.id-lock-free a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Lock-green.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited.id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration.id-lock-registration a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription.id-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#2C882D;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error,html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}@media(prefers-color-scheme:dark){html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error,html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}}“Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011”. Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
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Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

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