The magnificent Italian lakes region, situated in Lombardy, is one of such outstanding beauty that it’s served as a muse for more creative souls than it’s worth counting. Lake Como is one of the best-known lakes and artists, poets, writers and actors have found boundless solace and inspiration in its picturesque embrace.
For modern-day art lovers, the many towns dotted around the edge of Lake Como provide a wonderful opportunity to explore its artistic heritage. There are some excellent off-the-beaten-track galleries that display the work of local and international artists, which contribute to making Lake Como the true jewel in the crown of Northern Italy.
Abele Experientia Artis Bellagio
The town of Bellagio is renowned for its stunning vistas over the lake, but it’s also home to a very unique gallery. Abele Experientia Artis Bellagio offers a true “experience”: it’s not simply a place wander around and have a look at fine paintings and sculptures, but so much more.
As well as marvelling at original artworks in the mediums of sculpture, graphics and painting, you’re invited to engage with the artistic techniques yourself and try your hand at creating your own masterpiece. Lessons start in one-hour blocks, and some of the themes/mediums include: plein air painting, sculpture, gypsum casting and scagliola.
The gallery is also home to a bottega, which sells a host of handmade glass, bronze, stone and marble pieces. While some are reproductions of famous works, others are more contemporary.
*Find it: Via Jacapo rezia 22, Bellagio
Marsiglione Arts Gallery (MAG)
The contemporary MAG in Como was established in 2009, by Salvatore Marsiglione, an expert in art restoration. In this truly unique space, the extensive collection of modern art is a culmination of his expert curation of pieces from diverse genres, including Pop Art, figuratism, conceptual, sculpture, photography and graphics.
Along with its sister gallery in Kyoto (TOMO), the gallery in Como plays host to visiting conferences. It facilitates discussions between Europe’s most esteemed intellectuals with the intention of staying at the cutting edge of the fine art world. For those interested in the ethos of contemporary art practice alongside the principles of ancient art, the gallery is a true showcase of one visionary man’s life’s work.
As well as exhibiting a slew of modern Italian artists’ work, MAG manages the archives of three significant Masters: Antonio Pedretti, Luigi Russolo, and Armando Fettolini.
*Find it: Via Vitani 31, Como
Another of Bellagio’s very worthwhile galleries, Fresia showcases the exquisite work of American “plein air” painter, Jerry Fresia. Having learnt his craft from the renowned William Schultz, the artist’s sensitive depictions of the Lake Como region are reminiscent of the French Impressionists he so admires.
With a dedication to work only in the magnificent part of Italy he calls home, Fresia’s expressive brushwork and delicate use of colour display the tangible depth of feeling within every piece.
The gallery has been operating since 2011, garnering a raft of followers from all over the world. The artist is quite often in residence, offering small group lessons in the techniques he has perfected and that some people claim are unique to him. In fact, a consultant from Christie’s, one of the world’s most acclaimed art auction houses, said that she “experienced entirely new emotions” upon viewing Fresia’s work.
*Find it: Via Roma, 20, Bellagio
How to Get to Lake Como
Getting to any of the lovely towns around Lake Como is easy, as it only takes two hours to get there by air from the UK. Numerous low-cost airlines fly regularly scheduled routes to Milano Malpensa Airport (MXP), including British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair.
When you land in Milan, make sure that you make the most of every minute of your holiday by booking a fast and economical pre-booked transfer service with Shuttle Direct. One of our friendly drivers will meet you at the airport, and then take you right to the door of your chosen accommodation. Depending on which town you choose as your base, the very picturesque journey will take between 40 minutes and a couple of hours.
Where to Stay
Appartamento Elena Villa Trotti: If you want to be close to the Abele Experientia Artis Bellagio, the Appartamento Elena Villa Trotti offers a lovely and very authentic base. Just 150m from the beautiful shores of Lake Como, the hotel is set in pretty gardens. What’s more, there’s a bus that goes directly into Como, leaving from just a few minutes away. Free Wi-Fi, a pool and truly delightful rooms complete the picture of lakeside bliss.
Hotel Quaricino: For those with their hearts set on spending quality time at MAG, Hotel Quarcino is ideal. This charming hotel is within walking distance of the lake and all the delights of town. Offering excellent value for money, the hotel is in the typically Italian style, featuring an authentic and genuinely welcoming ambience. There’s a lovely garden in which to relax in the warmer weather, as well as an onsite bar that’s perfect for socialising with other guests.
Hotel Garden: Situated just a few minutes from the beach and offering outstanding views over the lake, Hotel Garden is a gorgeous family-run hotel with plenty of character and all the modern conveniences. Its fabulous breakfast can be taken while overlooking the lake, which is a fantastic way to start the day. Set in the tiny hamlet of Nobiallo, the hotel is within easy access of numerous galleries and lakeside attractions.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is one of the leading providers of airport transfers all over Europe and North Africa. Our friendly drivers will get you straight from the airport to the door of your accommodation in the fastest time, and always with a smile. Make a quick and easy booking online and leave the rest up to us.