ETR // Stage 45 // Como - Arona

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  • Como - Arona
  • Radius 100 km
  • 199 km


  • Lake Como
  • Como War Memorial
  • Basilica Sant'Abbondio
  • Villa Olmo
  • Tempio Voltiano
  • Casa del Fascio
  • Menaggio
  • Via Regina
  • Menaggio Guitar Festival
  • Lago di Lugano
  • Lago Maggiore
  • Laveno Mombello
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

Appreciate Como one last time before you leave

After you've spent a few hours, days or even weeks exploring the lakesides and uniquely beautiful and fascinating region around Como - the numerous works of art, churches, gardens, museums, theatres, parks, and palaces such as 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 - it's inevitably and reluctantly time to move on to the next destinations along the ETR.

Como War Memorial

A good place to start your next stage of The ETR is from The Como War Memorial. Rising out of the public garden near the Tempio Voltiano (Volta's Temple) facing the magnificent panorama of the lake, the imposing monument commemorates the victims of World War I. Made of Serizzo granite and Nabresina marble, with large windows and completely covered with stone of Aurisina and Reppen, covered in Dioride d' Anzola, the monument has a surface polished like a mirror. Inside the memorial chapel, a monolith of granite with the weight of 400 quintals, the names of the 650 fallen soldiers are carved.

In 1931, Giuseppe Terragni and his brother were asked by the fascists to design a monument for the victims of the First World War, and their design was based on a sketch of the Italian futurist Antonio Sant'Elia. The Terragni brothers skilfully adapted Sant'Elia's vision to produce the magnificent monolith that adorns the lakeside view at Como. Take a million photos, get back on your motorbike and get rolling - there's a lot to take in, today!

© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS


The area of current Menaggio was conquered by the Romans in 196 BC, and the Roman conquest culminated with the construction of a road called the Via Regina. Menaggio was a walled city and remnants of the wall are still evident today, and Menaggio has various other historical monuments which recall its importance throughout the ages. It was a town of note in ancient times because of its privileged geographical position, at the point where the Via Regina (road bordering the western side of the lake) met the road leading through the Val Menaggio to Lugano and the valley of Ticino. Take a walk from Piazza Garibaldi, and discover Menaggio’s deep history. The road leads up to Castello, the medieval part of the town, mainly along streets closed to traffic. Among many events which occur in the town every summer, the Menaggio Guitar Festival is definitely one to try to catch. Maybe you will be lucky and time it so that you are there when it is happening. Or vice-versa!

© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

Lugano in Switzerland

Riding along the SS340 from Menaggio along the northern shore of Lago di Lugano, you'll suddenly and unwittingly cross the border into Switzerland again, so you can finally use the last of your Swiss Francs! Lugano is both a city and municipality in Switzerland, part of the Lugano District in the canton of Ticino. It is the largest city of both Ticino and the Italian-speaking southern Switzerland, and is the ninth largest Swiss city, believe it or not..

The city notably lies on Lake Lugano, at its largest width, and, together with the adjacent town of Paradiso, occupies the entire bay of Lugano. The territory of the municipality encompasses a much larger region on both sides of the lake, with numerous isolated villages. The region of Lugano is surrounded by the Lugano Prealps, the latter extending on most of the Sottoceneri region, the southernmost part of Ticino and Switzerland. Both western and eastern parts of the municipality share an international border with Italy.

Described as a market town since 984, Lugano was the object of continuous disputes between the Dukes of Como and Milan until it became part of the Old Swiss Confederation in 1513. In 1803, the political municipality of Lugano was created, following the establishment of the canton. Since 1882, Lugano is an important stop on the international Gotthard Railway, which brought a decisive contribution to the development of tourism.

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  • Dave O'Byrne

  • European Touring Route AS



  • Locarno International Film Festival
  • Visconti Castle
  • Palazzo Casorella
  • Verbania
  • Santa Maria in Belgirate
  • Collegiata della Natività di Maria Vergine
  • La Rocca
  • Santi Martiri
  • Sacro Monte di Arona
  • The Lungolago
  • Castelletto Sopra Ticino
  • Cardinal San Carlo Borromeo statue
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS

Italy / Switzerland / Italy / Switzerland / Italy

Crossing over into Italy again (again?) at Ponte Tresa, we traverse Parco Regionale Campo dei Fiori and make our way over to Laveno, on the shores of Lago Maggiore. The lakeside roads in this region are lined with magical mansions, imposing houses and lush gardens, while resting quietly in the hills above, the small villages retain their age-old character and traditions.

Laveno Mombello, Italy

Laveno Mombello is one of the very picturesque towns in the province of Varese. Located on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore at the foot of the Sasso del Ferro mountain, it is divided into three areas: Laveno, the heart of the town, and the two districts of Mombello and Cerro. The blue colour of the lake, the green colour of the hills and the grandeur of the mountain overhanging the lake all contribute to the town’s fairytale atmosphere. The town of Laveno extends along the coast as far as Cerro and Ceresolo with equally picturesque residential areas, such as the district of Mombello. Nice place to live!

Locarno in Switzerland

Weaving back into Switzerland again, the town of Locarno lies in the canton of Ticino at the southern foot of the Swiss Alps. The town is known for hosting the Locarno International Film Festival which takes place every year in August and involves open-air screenings at the main square, the Piazza Grande. It is also known for the Locarno Treaties, a series of European territorial agreements negotiated here in October 1925.

There were several castles from the Early Middle Ages in Locarno; One was destroyed by the Milanese in 1156, another, first mentioned in 1210 as Orelli castle, was occupied in 1342 by the Visconti and enlarged. This castle came to be known as Visconti Castle, and north-east of the castle is Palazzo Casorella (Casa degli Orelli) from the 16th century.

© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS
© ETR // European Touring Route AS


Riding into the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, you come across Verbania. This area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and the oldest known people living in the area were the Lepontii. The area was added to the Roman Empire by Emperor Augustus in the first century AD. In the eleventh century the area was controlled by the bishops of Novara, then by the counts of Pombia. In 1152, Federico Barbarossa gave the area to the Castello family. After the death of Frederick Barbarossa, the territory was again controlled by Novara.

By the fourteenth century, the area had become part of the Duchy of Milan. In 1714, following the Treaty of Rastatt most of the lake areas came under the control of the Habsburgs. After the 1796 Napoleonic invasion the area was controlled by the French. By 1818 the House of Savoy had gained control of the area back from the French. With the edict of 10 October 1836, Pallanza and Ossola became part of the province of Novara. After the Second World War, the territory still remained part of the province of Novara. In 1976 the autonomous district of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola was established. Quite a rollercoaster.

The Piedmont shore of Lake Maggiore

The section of the Piedmont shore of Lake Maggiore contains a variety of places of artistic and cultural interest, for example, the Romanesque church of Santa Maria in Belgirate from the 12th century. Archaeological findings have shown that the area of what today is Arona was settled from the 18th–13th centuries BC. Prehistoric pile-dwellings have been found near the town and are part of the Prehistoric Pile dwellings around the Alps UNESCO World Heritage Site. Later it was a possession of the Celts, the Romans and the Lombards. In the 11th century the Benedictine abbey of Saints Gratianus and Felinus, Martyrs, was founded.

Later the town was a possession of the Torriani and (from 1277) of the Visconti families. In the early 14th century, the town became a free commune under the suzerainty of the abbey. In 1439 it was acquired by Vitaliano Borromeo and, as a result, the House of Borromeo. While you're here, check out Collegiata della Natività di Maria Vergine from 1482, La Rocca ('The Castle'), Santi Martiri, Sacro Monte di Arona and The Lungolago ('Lakeside').

Close to Arona along the Piedmontese shore is Castelletto Sopra Ticino (Torriani-Visconti Castle) a medieval fortress which belonged to the signoria of the Torriani and the Visconti families. Arona, the principal seat of the Borromeo family, which for centuries exerted a strong influence on the lake area. The giant statue of Cardinal San Carlo Borromeo (23.4 metres tall) stands above the town. You can climb up inside to see a breathtaking view of the Lombard and Piedmontese shores of the lakes.

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