Lenno is an attractive town on the west shore of Lake Como, near the centre of the lake.
Italy This Way comment: although most visitors are probably in Lenno on their way to visit the Villa Balbianello, the town also contains some sites of interest and is pleasant to explore.
You can start exploring Lenno with a promenade along the edge of the lake. This is not very long, but you see the small harbour and nice views across Lake Como to the forested hills across the lake and the main part of the promenade has shade from the trees. There is a small beach at the end of the promenade.
There are two parts to the town centre, with the main centre near the church and just behind the harbour, and the small historic centre a few hundred metres to the south.
In the main square you can see the most interesting historic building in Lenno, the baptistery. This octagonal building was built in the 11th century and inside you can see several frescoes that were added when the baptistery was renovated during the baroque period.
A short distance from the baptistery the Church of Saint Stephen is the other important monument in Lenno. You can see the 11th century crypt in the church, which is of the romanesque style and still retains the layout of the Roman baths that stood here 2000 years ago. The rest of the church was partly rebuilt in the 16th-17th centuries and is mostly baroque style: although it is rather dark inside, you can see many paintings on the walls and ceiling of the church.
The historic centre of Lenno is called Villa and is accessed by a small road on your right as you follow the path towards the boat departures for Villa Balbianello. You can see a large red villa on the lake shore here as well as the imposing Villa Aureggi.
In the narrow streets of this part of Lenno you can see a medieval tower called the Tower of Segnalazione and built in the 14th century as well as several narrow streets of colourful houses and a traditional fountain.The Signal Tower was not built for defensive purposes, as you might think when you see it because it looks like a tower from a castle, but was actually a centre for local tax collectors.
Further along this path you can find the private boats that carry passengers to Villa Balbianello, as well as the start of the walk to the villa. This a very lovely villa that has appeared in several famous films such as Star Wars: see Villa Balbianello for information.
As well as the boat trip and visit to Villa Balbianello there is another very famous villa near Tremezzo called Villa Carlotta and perhaps the most visited villa on Lake Como.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Lombardy guide.