The light above COMO: Volta’s lighthouse

The light above COMO: Volta’s lighthouse

Brunate, a town of just over 1700 inhabitants located at 715m above sea level, is the target of our new article.


The village is just above the town of Como and can be reached both by car and by a charming funicular dating from the late 19th century. This funicular, born in the period of industrial revolution, allows the village to remain connected to the great city below, despite its location. The village is located on the top of the mountain of the Three Crosses.

A resort

Brunate was also a shelter for families in the years who in the summer preferred to move away from the confusion of towns of Como and Milan. Here we find a great hotel now in decay (take a look at the old Grand Hotel Milano in the center of the town, an example of luxury hotels that have been closed for some time) and fascinating freedom that tell of an era that was. Unfortunately, Brunate is no longer the holiday resort that was, but many still prefer to stay here and then comfortably get to Como via the funicular.

The itinerary

To get to the funicular and finally reach the Volta’s Lighthouse (the destination of our itinerary), we recommend that you arrive by train or park your car near Como, where there are numerous paid parking spaces. From here you can start a “warm up”, taking a stroll to the other side of the lakefront of Como, where you will find the starting point of the Como-Brunate cable car (in Alcide De Gasperi Square).

The funicular

The ancient funicular of Como-Brunate, born in 1894, runs every 15 minutes, with which in about 10 minutes you will take you to the center of Brunate. The funicular ride is of a surprising beauty: The ancient wagons climb up the mountain, giving breathtaking views of Como and its lake. Once you reach Brunate, you can follow several itineraries that lead to mountains and scenic spots. We decided to make a rather tiring walk, but to everyone’s reach: the climb to the volcanic lighthouse.

The path way

After leaving the funicular and taking some photos from its rooftop terrace, you will enter the path for the volcanic lighthouse, always marked by good signage. Approximately thirty minutes on paved roads and in the last stretch on a mule track somewhat disassociated and steadily rising. However, we assure you that the itinerary is elementary and also suitable for children. Leaving the lighthouse, it is worth taking a break at the Church of Sant’Andrea Apostolo, dating back to the ‘300, and then resume the journey more vigorously. After the paved stretch, you will enter a mule track that will allow you to finally reach Via Scalini. Here you will find some typical restaurants with panoramic terraces (which we recommend you book early in the most busy times) and the beautiful S.Maurizio church. Finally, there is one last effort: the short staircase leading you to the Volta Lighthouse.

The lighthouse

This octagonal lighthouse was built in 1927 for the centenary of the death of comasco physicist Alessandro Volta. 29 meters high, is located on the summit of the Three Crosses Mountain. On weekends, when opened by volunteers, with a modest figure, it is possible, by climbing the 143 steps of the staircase, reaching two circular balconies panoramas

The Balcony of the Alps

Brunate is called the “Balcony of the Alps” and the panorama of the Volta Lighthouse explains why: Located at the top of the Lariano Triangle, hence dominates the entire Alpine arch (including Monte Rosa), but also Padana Plain, Apennines And Milan with its majestic skyscrapers. The panorama from here will repay you with all the fatigue!

One last curiosity

Returning to Como, on the opposite side of the lake, at the height of Villa Olmo, in the evening, you can see how the lighthouse notices its presence: Green, white and red lights alternately illuminate the night coma.




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