Navigazione Lago di Como

Como, Lake Como | C.1952

Photo Credit: Accidentally Wes Anderson

Navigazione Lago di Como is a highly developed public transport system linking the many small towns around Lake Como, in the Lombardy region of Italy. The glacial lake is the third-largest lake in Italy and one of the deepest lakes in Europe. The area has been a popular retreat for aristocrats since Roman times.

Motorized service on the lake began in 1826, with the launch of the “Larrio,” a steamship with sails. By the mid 19th century, private companies were running steamers across the lake for both passengers and cargo.

World War II devastated the ferry companies. After the war, the ferry system was taken over by a government organization, Gestione Governativa Navigazione Laghi, which is also responsible for services on Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda. The newly state-run enterprise added ‘raghetti’, or car ferries, to the fleet in 1958 and launched the first ‘aliscafo’, or hydrofoil, in 1964.

Today, there are about 33 boats in the service of Navigazione Lago di Como, including the modern aliscafi and catamarans, large and small ‘traghetti’, and tourist cruisers called ‘batelli.’ The batelli sometimes have restaurants, panoramic windows, and outdoor decks. An original 1927 steamer named “Concordia,” operates lunchtime and sunset cruises.

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