At the southeastern tip of the lake, just north of Milan, Como appears as a world away from the bustling modern Milan. It is an ancient, but lively town of about 85,000 that is the gateway to Lake Como for many. Lake Como is a jewel-like oasis of tranquility, a magical combination nearby lush Mediterranean foliage and snowy alpine peaks in the distance. One of the best vantage points for this breathtaking view since Roman times is Piazza Cavour, on the banks of the lake in the town of Como.
More than just for visitors, Como is the hometown of such important personages as Pliny the Elder, the compiler of what passed as scientific knowledge during first century AD, his nephew Pliny the Younger, a school of master builders known as Maestri Comancini, and the physicist Allessandro Volta who gave his name to the measure of electrical capacity, the volt.
Como has also long been known for its silk industry. For centuries, its economy has been linked to Milan. Legendarily, Como has been making silk since Marco Polo first returned with silkworms from China. Though since the end of World War II, Como has left the cultivation of silk to the Chinese and just imports the thread to weave into fabrics. Como's silk makers are major suppliers for the fashion designers of Milan. However, Como has long been known more for its location and access to the lake rather than for its manufacturing industry.