Photo by Daniele Marucci

“The only island on Lake Como, Comacina played a key part in the history of Como in Roman times and during the High Middle Ages. Known for its characteristic lush vegetation and beautiful scenery, Isola Comacina was restored to its former glory in the twentieth century, when it became the site of three villas for artists, which were built in the rationalist style and prompted the island’s development into an artistic centre. Furthermore, a series of archaeological digs […] whose significance goes well beyond the confines of the local area, has led the island to be viewed as one of the leading archaeological sites in Northern Italy for the high medieval period.””

Cultural Landscapes invites you to observe Isola Comacina’s cultural heritage with different eyes...
...with the eyes of a V.I.P., by offering you some little-known views of the island.

During their VIP - Visitors in Practice - experience, some visitors have been happy to share with us their personal perspective on the cultural landscape of Isola Comacina. Behind each narrative, there is a life story …a soul. Some recount having fallen in love with the local area to the extent of deciding to move there from a different home, town, city or region: in other words, to the extent of making a significant life change. Others came here on holiday. Some had a long association with the island, while others live nearby but had never been here before. And what about you? Might you be the next VIP?

The Brera Academy of Fine Arts has played a supervisory role on Isola Comacina since 1911, after King Albert I of Belgium donated it to the Italian state. Three villas – designed by Pietro Lingeri as artists’ residences – were subsequently built here. When used in summer by Italian and Belgian artists, they become true workshops of art, in harmony with the natural setting of the lake. Every year, the students of the Brera Academy have the opportunity to come here and work in this unique space as part of their training. The following are little-known images of this dimension of the island’s heritage.