Lenno and Ossuccio

You could easily drive or ride the bus through the village of Lenno without really noticing that it has a unique character, due to its position at a point on the lake where two promontories make a kind of sheltered bay, known as the Golfo di Venere, or the Gulf of Venus.  But there is a lot to see and admire here.  Lenno is the location of the famous Villa del Balbianello, which has been used in several Hollywood movies, including Star Wars and Casino Royale.  You can’t see the villa from the road – you have to walk along the promontory path or take a boat round – but its fabulous position and gardens make it well worth a visit.  Lenno also has a very charming promenade, due to the main road passing above the main square, making it quieter than some other lakeside walks.  Walking along the shady southern edge of the bay leads you to a pleasant shingle beach, and the Lido Beach Bar, which is a particularly stylish place to sit and enjoy a drink and a snack.

Lenno is a good starting point or stopping off point if you are walking the Greenway del Lago route linking the villages in this central part of the lake.  The 11th century church, with its separate baptistery, are particularly interesting.

Just south of Lenno, and snaking up the hill, is the neighbouring village of Ossuccio, which is very quiet about the fact that it is home to a Unesco World Heritage Site. This is the Sacro Monte della Madonna del Soccorso, a series of devotional chapels leading up to a 16th century sanctuary.  It’s quite a stiff walk but well worth the effort.  There is nothing else like it around the lake.