Cernobbio is situated on the slopes of Mount Bisbino (1325 m) and counts 6000 inhabitants, which makes it one of the bigger towns on the lake. Because of its favourable geographical position, it was chosen as an ideal location to build palaces and elegant villas such as Villa Pizzo and the famous Villa d’Este, one of the most elegant and famous hotels in the world.
It was built at the end of the 15th century by Pellegrini Tibaldi and commissioned by Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio. The villa is situated directly on the lake and has an elegant Italian style garden on the back.
From the boat dock of Cernobbio you walk along the shore where there is a succession of cafés and restaurants. Here every Wednesday morning a lively market is held. You enter the historical centre between the church of S. Vincenzo of the 17th century, with its unique façade out of fired brick, and the medieval Piazza Castello. Then continue along Via XX September until you reach the fork with Piazza Bellinzaghi. Here stands the 16th century church of the Madonna delle Grazie. Inside you can admire a much worshipped image of the Madonna del Latte (milk).
From here turn back to the centre of Cerbobbio along Via Regina. At house number 43 note Casa Cattaneo designed in rationalist forms by Cesare Catanneo around 1938. From Piazza Mazzini, in order to return to the dock, turn left. If you continue instead along Via Regina, at house n° 7 you find Villa Bernasconi, built in a liberty style, with beautiful decorations with forms of butterflies and silkworms in honour of the buyer, the industrialist Davide Bernasconi, owner of an important weaving mill. The villa hosts a house museum.
In front of this villa is the congress and trade centre Villa Erba, constructed in 1986 on design of Mario Bellini. The villa, with the characteristic tower, is of the early 19th century.