"Why Torno?" Torno by leics

Torno Travel Guide: 7 reviews and 20 photos

Well....I was in Como for the day and the weather, although rather chilly and hazy, was calm. Having made an early start from Milan I'd thoroughly explored the old part of Como by lunchtime.

So I thought.....why not take one of the lake ferries somewhere else? The water was smooth enough (an important consideration for me), and it looked as though the haziness might lift.

So I checked my guidebook and of the nearby potential stops Torno looked the most interesting because of its ancient church.

Unfortunately, I shared my ferry trip with a very noisy and rowdy group of Spanish teenagers on a school trip, which rather detracted from the watery experience. But I was able to take photos by dint of standing my ground and using my 'teacher's glare' when jostled.

I arrived at Torno to find it pretty much empty. In fact, the ferry crew had to double check that I actually wanted to get off (which was a bit disconcerting). But empty is the way I like places to be....and I knew the ferry would be back soon enough if I wanted to leave.

Torno spreads upwards from its little harbour, with narrow cobbled alleyways leading off from its equally narrow, sometimes stepped, 'streets'. It was very easy indeed to imagine this little town as it was centuries ago.

First stop was the small but lovely Church of Santa Tecla, right on the harbourside. Originally15th century but enlarged and renovated in the 17th century, recent restorations have uncovered some beautiful Medieval frescoes.

A stiff uphill walk (first on a steep, stepped and cobbled 'road' and then on an equally steep and winding modern road...winding + no pavements + Italian drivers = not much fun) led me to the ancient church of San Giovanni, dating from the fourteenth century. A truly venerable building, this, its grey interior holding onto the atmosphere created by centuries of prayer and worship. Again, restorations have revealed Medieval frescoes.

I'll write more about both churches in my tips.

I liked Torno a lot. If I'd been staying nearby I'd have spent much longer exploring, including perhaps following some of the trails into the hillsides which (so a local noticeboard told me) included ancient carvings in glacial erratics and maybe seeking out Villa Plinio, one of the oldest villas on the lake and somewhere visited by Shelley and Byron (amongst others).

But by the time I'd visited S Giovanni I was very tired and the weather was turning chilly in the late afternoon. So I wended my way back down to the harbour to wait for the ferry back to Como (mercifully, no school groups this time).

Perhaps I'll base myself somewhere on the lake on another visit, and spend my time pootling from place to place by ferry? It seemed a most pleasant way to explore.....

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The older part of the town repays exploration
  • Cons:None that I came across
  • In a nutshell:Ancient churches....
  • Last visit to Torno: Feb 2011
  • Intro Updated Feb 26, 2011
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