At the centre of the eastern shore of Lake Como, the Castle of Vezio has watched over Varenna for more than a thousand years. It was a mediaeval military outpost in a strategic position, built to defend and control the lake and the surrounding villages.  

The origins of the castle remain a mystery. According to legend, during the Longobard era, Queen Teodolinda ordered the Castle of Vezio and the Oratory of Santa Anna to be built after she moved to Perledo, as a sign of her Christian devotion. It is said that the queen’s ghost still roams the corridors and gardens of the castle. 

Entering the Castle of Vezio, the history of the area from ancient times to the Middle Ages can be retraced on the explanatory panels at the entrance. A small drawbridge gives access to the tower, where an exhibition of mediaeval weapons, clothing and armour can be admired. The castle’s dungeons can be inspected on the way out.  

The Castle of Vezio stands in a wonderful natural setting. The beautiful garden contains a great variety of flora, including one of the most northerly olive groves in the world, where a very fine extra virgin olive oil is produced. In addition, various works of art can be admired in the garden, the most famous of which are the ‘ghosts of Vezio’, white plaster sculptures of ghosts engaged in a range of activities, talking to each other, lying in the sun and admiring the view.  

The panoramic terrace overlooking Varenna offers a stunning view of the surroundings, especially Bellagio while, from the top of the tower, there is an unforgettable 360-degree panorama of Lake Como, the mountains and the plain. 

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