This historic single-track funicular railway has been carrying passengers up and down the steep mountain slope between the lakeside city of Como and the village of Brunate since 1894. The 7-minute ride passes through a scenic stretch of countryside with sweeping views over Italy’s Lake Como as far as the Swiss Alps.
Once powered by steam engine, the Como–Brunate Funicular Railway (Funicolare Como–Brunate) now runs with an electric motor and travels through a lengthy tunnel before emerging to panoramic views of Lake Como and the surrounding area, including Villa d'Este, Villa Erba, and Monte Rosa. If Brunate, perched 2,362 feet (720 meters) above Como, isn’t high enough for you, after exiting the cable car you can continue another 30 minutes along a rough mule track to San Maurizio and then take 140-plus steps to the top of the Volta lighthouse. Either buy a return ticket for the funicular back down to Como, or take one of the many hiking trails that wind their way down to the lakeshore. Scenic trips on the Como–Brunate Funicular Railway are included in many Como day trips from Milan and as part of small-group hikes from Como.
Things to Know Before You Go
- With views like these, you will definitely want to bring your camera.
- Kids love the dizzying, steep trip up and down the mountainside.
- If you are headed up the mountainside to hike, be sure to wear appropriate footwear and clothing, and bring plenty of water.
- The funicular is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
The Como–Brunate cable car entrance is located at Piazza Alcide de Gasperi, about 10 minutes by bus from the railway station through the Como city center. From the bus terminal on Via Torno, it’s an easy 5-minute walk to the funicular. Lake Como (Lago di Como) is a popular day trip from Milan, the bustling capital of Lombardy.
When to Get There
The cable car runs all year, but the best time to visit the region is from late spring to early fall, when the countryside is lush and the high altitude offers a respite from the heat.
Como’s Main Sights
The city of Como sits on the shores of Lake Como and offers a number of interesting attractions. Those not to miss include Piazza Cavour; the Tempio Voltiano, a museum dedicated to scientist and inventor Alessandro Volta; and the neoclassical Villa Olmo.