Lake Como is shaped like a two-branched (bifid) fjord, situated at an altitude of 197.39 metres above sea level. Hollowed deep into the mountain slopes of the Como Alps, its geometry is very expressive thanks to its unique inverted “Y” shape or, as the popular local saying goes:
“Lake Como is shaped like a man, with one of his legs in Lecco, his other in Como, his nose in Domaso and his backside in Bellagio”
It is the deepest lake in Italy measuring 410 metres between Argegno and Nessus and the fifth deepest in Europe. Its depths plunge far below its surface. In Italy it is also the lake with the largest perimeter shoreline, measuring 170 km, the third largest lake surface with 145 km² and a volume 23.37 km3. It reaches a length of 45.7 km from Gera Lario to Como. Its minimum width of 650 metres is between Careno and Torriggia while its maximum, measuring 4.2 km, can be found between Cadenabbia and Fiumelatte.
It is one of the most beautiful Italian landscapes, its praises sung in the nineteenth century by major poets of Romanticism: Alessandro Manzoni, Stendhal, George Gordon Byron and Franz Liszt to name a few. The morphology of the territory varies from rounded and grassy slopes to great serrated rocks, spires and tower-like formations. Alluvial deposits, carried by rivers and streams, began to form with postglaciation and this is when the smaller lakes, like Lake Mezzola to the north and Lakes Garlate and Olginate to the south, separated.
Especially typical is the eastern shore of the Como branch, rugged and covered with forests. Small villages are still made up of old houses perched between lake and mountains, with steep steps down to the shore.