Brunate overlooks Como, which lies on the shore of Lake Como some 500 metres (1,600 ft) below.
Como and Brunate are linked by a steep, narrow, winding road, and by the Como to Brunate funicular.
Alessandro Volta lived in Brunate for a short period – the Faro Voltiano lighthouse in the San Maurizio district, was built and named in his honour. The Bulgarian poet Pencho Slaveykov died in the town on 10 June 1912.
What to do
Take the funny Funicolare to get in Brunate. Once there you can enjoy a splendid view and see the entire western Alps, the Po Valley and the Apennines. There are several panoramic points like the Belvedere, the large churchyard of S. Andrea, the rotunda of the Marenghi park in S. Maurizio and the overhanging Faro. There are also numerous monuments of historical and artistic interest. We mention the Voltiano Lighthouse, the parish church, the villas and many possible excursion destinations. Among the trekking itineraries we remember the so-called ridge of the Lariano Triangle, route at high altitude that connects Brunate to Bellagio.
The parish church of Brunate is dedicated to the patron saint Sant’Andrea Apostolo. The first records date back to the fourteenth century. Inside there are frescoes by the Recchis made at the end of the seventeenth century. In the vault the patrons of Sant’Andrea and San Maurizio are depicted. In the medallions below you can see Sant’Ignazio di Loyola, San Michele Arcangelo, San Bartolomeo and Blessed Maddalena Albrici. Inside the church there is an altar dedicated to the Blessed Maddalena Albrici, under which her relics are kept. In the church is also preserved a pipe organ of 1827. It was built by the Prestinari brothers of Magenta reusing the phonic material of a previous Serassi organ from 1774.
The historic center of Brunate is characterized by narrow alleyways that climb up the slope. In it there are ancient buildings, stone portals and several courts. The most important are the court of the Castle, one of the oldest places in Brunate, and the court of the Jews, dating back to the 14th century.
In Brunate we find the Voltiano Lighthouse. It is a 29-meter octagonal tower built in 1927 on the summit of Monte Tre Croci on the occasion of the centenary of the death of Alessandro Volta. The lighthouse, starting from sunset until dawn, alternately emits green, white and red light. On the coast of the mountain of Brunate we find the hermitage of San Donato erected by the Franciscans in the fifteenth century. The convent still exists. For five centuries it has dominated the city with its severe bulk. It is no longer a place of prayer because it is desecrated since Maria Theresa of Austria suppressed numerous convents.