Going up after Menaggio in the Upper Lake of Como you do not meet large centers for a while. Only villages and hamlets climbing next to the lake. Cremia, Pianello del Lario and Musso, but above all Rezzonico, the first center not to be missed: it appears splendid from the road with the castle towering above the houses, but between the alleys it descends to the lake to a hidden beach.
The first real town is Dongo, with its small port and elegant buildings, but known above all because Mussolini was imprisoned here: walking through its streets is a way to relive that moment of Italian history. Instead, it takes Gravedona much further back in time, with the church of Santa Maria del Tiglio which has stood on the lake since the Middle Ages; with Piona, it is the religious heart of the Upper Lake.
Gravedona also has a splendid lakeside promenade, stone streets that go up a hill, two other fascinating churches and the imposing Palazzo Gallio overlooking the lake. Further north there are the colorful houses with arcades of Domaso where you can take a walk looking at the lake or shop in the shops and Sorico with the ancient Romanesque churches. Then the Pian di Spagna nature reserve reconnects to the Lecco side.