Yasemin Rosenmaier, managing partner, ENGEL & VÖLKERS, Lago di Como, knows all about luxury real estate on Lake Como. Yasmin spoke to COMO LAKE Today about her impressions of Como and how to choose a dream home on Lake Como.
How many years have you lived in the Lake Como area?
I moved here fourteen years ago, in March 2005. My husband needed to relocate to Lombardy, somewhere around Milan and logistically Milan was a good choice. We came together to explore different options around the city, and Como area was also on the list. When I saw the lake, the tiny villages, the gorgeous villas – I fell in love with this area. I did not want to live in Milan, and I preferred to stay in Como. At that time we made our decision not because Como was famous, but just because we loved it at first sight.
Where are you from?
I was born and grew up in Stuttgart. I studied there. From Germany, I moved to Italy.
Of course, Germany has an entirely different mentality and ecosystem. But the beauty of Como, its climate, and magical lake compensate for everything. I’ve got used to the Italian lifestyle very quickly.
The real estate market has increased by 20% in the last ten years. The prices and the value of the properties have risen. Lake Como is among the top tier of the most requested areas of Italy.
What do you like most about Italy?
Definitely the sun! I also like the people and the food, probably the best food in the world. Generally, Italy is a very comfortable country to live in. The Lake Como area is one of the best areas in Italy – highly developed, very conveniently located and with a pleasant climate.
What would I improve? Public transportation. My daughter goes to school, and I need to buy “abbonamento” (the travel card) in a particular “tabacchino” (tobacco shop). Having a pretty busy schedule, it’s a challenging task for me. Infrastructure and connections with some remote places to the centre could be better. If you don’t have a car and live in a small Italian village here, moving around is not easy.
How do you usually spend the weekend on Lake Como?
It depends on the season. In the wintertime, I go skiing; in summer – sailing. For winter sports, Lake Como has unique opportunities. Andermatt, Bormio, and St.Moritz are located very close to Como. You can quickly drive there by car for the weekend.
In summer Lake Como offers many water sports. There are lovely places to jet ski on the lake – I personally like Blevio and Lezzeno.
Another fantastic weekend idea is to rent a boat and moor for lunch. There are some places with decks like Croto dei Platani, Aurora, Mandarin Oriental Lake Como, Sereno, and Villa d’Este. First, we take a boat trip and excursion and then lunch – it’s a perfect Lake Como weekend scenario.
I also like to play Golf in Menaggio at the Cadenabbia Golf Club. It’s a fantastic place with more than 100 years of history. I enjoy playing golf and staying in one of the most beautiful corners of the area.
What would you recommend to somebody visiting Lake Como for the first time?
The first must-see opportunities – are the gorgeous historic villas like Balbianello, Villa Carlotta, and Villa Melzi. Go see Bellagio, Cernobbio, Tremezzina – I like them most. The Como historic centre is also mandatory with its gorgeous Duomo.
The tradition of aperitivo is very popular at Lake Como, and there are some picturesque places for it – like Villa d’Este terrace, the Vista Hotel in Piazza Cavour in Como and many others. I love to have an aperitivo at Villa d’Este at the end of my workday.
As for restaurants – there are also so many beautiful places… I like to take my guests to Terminus Restaurant in Como – it offers a great combination of great location, good food, history, and charm. When I go out in summer, I often go to Vintage cafe – it’s a very local and social place, where I can meet friends, make small talk and have fun.
How has the region changed during the period that you have lived here?
The city of Como has changed and developed a lot. It is becoming better and better, improving gradually. New hotels and luxury restaurants have arrived at Lake Como. This year in Como, the construction barriers from the lake promenade were finally removed. I see the development of many new property constructions. When I came fourteen years ago, it was not like this. Tourism has increased considerably. Visitors have also started to come in the winter season. Previously Lake Como was primarily considered a summer destination.
The lifestyle has also changed here. Lake Como hotels and apartments are often sold out, especially for weekends and holidays – like New Year, Easter and public holidays.
The B&B mentality has developed incredibly in the last few years. Previously on Lake Como, you could only book classic hotels. And it’s great that now Lake Como offers fancy apartments, home-like B&B, chain hotels – a great variety of hospitality providers.
Why do people come here not just as tourists, but also to buy properties?
Lake Como is a unique place. It’s pure magic. As well as the fantastic landscapes, it offers a lot of privacy. It is not like other Italian lakes where you have pedestrians walking in front of your property, a lot of mass tourists, very international services, menus at restaurants in five languages. At Lake Como it’s different. Here you need to speak Italian. It’s not a mass touristic place. Thanks to the geographic landform, properties at Lake Como offer a lot of privacy, that no other lakes provide. You can find secluded houses on the picturesque hills here where you can see just the lake, the sky, the green mountains, and tiny colourful villages. International people appreciate the position of the Lake Como area very much – in just 30-40 minutes by car you can reach Milan, Lugano, Malpensa airport and then any place in the world. It is very important, and it’s a significant advantage of the area. You can’t have the same at other lakes or some beautiful corners of Liguria or Tuscany, for example.
What is the main difference for foreigners between the Italian lakes?
The key difference is logistics. Lake Como is the best choice for globetrotters. The other difference is nature. Lake Como has a magical setting of blue water, dark green mountains, picturesque villages, and particular landscapes.
Other Italian lakes offer entirely different panorama. They are more extensive and do not have the unique charm of Lake Como. The Como area is one of the most beautiful spots in the world.
How has the real estate market changed in the area?
The real estate market has increased by 20% in the last ten years. The prices and the value of the properties have risen. Lake Como is among the top tier of the most requested areas of Italy. The performance of the real estate market here on Lake Como is very positive. We expect a year with growing results and a general increase in sales, especially from foreign buyers (from Germany, Switzerland, the Middle East, the United States, and Russia). Many people are taking up residence in Como, not just buying vacation houses. The flat tax also influenced the increase of interest in the local property market. At ENGEL & VÖLKERS we have clients who moved to Italy due to the flat tax. It’s a new driver for the high-end real estate market.
Another growing trend – is small apartments in the EURO 200K-500K price range. They are selling fast – especially in good central locations or with a lake view.
I forecast that the real estate market at Lake Como will continue to grow.
What do you recommend to people looking for the property at Lake Como?
First of all, when you decide to buy property at Lake Como you need to understand your future lifestyle here and your interests. The lake is vast and offers very different opportunities. Do you plan to move here or you are looking for a vacation home? The towns that you consider perfect for a holiday house might not be comfortable for everyday residential life.
If you are looking for a vacation house, note that Como is an ideal weekend destination. So you should select the area depending on your weekend interests. Fans of luxury, city life and exclusive locations will enjoy the area of Como and Cernobbio. Sports enthusiasts and nature lovers will enjoy more areas like Lezzeno, Bellano and Dervio.
All corners of Lake Como are lovely and thanks to the developed boat navigation, you can easily reach any point of this most beautiful lake in the world.
Elena Markova, Editor-in-Chief at COMO LAKE Today