Getting to and Navigating around Bellagio

Guests at the Palazzo have the best of both worlds. Our historic palace has luxurious accommodations in beautifully decorated suites and apartments, which profit from the peace of our lazy lakeside village of Lezzeno while providing easy access to the bustling boutiques, bars and restaurants of Bellagio just six miles down the road. Unfortunately – or fortunately! – Bellagio is in quite a unique location at the tip of the promontory that bisects Lake Como’s two southern branches. That means that it is a destination in its own right rather than a place you pass through on the way to points beyond and that this rather small town can quickly become overcrowded with cars, particularly in the high season.

One solution to avoiding traffic tribulation that we often recommend to our guests is to do without a car entirely for the duration of their stay. Our partners at IC Bellagio are just a phone call away and are true experts when it comes to getting chauffeured sedans and airport transfers, hiking and biking guides as well as private cruises and boat rentals. There are a wealth of sites accessible from the Palazzo without getting behind the wheel, some of which we featured in this blog post, and the Palazzo team can point guests to secret walks and cycling backroads that are just outside the door.

Whether you are arriving from Rome, Milan or Venice, it is pretty easy to get to Bellagio. Guests arriving by car come to Bellagio via the lakeside road from either Lecco to the southeast or from Como to the southwest. They can also cruise to Bellagio on the traghetto (or car ferry) from Cadenabbia, Varenna or Menaggio by lining up at the ferry port, waiting to drive onto the ferry and paying a fee of about 9 euros for a car and driver. No matter which direction you come from, it’s best to take it slow on the narrow lakeside roads and watch out for lead foot locals, extra wide buses and clueless fellow tourists more interested in taking in the scenery than focusing on the road.

There is a one-way system in place through the village of Bellagio, leading into town on Via Valassina closer to the Lecco branch of the lake and leading out of town on Lungo Lario Marconi and Via P. Carcano alongside the Villa Melzi Gardens and the Como branch of the lake. This means you cannot just double back if you overshoot a parking spot (or a gelateria!); instead you will have to drive all the way around to get back into town. From 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. from April to October (and on holidays in March and November), the streets between the car ferry station and La Punta Spartivento park at the tip of Bellagio’s promontory – Lungo Lario Manzoni, Piazza Manzini, Via Roma and Via Garibaldi – are covered by the limited access zone known as Zona a Traffico Limitato (ZTL) and are not accessible for non-residents (but with all of the pedestrians walking through town even the residents will find these roads difficult to navigate!). A monitoring system with video cameras has been set up at the entrance to the limited access zone that will register trespassers and levy a hefty fine, so any guests staying at one of the hotels or villas in this area will have to make sure the landlords and hotel staff register their car with the local authorities within 48 hours to avoid the fine. Keep an eye out for the signs at the start of the ZTL area that will indicate if limited access rules are in place (ZTL Attiva).

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Parking in Bellagio

Like many other small towns in Italy and throughout the world, Bellagio has only a limited number of parking spaces available for visitors – particularly during the high season from April to November, when the number of spaces in the immediate vicinity of the town center is only around 350, with a few additional spaces available downtown after 6:30 p.m. or before 10 a.m. when the limited access rules are not in place. All parking spaces in Bellagio have either blue, white or yellow marking to indicate whether it is paid parking, free parking or residents only parking. Do not park in the yellow lined spaces, which are either a loading zone (carico e scarico) or reserved for residents (it’s written in English – so you know they mean it!). White lines indicate free parking, but make sure you remain completely within the white lines to avoid getting a parking ticket. Blue lines indicate paid parking and a pay & display system is in place. Locate the nearest pay station to your parking space, follow the instructions on the screen, pay by coin or credit card for the hours you want to leave the car and place the ticket printed out by the machine on the dashboard of your car – and make sure it is clearly visible. The fee per hour is EUR 1.50 and visitors have to pay for parking from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Shopping, Free and Paid Parking in Bellagio, Italy

Parcheggio Bellagio Via Valassina 2

Continuing down Via Valassina for another 500 yards, you will find another paid parking lot on the left, which has recently added some new spaces at the back which are both free and paid. Tickets can be purchased by the hour at the pay station by the entrance. From here, it’s about 10-15 minutes on foot into the center of Bellagio

Parcheggio Bellagio Terminal Bus

Continuing on Via Valassina, you will pass the local cemetery on your left. Just past the left turning for the quaint fishing village of Pescallo, there is a small parking lot with 12 spaces at the terminus for the local bus line. From here, it would be about 15 minutes into Bellagio’s center, or about 10 minutes to the center of Pescallo with its stand-up paddleboarding center, quaint harbor and cute restaurant La Pergola.

Parcheggio Lungo Strada Vitali

To return to town from the bus terminal, continue on Via Valassina until you reach Viale Domenico Vitali. Turn right on this road and follow it until it curves to the right and becomes a one-way road. Between the stone walls on either side of Viale Domenico Vitali, there is (just enough) room for cars to drive down the center of this road, pedestrians to walk on the path on the left and about 45 free parking spaces to line the road on the right. From here, the journey into town takes about 15 minutes on foot.

Parcheggio Bellagio Piazzale Europa

Continue on Viale Domenico Vitali until you hit the T junction at Via Paolo Carcano at the wall of the Villa Melzi Gardens. Heading to the right on Bellagio’s one-way traffic system, you will pass the Lido di Bellagio on your left, a real Bellagio institution that is a beach club by day and a swank disco by night. Just past the Lido, when the road turns into Via Lungo Lago at the water’s edge you will find the Piazzale Europa parking lot on your right. This is a paid parking lot with about 45 spaces and you will find the pay station by the bus stop across from the little yellow house with the public toilets. There are additional parking spaces along Via Lungo Lago, which continues into town and the first parking lot mentioned above, Parcheggio Bellagio Lungo Lario Manzoni. For the spaces on the side of the road, visitors will have to walk back to the pay station at Piazzale Europa or to the other pay station towards town just opposite the entrance to the ferry station.

Parcheggio Bellagio Lungo Lario Manzoni

The most central paid parking lot for the historic center of Bellagio is just outside the car ferry station on Lungo Lario Manzoni. There is space for 40 cars both in the center of the square as well as directly on the water’s edge. The pay station for this lot is located in the main square directly next to the outdoor seating for Ristorante Pizzeria Carillon. From here, you can follow Lungo Lario Manzoni into the center, from which the cobbled stairways known as Salita lined with boutiques and restaurants lead off to the right.

Parcheggio Parco Martiri della Libertà

If there is no parking at the central lot by the ferry, you can follow the one-way system out of town, winding your way up the street called Parco Martiri della Libertà. There are free parking spaces lining this windy road, indicated by the white lines, if you are lucky enough to find one! However, if you pass by a free space in the paid parking lot to try your luck for a free spot here, be warned that you will have to drive all the way back around to get back to that lot – a bit like a lottery!

Parcheggio Bellagio Via Valassina

Once you get to the top of that windy road, you turn right on Via Valassina. Just a few yards after the turn, there is a parking lot with 20 parking spaces on the right. Parking is free in this lot and you are just a few minutes from Via Garibaldi, the “upper” street of Bellagio’s center, with the famous Salita staircases leading down to the water’s edge on the left.

Parking inside the Zona a Traffico Limitato (ZTL)

During the shoulder season and after 6:30 p.m. or before 10 a.m., cars are permitted to drive in the center of town. As on the outskirts, a one-way system is in place for these narrow streets, and caution is advised whenever you drive here, as the doors to many shops and houses open right onto the street and pedestrians tend not to be as vigilant as drivers. From the main parking lot opposite the car ferry station, follow the Parco Martiri della Libertà as it winds its way up the hill to the T junction at the top where there is a sign indicating whether or not the limited access system is active (ZTL Attiva). From here, instead of turning right out of town on Via Valassina, turn left onto Via Garibaldi. Continue on this very narrow road lined with boutiques and delicatessens until you come to Piazza della Chiesa. Here, below the bell tower of the 12th-century Basilica di San Giacomo, there is a paid parking lot with about 20 spaces. The pay station is at the back of the lot where the terraced slope leads upwards.

At the end of Via Garibaldi, Via Eugenio Vitali continues straight on to the Punta Sparivento park and the lovely restaurant La Punta at the tip of Bellagio’s promontory. There are about 7 free parking spaces at outside the restaurant. Or, you can turn left onto Via Roma at the end of Via Garibaldi, which leads back down to the lake past the stately Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. There is free parking on the left side of Via Roma as it heads downhill, indicated by the white lines, but bear in mind if you park here during ZTL hours, you will be fined. When Via Roma returns to the water’s edge, there are boutiques and restaurants on the left-hand side under the curved colonnades and there are about 25 paid parking spaces on the right-hand side by the water. The pay station is between two yellow colonnades directly opposite the passenger ferry station and next to the charming Bar Pasticceria Rossi (where you might want to stop in for a caffé or an Aperol Spritz!).

For a detailed explanation of parking in Bellagio and links to the map of the various parking lots, see the Bellagio section of the website “Accessibilità Centri Storici”, although the explanations are in Italian. The non-profit organization Promo Bellagio has some helpful maps of the parking lots in Bellagio and the restricted ZTL zone as well. Of course, the Palazzo staff is always on hand to provide advice and support for any of your car-related travel needs or to liaise with our partners at IC Bellagio to have someone else do the driving – all you have to do is ask!

Shopping, Free and Paid Parking in Bellagio, Italy

Parking inside the Zona a Traffico Limitato (ZTL)

During the shoulder season and after 6:30 p.m. or before 10 a.m., cars are permitted to drive in the center of town. As on the outskirts, a one-way system is in place for these narrow streets, and caution is advised whenever you drive here, as the doors to many shops and houses open right onto the street and pedestrians tend not to be as vigilant as drivers. From the main parking lot opposite the car ferry station, follow the Parco Martiri della Libertà as it winds its way up the hill to the T junction at the top where there is a sign indicating whether or not the limited access system is active (ZTL Attiva). From here, instead of turning right out of town on Via Valassina, turn left onto Via Garibaldi. Continue on this very narrow road lined with boutiques and delicatessens until you come to Piazza della Chiesa. Here, below the bell tower of the 12th-century Basilica di San Giacomo, there is a paid parking lot with about 20 spaces. The pay station is at the back of the lot where the terraced slope leads upwards.

At the end of Via Garibaldi, Via Eugenio Vitali continues straight on to the Punta Sparivento park and the lovely restaurant La Punta at the tip of Bellagio’s promontory. There are about 7 free parking spaces at outside the restaurant. Or, you can turn left onto Via Roma at the end of Via Garibaldi, which leads back down to the lake past the stately Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. There is free parking on the left side of Via Roma as it heads downhill, indicated by the white lines, but bear in mind if you park here during ZTL hours, you will be fined. When Via Roma returns to the water’s edge, there are boutiques and restaurants on the left-hand side under the curved colonnades and there are about 25 paid parking spaces on the right-hand side by the water. The pay station is between two yellow colonnades directly opposite the passenger ferry station and next to the charming Bar Pasticceria Rossi (where you might want to stop in for a caffé or an Aperol Spritz!).

For a detailed explanation of parking in Bellagio and links to the map of the various parking lots, see the Bellagio section of the website “Accessibilità Centri Storici”, although the explanations are in Italian. The non-profit organization Promo Bellagio has some helpful maps of the parking lots in Bellagio and the restricted ZTL zone as well. Of course, the Palazzo staff is always on hand to provide advice and support for any of your car-related travel needs or to liaise with our partners at IC Bellagio to have someone else do the driving – all you have to do is ask!