Be prepared. As we walked through the beautifully cobbled streets of the old walled section of the city we were of course loving the ambience created by the old world structures of the streets. Lined with shops and cafes the streets were alive with people going about there business and school children flirting with each other. But it was also impossible to ignore a more disappointing view. The walls, store fronts, security shutters and ...everything had been defaced with graffiti. It was impossible for us to rectify. We thought we graffiti-immune from the U.S. but this seemed a shame. Finally, we just had to look past it and move on.
Be warned: Como is in Italy, but it is close enough to the Swiss border that they DO enforce their laws, unlike in many other parts of the peninsular. This includes parking; sadly it is more expensive to park (or do anything) now with the Euro, but it's worthwhile parking in a proper, designated car park. Watch out for the spaces watched over by men who give you a little ticket: in Como you'll probably be ok, but they have been known to overcharge tourists!
A relatively new underground car park (called Centro Lago) has been built near the lake, the entrance is between Via Recchi and Via Sant'elia. It's convenient for the town centre, and in the summer provides vital shade from the sun.
I’ve seen three of the most highrisk-games involving Como, and I’ve never had any trouble. But you should be a bit careful if you attend a game between Como and one of their friends. Not staying in the stadium-area too long after the game and so on.
Flooding is a problem in Como, because the lake has no outlet (the only river draining the lake is at Lecco on the other fork).
The greatest risk is either in spring when the ice on the Alps melts, or in autumn when it rains a lot (basically the whole area of Valtellina drains into Lake Como, as it did when this photo was taken in spring 2003). The railings shown in the picture belong to a walkway which can usually be strolled along to admire the town.
Most of the town escapes serious damage, but because the harbour was reclaimed from the lake, the ground level is low, and on rare occasions water has washed all the way through Piazza Cavour up to the Duomo itself, and it does a lot of damage to the touristy lakefront area.
Certainly the hotels and restaurants in touristy Piazza Cavour have been submerged many times; several have raised entrances for protection, and when the water came they all blocked up the doorways with bricks and cement (which didn't stop the water coming up through the basement).
Another major inconvenience is that Como has a one-way road system around the centre, and when the lakefront floods it paralyses the public transport system.
Still, it was most entertaining watching the Italians totter around the duckboards in their high-heeled shoes for the evening passeggiata!!
Como is a very nice and quiet city.
No real dangers are present.
Only one remark: pay attention if you walk alone near the 'San Giovanni' train station by night.