The lake is well known for the attractive villas which have been built there since Roman times, when Pliny the Younger built the Comedia and the Tragedia resorts. Many villas on the lake shores have admirable gardens which benefit from the mild climate induced by the stabilising presence of 22.5 km³ of lake water and are fit to host tropical plants.
As a tourist destination, Lake Como is popular for its landscapes, wildlife and spas. It is a venue for sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. In 1818 Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote to Thomas Love Peacock: This lake exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty, with the exception of the arbutus islands of Killarney. It is long and narrow, and has the appearance of a mighty river winding among the mountains and the forests.