Sunday, October 23, 2016

Lake Como

Summer has finally turned to fall here and I'm already feeling nostalgic knowing that next fall I'll already have moved on to my next post (or training) and I won't be here walking the leafy streets and hiding from the rain in a bar with a tiny, tiny espresso and a cornetto (croissant) - cream-filled if possible. 

*sigh*

At least I'm making good progress seeing the sights in Italy and soaking up all the experiences on my bucket list.  I really do owe my readers a substantial, well-written post about my impressions of Italy now that I'm halfway through, but hey - life is busy.  And I still have piles and piles of vacation photos to post.  So, continuing where I left off last week(ish):

Como

My parents and I drove up to Como from Rome during their September visit and we spent a too-short weekend exploring the lake and a few of the lovely towns along the shore.

My top tips:
  • Take the train to Milan - then rent a car from there.  Como is a very long way from Rome and the central Italian plains aren't quite so scenic as you might be picturing.
  • Have brunch at the Villa d'Este hotel. So much amazing.
  • Focus on the small towns - and consider skipping the big ones entirely. I really wasn't much impressed with Como or Bellagio, but the small towns we saw were lovely and relaxing and not too overrun with tourists.
  • Tour a few of the big villas.
  • Go in the summer. It was already kind of chilly in early September.
  • Plan to get out on the water - there seemed to be some fun sailing options on the eastern branch of the lake - and it'll save your wallet from the other main activity in Como - luxury store shopping.

Cernobbio - I loved this little town and recommend a stop - particularly as it's home to the Villa d'Este (see below)

Outside the Villa d'Este - a truly perfect brunch spot - and crazy expensive hotel.

The Villa del Balbianello (do you recognize the strangely shaped tree from the final scene in Casino Royale?).  You could tour this villa, or if you're short on time like we were you can just catch a glimpse on the ferry from Como to Bellagio.

This is the same estate - the loggia up top was used in a scene in Star Wars Episode II.

Sadly I couldn't ever capture the night view which was just astounding from our AirBnB.  You'll just have to imagine mountains and lake filling every inch of the view, and twinkling lights and stars....

It was a great stop on our grand tour de Italy and a welcome change of pace from my busy life back in the 'big city'.

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