One of Tina's readers from yesterday's post saw that I had visited Lake Como this past summer and asked me for suggestions for her upcoming trip there. First, what a lucky girl! My advice, be prepared for sensory overload: magnificent vistas, extraordinary architecture, delicious food and of course, the chance to run into George Clooney. Lake Como is truly a fairytale destination with much to see and do-you won't want to miss:
The Gardens of Villa d'Este
A regal 16th-century lakefront estate on 25 acres of parkland in Cernobbio, Villa d'Este is the most prestigious of the lake's hotels. Take an afternoon stroll through the Villa's extensive gardens, a spectacular blend of Baroque and Romantic styles. Follow the water staircase which runs from the Hercules fountain down through the garden and admire the 500 year old plane tree and 16th century mosaic with its Nympheum. Finish your afternoon with a cafe or cocktail on the lakeside terrace.
A boat ride around the lake
The ferry system on the lake is surprising efficient and a great way to visit the pretty towns that dot the lake, but for a truly spectacular tour, rent a water taxi for a few hours. We rented a boat in Bellagio, a sleek teak craft with a pleasant captain who lead us up and down the lake for the afternoon-very la Dolce Vita!
A trip to Villa Balbianello
On your boat ride, don't forget to visit the magical Villa Balbianello which sits on its own little promontory, Il Dosso d'Avedo, and is best reached by launch from Como or Bellagio. The stunning villa is composed of loggias, stone terraces, and palazzini (tiny palaces), all spilling down verdant slopes to the lakeshore. Take a stroll through the gardens and follow the magnificent stone staircase down to an old Franciscan church and a statue of San Carlo Borromeo blessing the waters.
Dinner at Il Gatto Nero (the Black Cat)
Perched on the hills above Cernobbio, this local jewel is a must for anyone visiting the lake Como area. A spectacular view of the lake can be enjoyed from both the balcony and the cosy interior which provides the perfect setting for local favorites like pappardelle al ragu (homemade pasta with game sauce) and sauteed lake fish. Make sure you have a designated driver--the road running up to Il Gatto is steep and winding but so worth the trip.
An afternoon in Bellagio
Sometimes called the jewel of Lake Como, Bellagio is an enchanting town with chic shops nestled amongst stone staircases with windows ablaze with hot pink geraniums and bougainvillea. Once you've finished shopping--Como is know for their fabulous silk scarves and ties, make your way over to the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, an opulent 19th century villa hotel on a private Bellagio shoreline. Stop for a cocktail at the magnificent pool or terrace and enjoy the view.
It was fun to revisit my trip with you all today!