Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DESTINATION: LAKE COMO

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.



Gelato
Enough said!  


It was fun to revisit my trip with you all today!

24 comments:

Design is... All in the Detail said...

WOW - Thanks for sharing... a mini vacation in the middle of the week is appreciated! Beautiful photos (and I am sure that they don't do the place justice)Have a wonderful Wednesday

quintessence said...

I ADORE Como and remember enviously reading about your trip last year. I have been several times and have always stayed at the beautiful Serbelloni but would love to rent a villa as your family did!!

Sam [The Peak of Tres Chic] said...

Oh my, sensory overload for sure! It looks absolutely divine!

I Dream Of said...

Thanks for taking us back to Lake Como with you. What a gorgeous place! I'm going to file this away for some day when we visit in person. Looks like heaven.

Punctuation Mark said...

that place is gorgeous... i still remember when i was there a few years ago... it is just like you see it in the pictures... you have me daydreaming of going back there again!!!

jeanette from everton terrace said...

Ahhh, I remember your posts from your trip, so enchanting. I think I'd go for the gelato alone :)

The enchanted home said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The enchanted home said...

Stop it!! This is horrible...I am sooooooo tempted to throw caution to the wind, throw my errand list to the wayside, make arrangments for my family for dinner and jump on the next plane!! This post has me so wanting to go there, make that NEED to go there! Thanks for giving me a great new inspiration for my summer vacation desintation! I can't wait to share it with hubby tonight and I know just who to consult if we go!
Thanks Barbara.....

p-l-a-i-d said...

What an absolutely stunning trip! You are so lucky, this is on my list to visit!

Casa Trรจs Chic said...

Oh, lthanks for sharing such fabulous tips.
This year I'm going to Italy with my daughter and I must show her this post.
Hugs
Tereza

Belle on Heels said...

Gorgeous!! I love Italy, but have never been to Lake Como. My husband's family is from Northern Italy, and he's never been to Italy at all. This would be SUCH a perfect trip for us!!

classic • casual • home said...

that was so much fun! We toured the lake district a few years ago with another family and it was one of our best vacations, yet!

Splendid Sass said...

Now I will drive up the street and get a gelato, lol! Such a beautiful place, Barbara, and the photographs are gorgeous!
Thank you for sharing, and have a nice Wednesday.
Teresa
xoxo

Vanessa@Luxuria said...

Bellagio, one of my fav places in Italy. Your images brought it all back with a passion ;-)

Annie H. said...

What a dream. Have been to Italy twice but never made it to this region. My husband promised me by my 50th birthday, he has a few years to make good. Looks so pretty!

Ispirato Design said...

I'm speechless... What a beautiful world we live in! Hope to visit one day soon!

michele said...

i have a lot of catching up to do on your beautiful blog, and this is an incredible start since it may be where my husband and i are headed for our 25th anniversary!

thanks for the wealth of info and inspiration...AND the reminder i could run into George Clooney. mama!

michele

Ivy Clad said...

So beautiful and dreamy! I'll have to put this on my "places to go" list.

Thank you for your kind comment over at my blog! I hope you'll return often.

Have a great rest of your week!
Keri

Fashion-isha said...

Ah this is definitely a dream destination on my bucket list! Thanks!
xo
Sharon

Cynthia said...

Lucky you. Beautiful pictures.

Leslie said...

Beautiful and sensory overload indeed! I want to be there! Our weather is so gloomy and that water looks amazing. Enjoy your day!

leslie

Donna said...

Gorgeous!!! I would love to go to Lake Como!!!

www.donnaviningblog.com

Twist of Lime said...

Great place! When I went about 12 years ago we loved boating on the lake. We did notice all of the restaurants close right after lunch and don't open back up until late evening for dinner. Not sure if it is still that way, but plan accordingly.

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