Lake Como | Lake Como, Italy

Posted by on March 27, 2003

A few days on the shores of Lake Como last summer were but a hint of the delight this place can bring. Mention of any of the Italian Lakes conjures up all sorts of romantic thoughts to most of us, whether from literature, travel photos, or our imagination. There are pros and cons to these little treasure troves in the north of Italy, however. Some people avoid them, due to crowds and rainy, foggy weather.

Luckily we had neither crowds nor real rain while we were at Lake Como. It did rain on the way, as we drove over the Alps from sunny Switzerland, but by the time we got to Lugano, the sun was peeping through. We drove way up over the Alps, taking the Nufenen Pass over a number of desolate switchbacks, up to the rocky snow line, where we met fog and rain. At the end of the Nufenen Pass, where it meets the highly trafficked autostrada at the St. Gotthard pass, we came upon an unusual and sad sight: Italian prostitutes dressed skimpily, standing in the cold rain, waiting for the long distance truck drivers coming from Switzerland.

Crowded and confusing Lugano did not impress me, with its big buildings and one-way streets, and we got lost twice. Friends tell me it’s a great town, so I might give it another shot. By the time we got across the border to Italy and saw the lake from high up in Menaggio, the sun was high and bright. From then on, this was a fairy tale weekend.

We found the unknown town of Lenno and the Hotel San Giorgio with no trouble at all. This is the kind of place for which travelers travel. It is just about perfect, by which I mean unchanged in 100 years, except for new bathrooms. A Merchant/Ivory movie must have been made here. As we wandered the lawns and gardens looking out on the lake, and later, as I stood on our balcony admiring the town of Bellagio off in the distance, tucked in below the mountains across the lake, I felt like Vanessa Redgrave. The travails of the day’s drive passed into oblivion.

We walked down the path to the ferry dock (nearby, but out of sight,) to look for our friends. We found them, at the beer garden next to the water. After a refreshing beer, we booked a table for dinner next door at a restaurant called Plinia. It was named for Pliny, the Elder and Pliny, the Younger. They were first century Roman authors, and the first celebrities to live at this part of Lake Como. This Tremezzina area of the lake was also the homeland of Catullus and Virgil, Donizetti and Monteverdi, of the Amatis, Guarneris and Stradivaris. Later Wordsworth, myfavorite poet, wrote of this place, as did Shelley andKeats. Stendhal wrote part of The Charterhouse of Parma here. Imagine the legacy of inspirational writers throughout history who lived in and loved the beauty of this place.

For centuries royalty and near-royalty have been coming here. They have now been joined by royal wannabees, who, luckily, are drawn to fancier, more expensive places likethe Villa d’Este at Cernobbio at the bottom of the lake.

Our room had a balcony overlooking the lake, and the garden full of palm trees and idly positioned pairs of chairs. Onthe lake were many sailboats, and across on the other side successively paler and paler ridges of mountains.

Our dinner of wine, salad, and pasta were more delicious than usual, taken al fresco near the boats bouncing in the water, and jocular Italian families dining at nearby tables.

On Saturday morning, we breakfasted on the long porch of the hotel on fresh fruit, and banana yogurt, then a marmalade croissant and wonderful caffe latte.

The best way to travel while staying on the lake must be the ferryboats. We set off for Villa Carlotta, in nearby Tremezzo, to see the famous gardens. After a couple of worthwhile hours, we caught another boat across the lake to Bellagio for lunch and a short stroll during a shower around the gifts shops of the town. In one I found a gorgeous huge silk shawl that Jim very nicely said I should

have. We navigated back in the rain to spend a quiet afternoon reading and resting and watching the lake.

By the time we left for our dinner at Al Veluu (a suggestion from the staff at our hotel) the clearing was almost complete.

Our dinner at Al Veluu was preceded by aperativos of white Italian wine on the balcony as the weather cleared. The restaurant commanded a marvelous position overlooking Tremezzo and Lenno down the lake. We started with an arugula salad followed by their pasta specialty, (which tasted a bit like an arrabiata over penne), then grilled lavarello, (a lake fish beloved by the local people). Our dessert was tiramisu, an excellent version of one of MY favorites.

Sunday blinding sun, and a crystal clear day awakened us. Of course we had breakfast on the lawn. Picture a cadre of seasoned male waiters scurrying to carry and reset each breakfast table out on the lawn so that every guest could enjoy the enveloping morning sun. We had to oblige them.

Tearing ourselves away, we walked down to the dock, and negotiated the hiring of a boat to take us out to the point of a nearby peninsula to the Villa del Balbianello. It is a glorious place that was the home of one Guido Manzoni, who was a world traveler. Elegant landscaping, and bright green lawns rolled down to the rocks above the water. Huge stone pots held bright pelargoniums, and specimen trees dotted the gardens, which were guarded by mythological stone figures enjoying the view. It was difficult to tear ourselves away, but we had to drive all the way to Geneva by evening.

Our trip back was through Aosta and the Great St. Bernard Pass. As we drove over this spectacular scenery on the PERFECT day, we marveled at the great numbers of people who were out for a Sunday drive. Many of them had stopped at various turnouts and were picnicking on these dizzying heights. Many had stripped to states barely within the confines of gentility in their frenzy to be in the sun. Here was another instance of the European delight in the rare rays of the sun.

The memory of this weekend in early July has remained in all my senses: taste, sight, sound, smell and touch. Was I not fortunate to have such a wonderful memory to keep me warm during this unfortunate winter onslaught?

BETSY SHEQUINE has been on a quite different odyssey for the past seven months than her usual travel venues, and may tell us all about it one of these days.A few days on the shores of Lake Como last summer were but a hint of the delight this place can bring. Mention of any of the Italian Lakes conjures up all sorts of romantic thoughts to most of us, whether from literature, travel photos, or our imagination. There are pros and cons to these little treasure troves in the north of Italy, however. Some people avoid them, due to crowds and rainy, foggy weather.

Luckily we had neither crowds nor real rain while we were at Lake Como. It did rain on the way, as we drove over the Alps from sunny Switzerland, but by the time we got to Lugano, the sun was peeping through. We drove way up over the Alps, taking the Nufenen Pass over a number of desolate switchbacks, up to the rocky snow line, where we met fog and rain. At the end of the Nufenen Pass, where it meets the highly trafficked autostrada at the St. Gotthard pass, we came upon an unusual and sad sight: Italian prostitutes dressed skimpily, standing in the cold rain, waiting for the long distance truck drivers coming from Switzerland.

Crowded and confusing Lugano did not impress me, with its big buildings and one-way streets, and we got lost twice. Friends tell me it’s a great town, so I might give it another shot. By the time we got across the border to Italy and saw the lake from high up in Menaggio, the sun was high and bright. From then on, this was a fairy tale weekend.

We found the unknown town of Lenno and the Hotel San Giorgio with no trouble at all. This is the kind of place for which travelers travel. It is just about perfect, by which I mean unchanged in 100 years, except for new bathrooms. A Merchant/Ivory movie must have been made here. As we wandered the lawns and gardens looking out on the lake, and later, as I stood on our balcony admiring the town of Bellagio off in the distance, tucked in below the mountains across the lake, I felt like Vanessa Redgrave. The travails of the day’s drive passed into oblivion.

We walked down the path to the ferry dock (nearby, but out of sight,) to look for our friends. We found them, at the beer garden next to the water. After a refreshing beer, we booked a table for dinner next door at a restaurant called Plinia. It was named for Pliny, the Elder and Pliny, the Younger. They were first century Roman authors, and the first celebrities to live at this part of Lake Como. This Tremezzina area of the lake was also the homeland of Catullus and Virgil, Donizetti and Monteverdi, of the Amatis, Guarneris and Stradivaris. Later Wordsworth, myfavorite poet, wrote of this place, as did Shelley andKeats. Stendhal wrote part of The Charterhouse of Parma here. Imagine the legacy of inspirational writers throughout history who lived in and loved the beauty of this place.

For centuries royalty and near-royalty have been coming here. They have now been joined by royal wannabees, who, luckily, are drawn to fancier, more expensive places likethe Villa d’Este at Cernobbio at the bottom of the lake.

Our room had a balcony overlooking the lake, and the garden full of palm trees and idly positioned pairs of chairs. Onthe lake were many sailboats, and across on the other side successively paler and paler ridges of mountains.

Our dinner of wine, salad, and pasta were more delicious than usual, taken al fresco near the boats bouncing in the water, and jocular Italian families dining at nearby tables.

On Saturday morning, we breakfasted on the long porch of the hotel on fresh fruit, and banana yogurt, then a marmalade croissant and wonderful caffe latte.

The best way to travel while staying on the lake must be the ferryboats. We set off for Villa Carlotta, in nearby Tremezzo, to see the famous gardens. After a couple of worthwhile hours, we caught another boat across the lake to Bellagio for lunch and a short stroll during a shower around the gifts shops of the town. In one I found a gorgeous huge silk shawl that Jim very nicely said I should

have. We navigated back in the rain to spend a quiet afternoon reading and resting and watching the lake.

By the time we left for our dinner at Al Veluu (a suggestion from the staff at our hotel) the clearing was almost complete.

Our dinner at Al Veluu was preceded by aperativos of white Italian wine on the balcony as the weather cleared. The restaurant commanded a marvelous position overlooking Tremezzo and Lenno down the lake. We started with an arugula salad followed by their pasta specialty, (which tasted a bit like an arrabiata over penne), then grilled lavarello, (a lake fish beloved by the local people). Our dessert was tiramisu, an excellent version of one of MY favorites.

Sunday blinding sun, and a crystal clear day awakened us. Of course we had breakfast on the lawn. Picture a cadre of seasoned male waiters scurrying to carry and reset each breakfast table out on the lawn so that every guest could enjoy the enveloping morning sun. We had to oblige them.

Tearing ourselves away, we walked down to the dock, and negotiated the hiring of a boat to take us out to the point of a nearby peninsula to the Villa del Balbianello. It is a glorious place that was the home of one Guido Manzoni, who was a world traveler. Elegant landscaping, and bright green lawns rolled down to the rocks above the water. Huge stone pots held bright pelargoniums, and specimen trees dotted the gardens, which were guarded by mythological stone figures enjoying the view. It was difficult to tear ourselves away, but we had to drive all the way to Genevaby evening.

Our trip back was through Aosta and the Great St. Bernard Pass. As we drove over this spectacular scenery on the PERFECT day, we marveled at the great numbers of people who were out for a Sunday drive. Many of them had stopped at various turnouts and were picnicking on these dizzying heights. Many had stripped to states barely within the confines of gentility in their frenzy to be in the sun. Here was another instance of the European delight in the rare rays of the sun.

The memory of this weekend in early July has remained in all my senses: taste, sight, sound, smell and touch. Was I not fortunate to have such a wonderful memory to keep me warm during this unfortunate winter onslaught?

BETSY SHEQUINE has been on a quite different odyssey for the past seven months than her usual travel venues, and may tell us all about it one of these days.A few days on the shores of Lake Como last summer were but a hint of the delight this place can bring. Mention of any of the Italian Lakes conjures up all sorts of romantic thoughts to most of us, whether from literature, travel photos, or our imagination. There are pros and cons to these little treasure troves in the north of Italy, however. Some people avoid them, due to crowds and rainy, foggy weather.

Luckily we had neither crowds nor real rain while we were at Lake Como. It did rain on the way, as we drove over the Alps from sunny Switzerland, but by the time we got to Lugano, the sun was peeping through. We drove way up over the Alps, taking the Nufenen Pass over a number of desolate switchbacks, up to the rocky snow line, where we met fog and rain. At the end of the Nufenen Pass, where it meets the highly trafficked autostrada at the St. Gotthard pass, we came upon an unusual and sad sight: Italian prostitutes dressed skimpily, standing in the cold rain, waiting for the long distance truck drivers coming from Switzerland.

Crowded and confusing Lugano did not impress me, with its big buildings and one-way streets, and we got lost twice. Friends tell me it’s a great town, so I might give it another shot. By the time we got across the border to Italy and saw the lake from high up in Menaggio, the sun was high and bright. From then on, this was a fairy tale weekend.

We found the unknown town of Lenno and the Hotel San Giorgio with no trouble at all. This is the kind of place for which travelers travel. It is just about perfect, by which I mean unchanged in 100 years, except for new bathrooms. A Merchant/Ivory movie must have been made here. As we wandered the lawns and gardens looking out on the lake, and later, as I stood on our balcony admiring the town of Bellagio off in the distance, tucked in below the mountains across the lake, I felt like Vanessa Redgrave. The travails of the day’s drive passed into oblivion.

We walked down the path to the ferry dock (nearby, but out of sight,) to look for our friends. We found them, at the beer garden next to the water. After a refreshing beer, we booked a table for dinner next door at a restaurant called Plinia. It was named for Pliny, the Elder and Pliny, the Younger. They were first century Roman authors, and the first celebrities to live at this part of Lake Como. This Tremezzina area of the lake was also the homeland of Catullus and Virgil, Donizetti and Monteverdi, of the Amatis, Guarneris and Stradivaris. Later Wordsworth, myfavorite poet, wrote of this place, as did Shelley andKeats. Stendhal wrote part of The Charterhouse of Parma here. Imagine the legacy of inspirational writers throughout history who lived in and loved the beauty of this place.

For centuries royalty and near-royalty have been coming here. They have now been joined by royal wannabees, who, luckily, are drawn to fancier, more expensive places likethe Villa d’Este at Cernobbio at the bottom of the lake.

Our room had a balcony overlooking the lake, and the garden full of palm trees and idly positioned pairs of chairs. Onthe lake were many sailboats, and across on the other side successively paler and paler ridges of mountains.

Our dinner of wine, salad, and pasta were more delicious than usual, taken al fresco near the boats bouncing in the water, and jocular Italian families dining at nearby tables.

On Saturday morning, we breakfasted on the long porch of the hotel on fresh fruit, and banana yogurt, then a marmalade croissant and wonderful caffe latte.

The best way to travel while staying on the lake must be the ferryboats. We set off for Villa Carlotta, in nearby Tremezzo, to see the famous gardens. After a couple of worthwhile hours, we caught another boat across the lake to Bellagio for lunch and a short stroll during a shower around the gifts shops of the town. In one I found a gorgeous huge silk shawl that Jim very nicely said I should

have. We navigated back in the rain to spend a quiet afternoon reading and resting and watching the lake.

By the time we left for our dinner at Al Veluu (a suggestion from the staff at our hotel) the clearing was almost complete.

Our dinner at Al Veluu was preceded by aperativos of white Italian wine on the balcony as the weather cleared. The restaurant commanded a marvelous position overlooking Tremezzo and Lenno down the lake. We started with an arugula salad followed by their pasta specialty, (which tasted a bit like an arrabiata over penne), then grilled lavarello, (a lake fish beloved by the local people). Our dessert was tiramisu, an excellent version of one of MY favorites.

Sunday blinding sun, and a crystal clear day awakened us. Of course we had breakfast on the lawn. Picture a cadre of seasoned male waiters scurrying to carry and reset each breakfast table out on the lawn so that every guest could enjoy the enveloping morning sun. We had to oblige them.

Tearing ourselves away, we walked down to the dock, and negotiated the hiring of a boat to take us out to the point of a nearby peninsula to the Villa del Balbianello. It is a glorious place that was the home of one Guido Manzoni, who was a world traveler. Elegant landscaping, and bright green lawns rolled down to the rocks above the water. Huge stone pots held bright pelargoniums, and specimen trees dotted the gardens, which were guarded by mythological stone figures enjoying the view. It was difficult to tear ourselves away, but we had to drive all the way to Genevaby evening.

Our trip back was through Aosta and the Great St. Bernard Pass. As we drove over this spectacular scenery on the PERFECT day, we marveled at the great numbers of people who were out for a Sunday drive. Many of them had stopped at various turnouts and were picnicking on these dizzying heights. Many had stripped to states barely within the confines of gentility in their frenzy to be in the sun. Here was another instance of the European delight in the rare rays of the sun.

The memory of this weekend in early July has remained in all my senses: taste, sight, sound, smell and touch. Was I not fortunate to have such a wonderful memory to keep me warm during this unfortunate winter onslaught?

BETSY SHEQUINE has been on a quite different odyssey for the past seven months than her usual travel venues, and may tell us all about it one of these days.A few days on the shores of Lake Como last summer were but a hint of the delight this place can bring. Mention of any of the Italian Lakes conjures up all sorts of romantic thoughts to most of us, whether from literature, travel photos, or our imagination. There are pros and cons to these little treasure troves in the north of Italy, however. Some people avoid them, due to crowds and rainy, foggy weather.

Luckily we had neither crowds nor real rain while we were at Lake Como. It did rain on the way, as we drove over the Alps from sunny Switzerland, but by the time we got to Lugano, the sun was peeping through. We drove way up over the Alps, taking the Nufenen Pass over a number of desolate switchbacks, up to the rocky snow line, where we met fog and rain. At the end of the Nufenen Pass, where it meets the highly trafficked autostrada at the St. Gotthard pass, we came upon an unusual and sad sight: Italian prostitutes dressed skimpily, standing in the cold rain, waiting for the long distance truck drivers coming from Switzerland.

Crowded and confusing Lugano did not impress me, with its big buildings and one-way streets, and we got lost twice. Friends tell me it’s a great town, so I might give it another shot. By the time we got across the border to Italy and saw the lake from high up in Menaggio, the sun was high and bright. From then on, this was a fairy tale weekend.

We found the unknown town of Lenno and the Hotel San Giorgio with no trouble at all. This is the kind of place for which travelers travel. It is just about perfect, by which I mean unchanged in 100 years, except for new bathrooms. A Merchant/Ivory movie must have been made here. As we wandered the lawns and gardens looking out on the lake, and later, as I stood on our balcony admiring the town of Bellagio off in the distance, tucked in below the mountains across the lake, I felt like Vanessa Redgrave. The travails of the day’s drive passed into oblivion.

We walked down the path to the ferry dock (nearby, but out of sight,) to look for our friends. We found them, at the beer garden next to the water. After a refreshing beer, we booked a table for dinner next door at a restaurant called Plinia. It was named for Pliny, the Elder and Pliny, the Younger. They were first century Roman authors, and the first celebrities to live at this part of Lake Como. This Tremezzina area of the lake was also the homeland of Catullus and Virgil, Donizetti and Monteverdi, of the Amatis, Guarneris and Stradivaris. Later Wordsworth, myfavorite poet, wrote of this place, as did Shelley andKeats. Stendhal wrote part of The Charterhouse of Parma here. Imagine the legacy of inspirational writers throughout history who lived in and loved the beauty of this place.

For centuries royalty and near-royalty have been coming here. They have now been joined by royal wannabees, who, luckily, are drawn to fancier, more expensive places likethe Villa d’Este at Cernobbio at the bottom of the lake.

Our room had a balcony overlooking the lake, and the garden full of palm trees and idly positioned pairs of chairs. Onthe lake were many sailboats, and across on the other side successively paler and paler ridges of mountains.

Our dinner of wine, salad, and pasta were more delicious than usual, taken al fresco near the boats bouncing in the water, and jocular Italian families dining at nearby tables.

On Saturday morning, we breakfasted on the long porch of the hotel on fresh fruit, and banana yogurt, then a marmalade croissant and wonderful caffe latte.

The best way to travel while staying on the lake must be the ferryboats. We set off for Villa Carlotta, in nearby Tremezzo, to see the famous gardens. After a couple of worthwhile hours, we caught another boat across the lake to Bellagio for lunch and a short stroll during a shower around the gifts shops of the town. In one I found a gorgeous huge silk shawl that Jim very nicely said I should

have. We navigated back in the rain to spend a quiet afternoon reading and resting and watching the lake.

By the time we left for our dinner at Al Veluu (a suggestion from the staff at our hotel) the clearing was almost complete.

Our dinner at Al Veluu was preceded by aperativos of white Italian wine on the balcony as the weather cleared. The restaurant commanded a marvelous position overlooking Tremezzo and Lenno down the lake. We started with an arugula salad followed by their pasta specialty, (which tasted a bit like an arrabiata over penne), then grilled lavarello, (a lake fish beloved by the local people). Our dessert was tiramisu, an excellent version of one of MY favorites.

Sunday blinding sun, and a crystal clear day awakened us. Of course we had breakfast on the lawn. Picture a cadre of seasoned male waiters scurrying to carry and reset each breakfast table out on the lawn so that every guest could enjoy the enveloping morning sun. We had to oblige them.

Tearing ourselves away, we walked down to the dock, and negotiated the hiring of a boat to take us out to the point of a nearby peninsula to the Villa del Balbianello. It is a glorious place that was the home of one Guido Manzoni, who was a world traveler. Elegant landscaping, and bright green lawns rolled down to the rocks above the water. Huge stone pots held bright pelargoniums, and specimen trees dotted the gardens, which were guarded by mythological stone figures enjoying the view. It was difficult to tear ourselves away, but we had to drive all the way to Genevaby evening.

Our trip back was through Aosta and the Great St. Bernard Pass. As we drove over this spectacular scenery on the PERFECT day, we marveled at the great numbers of people who were out for a Sunday drive. Many of them had stopped at various turnouts and were picnicking on these dizzying heights. Many had stripped to states barely within the confines of gentility in their frenzy to be in the sun. Here was another instance of the European delight in the rare rays of the sun.

The memory of this weekend in early July has remained in all my senses: taste, sight, sound, smell and touch. Was I not fortunate to have such a wonderful memory to keep me warm during this unfortunate winter onslaught?

BETSY SHEQUINE has been on a quite different odyssey for the past seven months than her usual travel venues, and may tell us all about it one of these days.

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