Bellagio (Lake Como), Italy: We met our friends for breakfast on the pretty vine-covered verandah of our hotel, then Shirley led us on a walking tour of Bellagio – brochure in-hand.

The shores around Lake Como are very steep, so the little villages are carved into the hillsides, with narrow cobblestone staircases between all the buildings. There is one street going through town – and it also serves as a walkway, so it can be a bit confusing/hazardous to traverse through town… so the few cars snaking their way down the lane are driving at about one mile per hour through the tourist crowd.

Our first stop was the point just north of town where the lake divides into three fingers. Shirley’s guide book said this point provided some of the best views of the entire lake. We agree!

Panorama

This would make an excellent tow car. It fits in my purse.

Back in town, this 1945 BMW was attracting attention

We then walked completely across town (five minute walk) past several churches and squares and through a pretty city park.

Such clever topiary behind a stone bench

Next on the agenda was a visit to the Gardens of Villa Melzi, a mansion and gardens built in 1810 by the vice president of the Italian Republic under Napoleon, Francesco Melzi d’Eril.

The estate sits on the shore of Lake Como. Shirley and I were thinking we would have asked for a large terrace instead of that funny front porch. The view from the front of the villa:

The estate includes the mansion, acres of manicured grounds with an English garden, Japanese garden, an “orangery” (green house for citrus trees in the winter months), a Moorish-style temple and a chapel where the family is entombed.

We then walked back to town, through yet another beautiful garden, along the lake side.

Bellagio

Martin kept asking about my pedometer and as soon as we had walked four miles, he declared it must be time for lunch. As it was 1:30p, and 10,000 steps were completed, I agreed.

We hiked up more stairs and settled on a roof-top (again, vine covered ceiling)
restaurant for lunch and a pitcher of rose.

Well, you knew this photo was going to appear somewhere on the website today.

But I bet you were not expecting Parmesan risotto with perch from Lake Como.

While we were resting at the hotel after lunch, the weather changed and it rained hard for a while – cooling everything down quite a bit. Much later, we all decided to walk to the other side of the point, to a little fishing village, for dinner. We walked and walked and walked and finally had to ask if we were on the correct course, but we eventually found the pretty little port of Pescallo.

Pescallo was charming, but the one restaurant had no patrons and we couldn’t be sure it was even open, so we kept walking.

We climbed this massive staircase up from the shore… and when we reached the top and turned the corner, we found an identical staircase to scale. We were really getting our exercise in Bellagio. If you are worried about your weight or not getting enough exercise, I suggest you move to Bellagio, Italy. There are few roads, so you will need to walk everywhere and there is not even one inch of level ground. You will be fit in no time!

The view from our table at dinner

We finally found ourselves back at the point – our first stop this morning – and had dinner at the restaurant there. Food was delicious; service was erratic. When we sat down (pretty tired from our two-plus-mile walk to the restaurant), the weather was so nice, and the sun light was shining on Varenna, directly across the lake. During dinner, the wind came up, the sky grew black and it actually was a bit chilly.

We walked back to the hotel in the wind, had a nightcap and called it a night.

Pedometer: 17,701 steps – 7.55 miles… my Fitbit claims I climbed 54 floors today.

Until my next update, I remain, your mountaineering correspondent.

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