The azure blue sky greeted me as I pushed open the shutters in our apartment in Milan.
After the epic thunderstorm and pelting rain on Friday evening, it was the best greeting I’ve had in a while. The plan today (Saturday) was to catch the train from Milano Centrale to Varenna, one of the beautiful towns that lies beside Lake Como or in Italian Lago di Como.
But first of all, my sidekick and altogether good guy, Craig, was craving some bacon and eggs. We duly found this bacon (known in Italy as Pancetta) at our local supermercato and rushed home to cook it. Let’s just say the bacon was not like anything we’d ever had in NZ.
But sustained for our morning’s plans, we headed for the train station.
Lake Como is regarded as one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe and is the third largest lake in Italy. The lake is shaped like a ‘Y’ and Varenna sits at the intersection of the three areas of the lake. Villa Monastero – is a monastery that sits alongside the Lake in Varenna. It is known amongst locals and international tourists alike for its’ eclectic style and beautiful lakeside gardens.Strangely enough you can also hold trade conferences there.
The train journey went surprisingly quickly, and we were treated to our first view of Lake Como, halfway into our journey. One cannot help but be astonished at the stunning scenery – rolling lush green hills tower over the orange and yellow villas which perch along the sapphire blue lake.
It was so nice to be out of Milan. As much as I enjoy big cities with their hustle and bustle and plethora of museums, nothing shows me more about a country than getting out into the smaller towns. We stepped off the train in Varenna and followed the large groups of young famillies, older couples and tourists to the waterfront. To our right were the Swiss Alps, still with a dusting of snow on their peaks and to our left was a glimpse at the little village of Varenna; with it’s steep stone steps leading up narrow passageways to the town centre above.
As we walked along the waterfront, across cobbled walkways and under the arches of restaurants and buildings, I marvelled at the sheer magnificence of the Lake. It’s no wonder that generations of Italians have made this their holiday destination or even better home. Craig and I wandered up to the monastery and it’s accompanying garden.
The Monastery itself is truly ecclectic, the rooms all face out towards the lake front, and are decorated in differing levels of luxury. Some have gold hilted chairs, with rich red velvet seats (the Red Room), whilst others have a set in floor Pompeian bath, decorated with blue and yellow tiles. You could imagine living there, waking up to that view every morning despite its’ “intersting” decorations.
After the Monastery, we ambled back along the waterfront to a cafe overlooking the lake. Pizza was on the menu for lunch, and sitting there eating lentamente (Slowly) savouring each bite was a pleasure. The bar was excellent and prices incredibly reasonable given the view. I balked a little when I saw the size of the pizza – huge; but we still had room for gelato, served in a flourescent green cup with a cone waffle on the side.
My Italian must be improving somewhat as I spent most of yesterday only speaking in it to ask for things, and to my delight and surprise I was understood. I even managed to impress some Canadian toursists with my feeble attempts.
Then it was back to Milan and the suburban sprawl. Tomorrow we head for Florence.
Ginga’s musings complete.
- Magnifico Milano: Apertivo, Acciughe and Arte (gingamusings.com)
- Lake Como, Italia (mybucketlisttraveling.wordpress.com)
- Photo Of The Day: Contemplating Lake Como In Italy (gadling.com)
- Lake Como and Milano (andiamogiulio.wordpress.com)