An Italian Visit: Lake Como


5 Days Is Not Enough Time In Bellagio

The doorway into our excellent AirBnB!

Bellagio is such a wonderful blend of old and new. The entry to our AirBnB was through a very old door with a metal latch that looked like it may have been there for a hundred years. Through the door were steps worn by uncountable footsteps but at the top of those steps were modern entryways, digital communication screens and behind the doors, updated living spaces with amazing views across the lake. We dropped our bags and quickly headed out for a walk along the shoreline and some food. We wound up on a lakeside patio having fantastic pizza and pasta with a great local beer. Our entertainment was watching the ferries go back and forth across the lake as the sun settled behind the mountains into Switzerland.

One of the many beautiful walkways in Bellagio.

The village is laid out with the main street along the shoreline and narrow winding walkways leading to another street higher up the hillside parallel to the shore. These walkways take you to shops, small restaurants, hidden patios, and residences. Very few vehicles were present and those that were had to work their way through the throngs of sightseers and shoppers. Scooters and bicycles were much more common and the sound of the tiny engines on the scooters could be heard frequently as deliveries were made. The shops were fairly high end with local Italian products of exceptional quality. There were almost too many choices of gifts for our friends back home but not in the touristy style of a major transit center. True handmade crafts obviously created with pride in the work were to be found everywhere. The dollars we spent were well worth it!

A short walk down the coastline is the wonderful Villa Melzi with amazing gardens, statuary and even a chapel. The grounds were well maintained although the building itself looked rather time-worn. As well it should since it was built in the early 1800s for one of Napolean’s appointed political allies and a driver for the unification of Italy, Francesco Melzi d’Eril. There is an amazing history behind this VIlla and a tour reveals a long list of emissaries and world leaders who have visited and stayed awhile.

A view of the rear of the Villa Melzi from one of the paths above the residence.

On our next to last day in Bellagio we took a private boat tour along the western leg of the lake all the way to Como and back. The boat captain was very knowledgeable of the area and pointed out numerous notable locations both for their historical significance as well as their modern day importance to the region or the country.

For lunch, we stopped at a little village, not much more than a wide spot on the road with perhaps 2 restaurants. We sat under a couple of tents out near the water’s edge and had fresh fish caught from the lake along with some amazing pasta appetizers. There was never, ever a lack of good food no matter where we went in Italy. Moored just offshore was this small sailboat and as an afternoon mist settled over the area I felt I had to capture this moment. It was so calm and peaceful with only ourselves and another couple seated enjoying meals. We discussed how much we had enjoyed the day so far and how relaxed we felt in Bellagio and the surrounding area. The shoreline of the lake was spotted with small villages, each with its own church and on the hour all the bells would ring. From the balcony on our room, it sounded like a symphony echoing across the water.

As we wound down the last day in this beautiful little village we went inside the Chiesa San Giacomo. The church has been around almost 1,000 years and is beautifully preserved. It’s sometimes hard to grasp that a building in a tiny village in Europe was sheltering and protecting residents over 300 years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue and almost 700 years before our country’s constitution was drafted and signed. Put another way, if you took the entire time this country has been in place with a constitutional government and you went that many years BACK in time before Columbus landed on our shores…the church in a tiny village in northern Italy was already there. On occasion, during this trip, I just thought to myself how young we are as a country and society….infants.

It was difficult leaving Bellagio. When we left Venice I was excited to see what was ahead even though I felt unfulfilled desires to see more of Venice and of course, hundreds of images left untaken but still the urge to move on was powerful. With Bellagio, I felt we could have stayed another week and I might have wanted another. It’s a much smaller place if you consider Bellagio itself but the region offered quick trips into Switzerland and the mountains to the north of the Lake as well as the eastern leg remained unexplored. But it wasn’t the exploration that made me want to stay, it was the peace. Nonetheless, our time was up and off we went to Milan to catch our train to Vernazza in Cinque Terre. If you enjoyed these images, you can see more of our time at Lake Como by clicking here or on the image below. Thanks for following along on this Italian Visit!

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