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AUSTRALIAN WOMENS TRAVEL

             Small Group Tours: Travel for Women

Spotlight Lake Como

LAKE COMO

To me Lake Como in Northern Italy is like a piece of heaven and I return there as many times as possible, which is why it features so many times in many of my tours to Italy!

 

It has been appreciated for its beauty and uniqueness for ages, and even as early as Roman Times.

Throughout history, artists, writers and actors have come to the lake for inspiration, and much great work has been completed there. Since the 19th century it has attracted numerous famous visitors from Shelley to Longfellow, Stendhal, Liszt and Mark Twain, who wrote  “ From my window here in Bellagio, I have a view of the other side of the lake, which is as beautiful as a picture. A scarred and wrinkled precipice rises to the height of 1800 ft, on a tiny bench half way up its vast wall, sits a little snowflake of a church, no bigger than a martin-box” .

 I often stare  at the little church in question, wondering why it was built there and how they built it Last time I was there in June, I asked a local  “How do you get up there? “ By feets” she replied and then left me slightly rolling her eyes at my seemingly silly question , so I didn’t ask any more.. next time

 

After World War II, Mussolini and his mistress were both shot in a nearby town, while trying to escape to Switzerland.

 

Ofcourse the attraction of the area for the rich and famous has continued on in recent years with George Clooney, Madonna, Donatella Versace and Sir Richard Branson all owning or having  owned villas on the lakeside. The beauty of this picturesque setting which continues to draw in the celebrities is owed to the unspoilt little villages that hug the shore, the beautiful villas in their lush, green gardens, the mountainous hinterland (snow-capped even in late spring) and the relaxed, courteous locals who welcome visitors with a smile.

 

It’s just as appealing for us non– celebrities as well!  The sheer beauty of the place, with stunning views of the surrounding majestic mountains, with their deep valleys sheering though them. The clear lake water is mesmerising and there is a peaceful ambience that descends upon the place and emanates though you. The air is clearer, the pace is slower.

 

My two favourite places to visit on Lake Como are Bellagio and Varenna .

I like to visit Bellagio, few places are as romantic as Lake Como, and even fewer resorts as beautiful as Bellagio. Called the “Pearl of the Lake”, Bellagio's world class hotels and restaurants provide the perfect place to soak up the lake's famous panorama. The village is characterised by century-old buildings, stone lanes and picturesque cobbled stairways filled with shops showcasing the finest Italian wares.

 

However, I always choose to stay in Varenna, which is known as the “Diamond of the Lake”. Varenna's picturesque lanes and old fishermen's houses are unpretentiously appealing, its pretty waterfront and tiny stone beach are just stunning and it’s a wonderful place to explore tiny alleyways and sit, relax and take in the stunning vista, it has somehow a more authentic air than other places in the region.

 The wonderful gardens of Villa Monastero set on the banks of the Lake are a joy to wander and explore and I can’t wait to return here again in September.


MARY HAMILTON-SMITH : AUSTRALIAN WOMENS TRAVEL


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