Lake Como, an hour’s drive north of Milan, has to be one of the most beautiful places I have been to with Y & R. After a rather hectic trip in Milan to cover the Milan Saloni, it was a nice way to wind down here before returning to Singapore.
We rented the Mercedes CLS, because that seemed to be the only car with GPRS, a must-have when you are attempting to drive in a foreign land and furthermore a left-hand drive.
The time we went was nice as it was slightly off peak and quiet and the weather was nice and cool, great for my fur!
Relais Villa Vittoria
Via Regina 62 – 22010 Laglio, Lake Como – Italy, Tel. +39 031 400859; email@example.com
We stayed at the Relais Villa Vittoria in the Laglio area – which is just a 2 min drive away from George Clooney’s Villa Oleandra! It was a chance discovery as we originally wanted to stay at Relais Regina Teodolinda, which the owner Daniela also owns, but had recently closed it, so she suggested this other property that she owned just few doors down, and we love it!
It has a lovely living room on the ground floor, very intimate with a balcony overlooking the lake. I liked this hotel as it felt more intimate and cosy compared to all the larger commercial hotels further down Lake Como which was also pricier and wasn’t the kind of experience I was looking for.
Y booked the Lake View Suite at 330 Euros which comes with a balcony facing the lake, bedroom and attached living room ensuite.
I highly recommend it, as it’s intimate, quaint, quiet, and the owner Danielle is very helpful, it really felt like we were staying at a very nice luxurious home of someone.
Testing the lovely four poster bed!
SPOT A CELEBRITY
George Clooney’s Villa Oleandra is just No. 20 on the same road as Relais Villa Vittoria. This is the view of his house from the main gate for car access, but it’s best to take a ferry ride to get a better view of his villa grounds. Be warned – there’s plenty of CCTV at his property so please behave!
The pic on the left above, was me trying to peer with my giant eyes from our room balcony down the lake to see if I could spot his house. FAILED!
1. LOCANDA dell’Isola Comacina
Ossuccio – Lago di Como – tel + +39 0344 55083-56755
Simple classic food, same tasting menu served since 1947, it’s probably the only restaurant I have been to that serves the same menu for more than 50 years.
The only way to access it is via a short ferry ride to their island from the mainland.
View of the Isola Comacina island as we approach it in the ferry.
View of the restaurant perched on the hill
The experience of sitting there for lunch with the owner (he always wears this tartan vest) and his staff (see pic of him holding the cheese) slicing, prepping stuff there for you is pretty wonderful and unique.
Remember to check out the huge hall of fame inside the restaurant, all the celebs been there including Brad and George of course!
Best to go here for lunch to enjoy the view and there’s only 1 menu, so may not be so ideal to bring young children as they charge the same price regardless. Don’t forget to check out their wall of fame when you go there. From the likes of Brad Pitt to George Clooney, and Jennifer Aniston – have all dined here.
2. Balognett Pizzeria
Via delle Mele 5a | Frazzione Balogno di Tremezzo, 22019 Tremezzo, Italy
If you like thin crust pizzas, this is a great place, and they have amazing concoctions like pear & Taleggio cheese, a heavenly combination. Do note that they only serve pizzas and dessert only.
3. I Tigli a Lago
Coloniola Via, 44, 22100 Como, Italy, Tel: +39 (0) 31301334
Highly recommended for a modern Italian seafood dinner. This is right in the heart of Como town itself. The restaurant is in one of the quieter streets off the main boardwalk facing the lake. We tried the seafood degustation menu which was really nice.
Here’s some of the yummy dishes that we had as part of the degustation menu.
4. Villa D’Este
Via Regina, 40, 22012 Cernobbio Province of Como, Italy
Villa D’Este is a beautiful luxurious hotel with amazing palatial grounds overlooking the lake. It’s located around 15 mins drive from Como town. We came here for a nice early evening drinks overlooking the lake, before our dinner at I Tigli A Lago, as planned by the always efficient Y. We figured if we can’t stay here, should at least check out the place.
5. Gelato Di Zoe
Piazza Roma, 9, 22010 Argegno CO, Italy
This is a great gelato shop in the Argegno town, it’s a great pit stop to rest and have something sweet, when you are driving up northwards from Como.
1. Take a ferry to Bellagio and Varenna
A pity we only had time to cover Bellagio, here are some pics of the lovely view we took just before sunset.
We had a nice stroll and had pre dinner drinks at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni before heading back to the main island.
Sunset by the Lake Como from Bellagio
2. Villa del Balbianello
– A MUST GO!
View across while walking from the backgarden into Villa Balbianello. It takes around 15 mins to walk up a gentle hilly terrain. Wear comfortable shoes!
This is the famous site where “Casino Royale”, “Star Wars” was filmed. The villa was built in 1787 on the site of a Franciscan monastery for the Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini. It had exchanged a few hands after, and its last resident was the explorer, Guido Monzino, who looked like a man that was into travel and adventure and loved the finest things in life, just looking at his house design and its attention to detail. I definitely won’t mind having his life 🙂
Doesn’t this look like it appeared from some Da Vinci painting or something? So breathtaking!!
The gardens are breathtakingly beautiful, with trees that I have never seen before, and every plant, tree is so beautifully manicured and maintained!
The above pictures shows the interiors of the library and one of the dining areas of the house. There were so many others I wanted to take photos of but the tour guide was very against it, They wanted us to purchase photos from the front desk. So if you want to take photos – a tip is use your phone discreetly (with no sound).
View of the gardens while leaving via the boat back to main island
After you’ve toured the grounds at the front of the house, no fear, you don’t have to walk out the same way you came in. There’s a dock at near the waters where a regular boat shuttle can take passengers back to the mainland.
3. Villa Carlotta
Located in Tremezzo, Villa Carlotta is indeed a unique place of rare beauty spread over 70,000 square metres of grounds, comprising of stunning gardens and a museum. It was originally built from 1690-1743 by the Clerici, a wealthy Milanese family of merchants. Subsequently after going through 2 owners, it was eventually given in 1843 as a wedding present by Princess Marianna of Prussia (the last owner) to her daughter Charlotte, Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen, after whom the villa is named.
Beautifully manicured gardens of Villa Carlotta, view taken from the museum building (top down)
View of the front of Villa Carlotta
Interiors of the Villa filled with artworks
Pretty spectacular and intricate wall and ceiling detailing
Just one of many fruit orchards that flank the open grounds. If I stayed here, I could just pluck these oranges daily and make my favourite OJ!
4. Pigra Cable Car
Located in the area of Argegno, a 10 mins drive from where we stayed, I found out from some research we could take the cable car and get a wonderful view of the entire Lake Como. Since we could afford some time, we decided to take it, although I wonder why when I am kinda scared of heights.
My only tip is only do this if you have time and it’s a clear day.
Backview of Y checking out the surroundings.
Rooster spotted! Think I scared him.
Taking the cable car down was really scary!!
View from the top while in the cable car – I was gripping onto Y and R.
Breathtaking view. Would have been even better if it was clearer.
Some memorable views while driving along the coastline:
And a last tip on Lake Como is be adventurous, you can drive all the way up to Switzerland from there, it’s actually that near. Think about that when you plan your next trip here, we regretted not doing that, but then again R had to rush back to Singapore for work. This will be our game plan next time.
This marks the end of my post on Lake Como visit in April 2013.
Sigh…blogging about Lake Como is making me miss it even more now, especially now with the horrible haze in Singapore. I hope I can return to this beautiful scenic place soon with Y and R. They definitely echo my thoughts too.