Lake Como and Greenway
January 1, 1970
by Natia Turashvili
Lake Como is one of the most beautiful places in Italy. I fell in love with this place, when I came across a photo with an amazing view of Bellagio. I realized at once, that it was the place, which associated for me with calm and beauty, where you can fully enjoy your life. What is more important, it is easy to get there, as it is very close to Milan. Therefore, when my husband and I started planning to go to Italy, we decided to spend 2 days in this peaceful paradise.
While searching the information about Lake Como, I discovered that it is a favorite place of Hollywood stars and one of the most frequently visited lake. Some of them even have their own villas on the near it. We also learned that as this place is very close to Milan and the local hotels and apartments are very expensive, a lot of tourist arrive here for just one day.
We arrived in Milan in the evening, so we did not go directly to Como, because in this case, we had to pay the full cost of apartment for only spending a night. There so we stayed in Milan, where the prices for hotels are much cheaper than in Como. In the morning, after delicious cappuccino and croissant cakes, we went straight to Milan Central Station. It takes an hour to go from Milan to Varenna by train, and the ticket costs only 6.70 euros per person.
Around Lake Como, there are many small towns: Varenna, Bellagio, Menaggio, Tremezzo, Lecco and so on. As the train station was in Varenna, we decided to stop there and visit other cities afterwards. Honestly, Varenna has exceeded expectations it is very small and mysterious. Old houses painted in pastel tones, stone staircases and narrow streets are connected with arches and go down straight to the lake. It looks like a picture from an old film. You feel special here, as if you were a hero of that film. Every day we got great pleasure in climbing sidewalk. The view is really great. Some beautiful houses on the mountains, small shops, where you can see different collections of famous Murano decorations, cafes by the lake with swans and ducks swimming near the shore. However, there are only two shops on the central square, where you can buy some food. So this is the place which you fall in love with and it is the right place for people, who needs to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Villa Monastero and Castello Di Vezio
The apartment that we rented was very close to the lake. Very clean and nice with one bedroom and living room for 125 euros per night. When we saw all around the apartment and left our things, we went for a walk. After we had walked along the entire coastline, we visited the Villa Monastero. It is an old impressive place, with lovely gorgeous garden and perfect views of Lake Como. The gardens are magical in their tranquil beauty, the views of Lake Como are divine, purple wisteria was in full bloom, tall palms and cypresses, tropical plants and a lovely fountain. You feel like being in paradise. It is a good place to take pictures and the cost of the ticket is only 5 euros.
You will have to walk a little bit from the Villa Monastero to see the Castello di Vezio. It is an ancient military castle of early medieval origin built by the Lombard Queen Theodelinda to defend and control the lake and surrounding villages. The views over the lake from the castle are stunning. Really breathtaking scene.
It was the eighth anniversary of our marriage, so we were more than happy. We celebrated our happiness in the lake’s private cafe. This was the cafe from the photos. Then we went for walks, had Italian gelato and tasted the famous Italian drink – Spritz in the Varenna cafe. There if you order any kind of alcohol drinks, you will get free snacks in addition. The taste of this drink was not very exciting to tell the truth, but the view was so amazing and the atmosphere was so wonderful that the drink seemed tasty to me.
The next day we woke up early in the morning, as we couldn’t wait to see other cities. There is a regular ferry service with fixed schedule. If you want to visit one of the towns, you need to buy a one-time ticket or you can buy a daily ticket for unlimited routes around the Lake Como. The price depends on how many cities you are planning to visit. We wanted to see Bellagio and the famous Greenway, and we paid 15 euros for a day ticket.
At first, we visited Bellagio. Bellagio is very similar to Varenna, but it is much bigger and with many luxurious villas there. As in the most of Lake Como’s towns, there are narrow streets here, with paved stairs. In the center of Bellagio, there are a lot of clothing, accessories or jewelry shops. Prices are high here too, but the streets are so beautiful and interesting, that nothing is better than, wandering in these streets and looking at this paradise, even without buying anything.
Greenway del Lago di Como
After Bellagio, we decided to walk on the path of the famous Greenway. The lake Como greenway is for a leisure and pleasant hike through ancient villages, stunning villas and gardens, Romanesque and Baroque churches, by the breathtaking landscape of Lake Como. Its official site is www.greenwaylagodicomo.com where you can see the map and all the detailed information. When you walk along the road, you will find special signs there on where the Greenway tour can take you. . In this way you’ll walk on the narrow streets, sometimes you get on top of the mountain, from where the whole Como is see, sometimes you meet the luxurious villas, sometimes the road takes you to the edge of the lake, and you will not feel bored or tired during all this trip. We had to stop at the Leno because of the rain and we were upset that we could not go to the end of this beautiful Greenway. Near the Leno is the most beautiful Villa Balbanello, where they filmed a few episodes of famous “Star Wars”. As I have seen in the photos, this garden is among the most beautiful villas on Lake Como. Unfortunately, it was day off there and we were unable to visit it, but I recommended not missing this awesome place, if you get to Lecco. Keep in mind that on Monday and Wednesday the villa is closed.
In the evening, we walked to the edge of the lake. It was so sad, that the next day we were to leave the Lake Como. I will always remember the Como and the tiny Varenna, with houses on top of the mountains, with frosty at the evening time, with breakfast near the water and flying birds around us, evening shining lights on water and the narrow cliffs from the old movie scenes.