Como, Italy: Hop On Hop Off Ferry

Kirk and I decided to take a ferry around the lake.  We wanted the ability to get on and off when we wanted to, so we purchased a one-day hop on hop off ticket.

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Of course, we began in Como and we made stops in the following towns: Tavernola, Cernobbio, Moltrasio, Argegno, Lenno, Tremezzo, Villa Carlotta, Bellagio, Cadenabbia and Lezzeno.  Some of these we stopped at both coming and going. We took over 500 pictures, so trying to narrow down a sampling to share was quite a task.  I also have to say, pictures don’t do this beautiful place justice.

 

Villa Balbianello: Where scenes from Casino Royal and Star Wars: Clone Wars were filmed.

Bellagio: “The Pearl of the Lake”

 

 

 

Como, Italy: Viewing Villas and Gazing in Gardens

This post is really a continuation from “Strolling the Streets”, but while Kirk and I enjoy the beauty of Como, we see things differently.  So, I grabbed the camera for a change!  As we stroll along the waterfront heading towards Villa Olmo, I wanted to try to share what I see. These are what Kirk calls “foo foo shots” as he prefers to take pictures with people in them…hence the 4.5 million pictures of me daily. LOL

Our friend, Leenee, encouraged  us to come in the late spring or early dummer when the gardens were in bloom, but the colors of fall are gorgeous contrasting against the pastel and stone villas. We pass some villas that are behind gates, but fully visable and other that are vailed with vines and hedges. I poke my camera through to get a shot.  Many of the villas have boat garages with gated entries leading in from the lake.  Water levels are down and most are not being used currently. Some beautiful mallards use them as their private pool, while the swans flant their regal splendor on the shores of the lake.

Villa Olmo is the most famous and magnificent among the stately homes you can find in the territory of Como. It is an imposing neoclassical building, designed by the architect Simone Cantoni; the marquis Innocenzo Odescalchi commissioned it, at the end of the Eighteenth century. The house was built on the western shore of Lake Como, to serve as the summer residence of the Marquis. Many famous people spent time at Villa Olmo, including Napoleon, and Giuseppe Garibaldi.

Como, Italy: Strolling the Streets

Our friend, Leenee (Carolina Terzi), is from Como – now a resident of California. For the past 20 years or so, she has told us of beautiful Lake Como. She posts pictures on Facebook and shares her experiences and recommendations. So, Kirk and I decided to take a detour from our time in Spain to come check it out for ourselves. Would the years of build up and anticipation end in a let down? NOT!!! We are both glad we came to see for ourselves this beautiful place!

Our apartment is just outside the old walls and historic center.  So we head off for a stroll through the streets to head down to see the lake.  The area leading to the walls is lovely, but once you enter the walls, it is as if you have somehow stepped into history. It is well maintained or restored and filled with beautiful shops and cafes, but you can still sense something special; It is hard to describe. If the walls could talk!

I love the quiet streets that open up to the busy plazas.  There are markets set up here where local artists and merchants are selling goods – much of which is handmade. We continue on to Piazza Duomo to see the Cathedral of Como, which is beautiful.  We check out the menus of the several cafes there before we continue on down to the lake.  The street opens up to Piazza Cavour, where there are more markets set up, and we get our first glimpse of the lake.

We stop at the markets to check it out. These are filled with food items like meats, cheeses, breads, wines, nuts, candies, dried and fresh fruits.  Some things are strange and different, but I will let you see in the pictures.  Now, on to see the lake.

We walk along the waterfront marina, past the ferry terminal and through Amici de Como, a lovely park filled with several varietals of large trees decorated with fall’s colors.  There is a childrens carnival area with rides and families enjoying the day. As we continue on, we hear loud singing and realize there is a soccer match in the stadium there. The match was well underway, so we didn’t go in. (I kind of wish we had. I hate to miss anything fun!) Next to the stadium is the yacht club and a seaplane hanger/airport. It is interesting how they pull the planes in and out of the lake. 

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We continue on around the lake past beautiful villas and gardens. (Post continued in Como, Italy: Viewing Villas and Gazing in Gardens). And we notice a fire has started across the lake.  It is windy today, which won’t help and we can see it spread and intensify as we stand here watching.  We pause to say a prayer for all the familes who may be affected and for the safety of all who are responding to put the blaze out.

We reach our destination and the sun is beginning to set. It is time to head back to town. We notice that the smoke is making for spectacular color in the sky and it makes us remember that in everything perceived to be bad, there is a blessing that comes from it.

Como, Italy: Our Home by the Lake

On our day to depart from Milan and move to Como, there was a transportation strike in Milan from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.  So, we had breakfast at the hotel, packed up our gear and chilled.  We headed down to Central Station around 2:15 pm to jump on the train to Como at 3:10 pm.  The train is the fullest we have seen, probably due to the strike.  We enjoy train travel here in Europe.

We arrive in Como and grab a cab to our new home.  Serena, our host, greets us at the door of the apartment building.  She shows us around and gives us tips of places to eat, buy groceries, etc.  The apartment is beautiful and well equipped. We unpack and decide to go check out our neighborhood, grab a bite to eat, and grab stuff for breakfast in the morning.

Our apartment is just a block outside of Como’s old walls, but we are going to save that for tomorrow.  We walk the neighborhoods in our immediate area and see cute shops and cafes all along the way.  It is 7:00 pm now, so restaurants are opening and shops are closing. We stop in to an inviting cafe for pasta and a salad and Kirk sees the Kabob plate. I think he liked it!

Off to buy groceries.  Now that we have figured out Spanish products, we get to start over again in Italian…lol!  We are becoming International shopping experts!