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The Lake Como region of Italy is dotted with gated villas with private boat houses. Their sweeping gardens gracefully meet the lake, ornamented with hydrangea, cypress and palm trees.  The close proximity to Milan has drawn swells of wealthy Italians to the area.

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IMG_5029Traffic around the lake nearly crawls, mostly due to large busses making their way down the twisted village roads, which two cars can barely squeeze through. Hop on a ferryboat to let the sightseeing begin!

Bellagio is the crown jewel of the lake, it also gained popularity from Steve Wynn’s iconic Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Here, charming cobblestone streets and stairs are lined with shops selling scarves, shoes, pottery, jewelry, and handbags.


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The smell of freshly baked focaccia bread begs for a taste, and is best followed with a large scoop (or two) of gelato. IMG_5458

IMG_4985By taking the trail above Bellagio to the less visited area where many locals live you can find the real local flavor.

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Nestled in Hotel Pergola is a lakefront eatery filled with locals drinking beer, smoking, and enjoying delicacies like squid ink ravioli and locally caught lake fish.  Although it’s a hike back into town, the visit is well worth it.

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IMG_5060Across from Bellagio, are the towns of Varenna, Cadenabbia and Mennaggio.

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The small village of Varenna is a personal favorite; it’s less populated than Bellagio and has an undiscovered feel. A visit to Hotel Albergo Milano should be on your “must do” list; the owner here tends bar, serves tables, and helps with food preparation. The inn has been run by the same family for generations and offers one of the best views of the lake.

IMG_5165IMG_4870Across the lake is Cadennabbia, and many groups stay at the Grand Hotel Cadenabbia, which offered a huge daily breakfast buffet on its top floor, a wonderful outdoor patio, and bar where you will find the best Bloody Mary.  

IMG_5472IMG_4971Some of the most picturesque places to visit on the lake are Villa Carlotta in Cadennabbia, and Villa Melzi in Bellagio.

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Mennagio, located north of Cadenabbia is a 30 minute walk. The town’s center boasts a bustling Sunday farmers market. IMG_5118 IMG_5112

IMG_4935IMG_5451Each of villages around the lake offer their own unique feel, and are all worth the visit! Most hotels along the lakefront offer stunning floating swimming pools with views across the lake, and into the Italian Alp mountains, making for the ultimate summer getaway. When planning a trip to Milan, Venice, or Zurich, be sure to add Lake Como to your travel itinerary!

– A Sweet Only Adventure