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Sweet: There’s nothing better than sharing something you love with someone; a moment, a place, a taste, or an experience! This was my second trip to Italy, and I have shared my last trip, but this time traveling to Lake Como  was special, because I was able to share it with my husband.

Sour: Driving into Italy over the alpine mountains from Austria was a journey! We were with my wife’s family, which meant our group of six was squeezed into a small European SUV like sardines. Our first stop across the Italian border was in Bolzano. I enjoyed the old city square, where there was entertainment and a more diverse population. Here I had my first taste of Italian pasta and gelato. I enjoyed it, but realized that I had eaten pasta equally as good and better back home; good thing this was the first stop…It can only get better from here!

Sweet: Within four hours from Bolzano we arrived at our destination, Bellagio. The weather called for showers, but that didn’t stop us from grabbing an umbrella and exploring charming pathways.

Sour: The road into Bellagio is not for the faint of heart; it’s narrow and curvy with many local drivers who don’t seem to mind. Take a boat, hire a driver, or ride the bus because this road is treacherous.

Sweet: Bellagio is full of steps lined with shops and restaurants. Surprisingly, many Italian goods here are rather affordable.

Sour: Our first dinner in Bellagio at Ristorante Bilacus was everything I had hoped for. I could smell the wonderful aroma as soon as we entered through the door. This was my favorite meal in Italy and I would definitely go back.

Sweet: The sporadic showers inclined us to find warm, covered hideaways, but it didn’t put a damper on our days, and made our time together even more romantic.

img_7819Sour: Although warm, clear weather would have been preferred, the hotel we stayed at, Hotel du Lacprovided umbrellas. There was still plenty of activites to enjoy. We took a nice boat ride in the rain that passed by several magnificent villas including Villa del Balbianello featured in Casino Royale, and Richard Branson’s Lake Como villa

 

The video below shows Villa del Balbienello-

Sweet: This is truly a place where eating is the main event. Ristorante Terrazza Barchetta is a place of true hospitality. The delightful staff poured complimentary prosecco and brought us antipasto. Our meal was enjoyed slowly and each bite was savored.

Sour: I ordered the carbonara to compare it to how it back home. Here I think ordered the wrong thing from a great restaurant. Everyone else’s dinner was delicious.

Sweet: From Bellagio, you can catch a ferry to other villages on the lake. The ferries are all different sizes and some are for passengers, while others have ample space for cars as well. It’s only about a ten to fifteen minute ride across, but the view is nice from the seating areas.

The video below shows our departure from Bellagio, and shows the beautiful shoreline of this iconic place.

Sweet: The ferry timetables can be tricky to read, but they are easy to find online. It’s also easy to ask questions at the ticket counter as almost everyone speaks English. We rode the ferry to Varenna; a postcard worthy village equally as charming but smaller than Bellagio.

Sour: While the ferry was convenient, it was not cheap, so if you are planning on crossing the lake to just grab dinner you won’t be getting your money’s worth. Do take the ferry, but stay at the destination longer to get a better value.

The video below shows the ferry arriving in Varenna-

Sweet: From the ferry landing in Varenna it’s a two-minute stroll down Lover’s Lane, or Lover’s Walk to the central part of the village.The stairs in Varenna are steeper than in Bellagio, so you have to be careful on the way down after a few glasses of wine.

Sour: My wife insisted on dining at the famed La Vista restaurant within Hotel Albergo Milano, where the owner greets you as if you are a family member. Should we come back to Lake Como, this inn would be a delightful place to stay.

Sour: It was dark by the time we finished our dinner and I managed to drop my umbrella into the lake while taking a picture along Lover’s Lane. I was sad…it was a nice umbrella, the pictures below will be memories of my loss.

Sweet: There are so many wonderful places in Italy to visit, and I can’t wait for our return. If you are considering a visit to the Lake Como area then expect to be in for an adventure. There are so many restaurants, beautiful villas, 5 star hotels, small inns, wine cellars, and boutiques selling everything from leather goods, shoes, ceramics, cashmere, olive oil, toys, and more.

Sour: I had my first taste of Italy, and realize that it was only a small slice of the pizza pie called Italy (insert Italian accent). I especially look forward to visiting the Mediterranean coast of Italy. Leaving was bittersweet, as we headed out of the province of Como and back up into the Italian Alps on our way to Switzerland and eventually back home.