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Key Lago

October 8, 2017

 

  One of the first things you notice when you hit the SS340, hugging the western shore of Lake Como, is that time has slowed.

 

  Lago di Como is perhaps the best known of Italy's northern lakes and, as we arrive from Switzerland on a warm October Wednesday, our leisurely drive from the north pauses as we catch our breath.

 

 © the nomad

   People have been coming this way for millennia. Some, just passing through, others like us, looking for a little lakeside tranquility before we have to let the world back in.

 

  We're heading for Griante, one of dozens of communes dotted around the lake. We chose it not for its charm - of which there is plenty - but for its location, handy to all that we plan to do in our three day escape.

 

  I have been to Lake Como at several different times of the year, but this, at the beginning of a mild autumn, and long after the summer crowds have gone, is perfect. The daytime temperature never intrudes; at night we are never cold.

 

  And so we wander. Our first stop, as it has been for many, is Bellagio, whose great tragedy is to have once been called the prettiest village in Europe. The internet then did what the internet does, and within a couple of years, while still one of the prettiest, it had also become one of the most crowded.

 

  But there is still joy to be found. The ferry ride itself is one of those travel rarities - a necessary delight. By road, it's more than 65km and 90 minutes from Griante to Bellagio. The ferry takes us there in 20 minutes.

 

© the nomad

  We arrive as the sun is going down and the tourist traffic is (mostly) heading in the other direction. SO we do what anyone with time on their hands would do. We ramble. We get lost in the alleys and backstreets of the once prettiest village in Europe, and by some providence are deposited outside a wine bar.

 

© the nomad

   I mean, what would you do?

 

  So our first evening on the lake passes, fuelled by fresh bruschetta and a glorious Italian wine. You'd think it couldn't get better. And then it does.

 

  Day two is one of exploration. We chose Griante because we had decided our lake retreat would not involve getting in the car if we could help it. Menaggio was just a bit to the north and Tremezzo just a little to the south.

 

  Just a couple of minutes out of Tremezzo sits Villa Carlotta, a 17th century palace which is now part museum, part botanic garden, but all of it, a glorious way to kill a few hours on a sunny afternoon.

© the nomad

© the nomad

 

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