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September 22nd 2012
Published: September 25th 2012
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Our Italian Route

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Lake ComoLake ComoLake Como

From our balcony at Ca de l'Üga Dulza, Lezzeno, Lake Como
Our first night at Lake Como no one, especially Jim who drove the narrow winding SS583 lake road from Como, wanted to go anywhere, so we opened our bottle of Chianti Classico and celebrated arriving in one piece. The next day we just hung out at our beautiful place on Lake Como (Ca de l'Üga Dulza, another great find of my sisters). The view was amazing and we enjoyed a slow day. In the afternoon, our friends the Wilhelms hiked up the hill from their B&B and we joined them on a hike up our “road” to a church about a mile up the hill. At the church, our road met the local hiking trail and we took it to an agriturismo, a local goat farm and cheese factory, run by a lovely young women. The Agriturismo hosts dinners every Sunday, which we just missed, but instead got to meet the goats and their entrepreneurial owner. That night we dined at a local restaurant that featured the local fish from the lake. Although interesting, we all decided we needed more variety for our next meal.

We checked out Bellagio the next day and had a great, but filling lunch. No
Lake Como sunsetLake Como sunsetLake Como sunset

From out balcony
one wanted another heavy meal, so we invited our friends the Wilhelms and their niece Deirdre up to our apartment for a meal of local meat, bread, wine and cheeses (including goat cheese and sausage from the agriturismo which was sold at a local shop). Verena suggested we take the ferry the next day from Belliagio to Piona at the far north end of the lake. The ride took about 2.5 hours and we lunched on the boat on leftovers from dinner and enjoyed the amazing views. Our destination was the Abbazia di Piona. The ferry dropped us with just a few other people, so we essentially had the abbey to ourselves. The quiet was so nice after the hustle and bustle of the last week. We wandered through the church and the grounds which were filled with grape vines (for the wine sold by the monks), olives trees and roses which filled the air with the most luscious aroma. After that, we all seemed to find isolated places to just adsorb the beauty and silence for about an hour before returning by the fast ferry to Bellagio. We had planned to stay in Bellagio for dinner, but since all the restaurants close until 7:30 and it was only 4:30 we went home for quiet meal.

Wednesday was another lazy day. Pat and I went into Bellagio and toured the gardens of the Villa Melzi. We had intended to shop, but I think we had reached our limit, so we came home and napped before our birthday celebration in Varenna. What a great night! We took the ferry from Bellagio to Varenna and had dinner at the Villa Cipressi. The food here was the best of our trip and the views from the patio restaurant were picture perfect. There couldn’t have been a better 60th birthday celebration; great food, wine, friends, family and location.

Our last day on Lake Como we took a tour of the lake in a small wooden boat piloted by a handsome Italian. Following the lake excursion we were deposited at Villa del Balbianello for a tour. The villa was left to the Italian government following the death of its owner in 1988. The villa contains artifacts from Count Guido Monzino’s world travels including Mount Everest and the North Pole by dog sled, and his eclectic collection of ancient and renaissance art. The villa was originally built for Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini in the late 1700s and includes a secret passage from his bedroom to the guest bedroom (think about it) and down to the lake where a boat was always waiting “for his escape” according to our guide. There was not a road to the villa, or any other structure on the lake until the 1900’s; all were only accessible by boat until that time. There are some of us who question whether there is really “road” access now.

We ended our stay in Lake Como with dinner at the Hotel Aurora just below us on the lake road SS583 and then home to pack for a 06:00 am departure and a return trip down the winding lake road to the Milan airport. Pat and Jim originally were going take us to the airport and return for one more day at the lake, but decided another trip on SS583 for a 6:30 am flight was not in their future.

Additional photos below
Photos: 27, Displayed: 25


Lunch in BellagioLunch in Bellagio
Lunch in Bellagio

Jim, Verena and John Wilhelm, Dierdra (john's neice), Gary, Mary and Pat.
Ferry on Lake ComoFerry on Lake Como
Ferry on Lake Como

Ferry we took from Bellagio to Piona
Jim, Verena, GaryJim, Verena, Gary
Jim, Verena, Gary

On grounds of Piona Abbey
Mary and PatMary and Pat
Mary and Pat

At Piona Abbey
Lake ComoLake Como
Lake Como

Evening from our balcony
Lake ComoLake Como
Lake Como

Beach below or place in Lezzeno
View from Villa CipressiView from Villa Cipressi
View from Villa Cipressi

Restaurant for our 60th birthday celebration in Varenna
Lake Como Lake Como
Lake Como

View from ferry on the way to dinner in Varenna
The birthday girls at dinnerThe birthday girls at dinner
The birthday girls at dinner

Villa Cipressi restaurant
Thelma and Louise + JimThelma and Louise + Jim
Thelma and Louise + Jim

Hiking above our place on Lezzeno on Lake Como
Garden Villa MelziGarden Villa Melzi
Garden Villa Melzi

Notice the fig leaves - the vatican's long arm.

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