Lake Como is shaped like an upside-down Y . Como is at the southwestern tip and Lecco is at the southeastern tip. At the middle point, we find Bellagio. All along the shores in between, there are lovely little towns and villages. Here’s my top ten (this is not a ranking but the best 10):#1 – LECCO
Why Lecco? I have adopted Lecco and she has adopted me. I’ve been here for over 13 years and I am still discovering the history and beauty of this city. Alessandro Manzoni immortalized and personified the city in what is considered Italy’s most prominent literary works The Betrothed, (I Promessi Sposi) but Lecco has more than 19th century literature to offer. It has wonderful shopping in the historical city center, great plazas and cafes for people watching, a lovely promenade avenue (Il Lungo Lago) with breathtaking views of the lake and the distant Alps. The Lecchese are business minded, hence, the hospitality industry is well organized. There is quite a good selection of hotels and restaurants to choose from. Visit the Torre Velasco, Il Palazzo della Paura art exhibits, San Nicolo church and bell tower, take a cable car up and hike to Piano D’Erna.
Varenna is one of the most romantic little towns along Lake Como. North of Lecco, it’s a unique, little village on the hills. Cobble stoned paths and staircases wind through the old town (remember to wear comfortable shoes!) . You must doLa Passagiata d’amore , the Lovers Lane along the shoreline. Surrounded by quaint little houses upon hills, the ferry port is bustling with passengers commuting to and from Bellagio. Varenna is home to two gorgeous villas with botanical gardens; Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi , both of which can be visited . Villa Cipressi is now a luxury hotel and restaurant (I had my wedding there!). The Vezio Castle overlooks the cove from the hilltop above Varenna and is a manageable hike up.
You may know the Las Vegas resort, but did you know it was named and modeled after the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio Italy? You won’t get a better opportunity to visit the original! If five star accommodation is out of range, there are lovely B&Bs and apartment rentals. Bellagio sits at the Y of the lake and has spectacular views of the widest part of the lake and the Swiss Alps. Bellagio can be reached by car from the Como side or by car-ferry from Varenna . If you are travelling by train, go to Varenna and take the passenger ferry. Don’t miss the beautiful botanic garden at Villa Melzi,and take the time to wander around the city center for shopping and cafe hopping. If you are a cycling enthusiast don’t miss a hike or ride up to La Madonna del Ghisallo church, which is considered the patron saint of cyclists.
Bellagio is also home to The Rockefeller Foundation, a truly inspiring place for the arts, humanities and educative advancement.
You can take another ferry to Cadenabbia-Tremezzina and visit Villa Balbianello and Villa Carlotta.
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