30.05.2015 - 30.05.2015
We had breakfast this morning in the square of the Church of Saint Fidele (dedicated to Saint Fidelis – a martyr who died in 304). The church had its beginning in 1120, so there is a presence to it. We had our usual – coffee and pastry – as we watched the world go by – only today Como was quiet.
Today we are going to spend our time around the lake and enjoy its magic. We took a fast ferry first to visit the village of Bellagio – a village for the rich and famous (apparently George Clooney has a villa there but its location is secret). It was a sunny day but there was a lot of haze again this morning and this obscured the views. However the mountains on both sides are still impressive.
The village (or actually “commune” but that does not mean much to Australians) is very beautiful with a lot of trees and rich green grass and appealing buildings. I can understand why the rich and famous would want to live there. We disembarked and walked around a bit. . It is quite evident that wealthy people live in Bellagio. The houses are very nice (and the cars are flash too)and the gardens are luxuriant. Actually it is quite luxuriant all around Lake Como.
We then caught a slower ferry to Tremezzo on the western side of the lake. From here we did the Greenway Walk – a walk mainly along the shore of the Lake past luxuriant gardens attached to villas - some quite magnificent. We walked north to Griante and then south again. The gardens and villas are a joy to behold – I can understand why Lake Como has had such a huge appeal for hundreds of years. The path then led inland (with steep ascents) past a very historic village with very narrow streets. I expected the contents of a chamber pot to be poured out of a window on top of us. Apparently that happened in days gone by in these cramped villages – people would empty chamber pots out of the window on to the street!!Thankfully it doesn’t happen now.
This then led us down to the village of Lenno. Some of the villages are so close together that they adjoin as does Lenno and Tremezzo. We had lunch in a Hotel on the shore – a very nice spot. We had a light lunch. Next to us sat an English couple who had been snared by a “bore” who sat on the table next to them. The man (who was English) talked and talked about things connected with himself and was an expert on everything. His wife pulled her chair round to join in the one sided conversation in support of her talkative husband. The ensnared couple just sat with a polite look of long suffering on their faces. This provided some entertainment during lunch.
After this we visited the garden of the Villa del Balbianello. It is located at the end of a forested peninsula. The peninsula rises from the shore into a hill and then drops down to a point. There was a bit of a walk through the beautiful forest – then came the gardens. Bill had read that this was one of the highest rated places in the Como area. Whatever my expectations were, they were blown away by the sheer beauty of this garden. Its location on the point of the peninsula with the steep mountains on the other side of the Lake, the villa in the garden, the design of the garden, the plants, the trees, the green were an amazing combination. This was a place of perfection – nothing was out of place. It cost 8 euro to get in but it was worth every penny of it. There is a history to the place as well. The capacity of human beings to create beauty is amazing.
We left there and caught a slow ferry back to Como. The haze had lifted and the scenery was just wonderful. The bad thing about the slow ferry is that it is a slow trip but the good thing is that the ferry calls in at numerous villages on the way. We stood in the bow of the ferry and photographed away. I would recommend a visit to Lake Como to anyone. The mountains, gorges, cliffs, forests and villages that surround the Lake each contribute to the great experience. The trip took nearly two hours – but every moment was enjoyable.
We enjoyed watching the ferry men at their work. There is such a relaxed attitude and a lot of banter (in Italian).
We got back to Como at nearly 6.00pm (we started out at about 8.30am – it was a big day). The city was crowded with people. It was a great atmosphere. Our piano busker was playing to a crowd – he finished as we went by and took a bow with great aplomb before the crowd. We passed two young men playing Pachelbel’s Canon to the accompaniment of music. I thought they were worth a donation.
After relaxing a bit we went out to café just round the corner from the apartment and had dinner. I had pizza again (I love the pizzas in Italy – they don’t put as much on them as in Australia).
A great day.