Last week I started this Travel Throwback series as a way of revisiting some of the places I had been to prior to launching this blog, and I took you on a short walk through central Milan. While I was in Italy, I also went on a day trip to Lake Como. This week I would like to show you why, to this day, this has remained one of my most vivid travel experiences.
I clearly remember the first picture of “a place I’d like to visit one day” I ever saved. It was a stunning photograph of the garden of a house in Bellagio, with stone steps leading up to a beautiful wrought-iron gate that opened out on the water’s edge. I had never dreamed that I would get to visit the scenic shores of Lake Como only a few short months later.
Lake Como is located in Northeastern Italy, in the province of Lombardy, and Bellagio, one of the most charming places on the lake shore, is just a short train ride away from Milan. The very old, but relatively fast train pulls into Varenna, and then a ferry takes you across the lake to the small, but exceptionally picturesque resort.
Bellagio is known for its cobbled streets which snake along the shore and wind up the curves of the hills surrounding the lake, but also for some stunning views of the frosty slopes of the Alps just above the horizon. It also has some amazing hotels, and the houses of a few celebrities which are sure to inspire a little measure of moderate jealousy even in the humblest of travellers.
As you get off the ferry you can follow the main street along the promenade where you might be tempted by the cosy cafes or the opportunities for al fresco dining lurking at every corner. However, we chose to brave the sloping streets and lose ourselves completely in the heart of this absolute gem of a little town.
After a quick bite in one of the family restaurants tucked in between the ancient-looking houses, we made it back to the little square by the lake shore. From here we continued down the promenade, which eventually took us to the gardens of Villa Melzi. There is a small fee to enter but the scenic views are worth it.
We continued our walk on the road just above the estates of the rich and famous. We couldn’t go inside, but nobody could stop us from having a little innocent peek into their gardens, which, of course, were quite the sight.
As the day began to wane and the sun plunged behind the thickening clouds, we started to make our way back towards the train station. We couldn’t walk any slower – none of us wanted to leave Bellagio behind, so we just took pictures of every possible view out to the lake.
With its last warm breath, the sun swam out from behind the clouds as if to give us one last gentle embrace. The day had been the stuff of dreams, and it was only fitting for it to end with a magical sunset over the peaceful waters of the lake.