When I planned this whole Euro trip I had never for a moment thought that rain may scupper my plans but as I took the train from Lucerne to Como there were a few rainfalls. Thankfully it had cleared up when I arrived at Como station and got on the hourly bus (almost immediately) which took me to Tremezzo (about 45 minutes away) which is home to two of the most luxurious villa’s in all of Como; Villa Carlotta and the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. Next to the latter was a two-star hotel so I am sure you can guess which one I had booked to stay at in advance! To be fair the view from my window was great….if I leaned out far enough!
After checking in I immediately set out by ferry to Lenno where I then had to take a much smaller boat to the Villa del Balbianello which can only be accessed from the lake on weekdays (excluding Tuesdays). It’s probably quite fair to say that my trip was based around this place for reasons which will follow in Euro-Trip Pt V and Pt VI. This delightful villa was built in the 18th century and belonged to a few people before a businessman/collector/explorer from Milan bought it and turned it into a museum which was eventually left to the FAI (an Italian art, nature and landscape foundation) who still run it and show the tourists around which is the only way to see it.
This place was one of the highlights of my trip. As nice as the villa was it was the gardens that were most impressive and particularly the loggia (featuring the map room and the library containing over 4000 geography and travel books) which dominates the terraced garden and from here as well as just about everywhere else there were great views of the lake and its shores.
The following day I took a ferry to Bellagio which is situated perfectly in the crotch-part (for Lake Como is shaped like a man although Y-shaped is probably a safer way to describe it!) and is probably the most touristy part. There are many narrow streets lined with souvenir shops and restaurants which eventually sprawl out into a piazza or two with the Villa Serbelloni towering in the hills above.
I ate the typical Italian food (pasta, pizza and gelato) and walked along the shore to Villa Melzi which is the most famous villa in Bellagio. I didn’t go in though as I was already tired of villa’s and gardens by this stage and of course I didn’t want to splash out more more cash on entrance fees! I finished my day at the five-star Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni which had a display of messages written by the rich and famous who have stayed there since it was opened 37 years ago with the most interesting one for me being that of Mr Star Wars himself; George Lucas.