A Beauty that Can’t be Recreated
How do you define beauty? When a vista simply takes your breath away? On Lake Como in the Lombardi region of Italy, you'll find a glistening body of water dotted with towns that are so stunning, it's like they're straight out of a movie. Really. Even George Lucas used the "real" Lake Como instead of CGI for his Star Wars II : Attack of the Clones. The area is true beauty that simply can't be recreated. And having George Clooney as a neighbor doesn't hurt either.
Getting to Lake Como is as easy as the lifestyle here. Pack up your fashionable Eurail Italy Pass, your designer duds from Milan and hop aboard the high-speed Cisalpino for a ride that takes just 33 minutes. When you arrive, a highly development ferry service links all the towns around this inverted "y" shaped lake. The "legs" at the southern end are relatively flat, but as you head north toward the Alps, the surroundings become more mountainous, with views even more majestic, romantic and inspiring. It's no wonder writers, poets and composers came here to create.
Which town to make your base? Each is unique. Como, at the southern end of the lake, is an elegant resort, although not as beautiful as some other towns. With a population of 80,000, it's the largest in the area. The name Bellagio will ring a bell to anyone who's been to Las Vegas. This is the real thing. Lying at the junction of the lake's two legs, the town is gorgeous and busy, as it's a hub for the lake's boat service. The Rockefeller family runs the Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, a residency program where artists, writers, scientists and other professionals can apply to work on a project of their choosing and live here for a month. (Get those ideas churning.)
Tremezzo, right across from Bellagio, is home to the Villa Carlotta. Right on the waterfront, come rest among the gorgeous flowers and fountains in a true Italian garden. For more magnificent blooms, head up the Eastern shore to Varenna. The town sits on a small beach where the lake plunges deep. Built on a cliff above, the Villa Cipressi is a bit of fragrant heaven.
The Grand Dame of the Lake lies in Cernobbio. The Villa d'Este began in the 16th century as a summer residence for the Cardinal of Como. The villa has been a luxury hotel since 1873, welcoming dignitaries, celebrities, artists and writers to its 25-acre sybaritic compound.
Lake Como isn't as much about art and architecture, museums and ruins. It's the epitome of la dolce vita. Where you hop from town to town on a restored wood-hulled boat, stopping for gelato and a glass of grappa. And wonder how you'll ever recreate this wind-in-your-hair feeling again.
Contributed by: Lothaire, a Marketing Manager in the eBusiness team, has lived 4 years in Paris and used to take overnight trips on the Eurostar to go clubbing in London.