The lake district of Italy is one of the world’s most beautiful destinations and somewhere that I had never been. So, even though I had just returned from a trip through the Mediterranean, when I was asked by the Italian Tourist Board to head on over to Lake Como for a press trip, I just couldn’t refuse.
Lake Como is Italy’s 3rd largest lake (after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore) and one of the deepest in all of Europe (1300 feet.) Stunning villas and palaces line the hills surrounding the lake and it is a popular and romantic getaway as well as home to many famous people. (yes, we all know George Clooney has a place there.)
I arrived for 4 days of sightseeing, eating and drinking and couldn’t wait to see what makes this place so special. Sadly, mother nature had her own plans and instead of blue skies and colorful scenery along the water, I was greeted by gray skies and rain. But, as you can’t change the weather, the plans continued.
The lake is shaped like an inverted “Y” and I was staying in the town of Como at the southern tip of the left “branch” of the lake. After a short rest from the overnight flight to Milan, I went on a brief (and wet) walking tour of the ancient historic center of town surrounded by medieval walls and filled with fascinating churches, monuments and buildings. Most impressive is the town’s Gothic and Romanesque Duomo (cathedral) that has been continually added to through the centuries. Besides the architecture, there are charming squares and narrow lanes filled with cafes and shops. Even in the rain, I found it all to be exquisite and couldn’t stop taking photographs at every turn.
Lunch was arranged at Caffe Teatro located in one of the squares by the cathedral and adjacent to the town’s theater. It’s a very pretty bistro with many different dining areas all quite elegant and cozy. I sat in the enclosed garden area that filled up rather quickly with local business people and families. It was a tasty meal with platters of meats and cheeses followed by lasagna and veal milanese. After a couple of glasses of wine, all the food and the jet lag I was quite ready for a nap.
But, a visit to Tenuta De L’Annunziata, a beautiful spa resort about 10 miles outside of Como was next on the list and I
wasn’t about to complain. There are 20 different stylish and modern guest rooms all with balconies overlooking the grounds and even a unique suite in the resort’s observation tower. The wellness center is well equipped with a swimming pool, hydromassage, saunas, hammam rooms, turkish baths and relaxation areas as well as individual and couple therapy rooms. I was able to have a treatment of my choice, and so, while lying across a comfy sofa in a soft terry cloth bathrobe, sipping on a glass of champagne, and munching on some tasty treats made by Chef Augusto Proserpio, I had my feet massaged and it was heaven. What an excellent cure for an exhausted and weary body.
The day wasn’t quite over yet and after a very short break back at the hotel it was off to dinner at Restaurant Cruise in the Hotel Cruise, a 4 star contemporary hotel not too far away from the lake. The Chef had prepared 2 set menus, one meat and one seafood. I chose the meat menu and had delicious foie gras with sweet breads and passito, a pasta with rabbit sauce, lamb with turnips, crispy potatoes and mushrooms and finally a coffee mousse with chocolate jelly and crispy caramel amaretto. By now, I was feeling full, content and certainly ready for a good night’s sleep, Thankfully, this was it for day number one.
All the best,