I probably don’t need to say it but this third day in Como was gray and quite dismal once again. But, fortunately, I’d be visiting a place indoors, the famous Como Silk Museum. Unbeknownst to many, Como is known as the city of silk and most likely if you have silk products, the silk came from there.
The museum opened in 1990 with old machinery and equipment gathered from defunct silk factories and the museum displays them throughout various rooms to show the actual process of manufacturing silk from start to finish. While Como no longer breed the silk worm (that starts the process,) they import them from China and still produce most of the silk that ends up in high end stores in New York, Paris, London etc.
It was now off to the famous and beautiful Bellagio, the town known as the pearl of the lake. Bellagio is situated at the point where the 2 legs of the lake meet. There are narrow cobblestoned streets with panoramic views everywhere, the town is
filled with many shops, restaurants and first class hotels and it is a perfect place to meander around from the water up the hills and down again. At the top of the town, is Bellagio’s main square with its church, the Romanesque Basilica di San Giacamo from the 12th century.
Heading back down to the waterfront is the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, one of the most distinguished hotels in the world that has hosted many prominent people over the years. It’s situated on a most ideal spot overlooking the lake with beautiful gardens and the hills behind. Inside, the hotel is grand with elegant stairwa
ys and magnificent chandeliers and frescoes.
They also have a Michelin starred restaurant, Mistral, and while I didn’t have the chance to eat there I did happen to meet Chef Ettore Bochia and let him know I’d be back.
Just as the rain started again it was time to leave for the Ristorante Alle Darsene di Lopia a few minutes from Bellagio’s downtown area. The meal here was excellent with a variety of lake como fish to start, followed by a creamy risotto with bitto cheese and black truffle. (I’ve never seen so much black truffle on one dish.) Dessert was an amazing white chocolate cream caramel with rapberries and licorice. The licorice was the burnt layer on top and I could hardly get enough of it. The meal was accompanied by a white wine, the Tre Vigne Bisson and a red Montepulciano D’Abruzzo. I do think this was one of my favorite meals of the trip.
Once back in Como with time to either rest or explore, I chose the latter as the rain seemed to stop for a while, Plus, I really needed to walk off some of the delicious but rich foods I had been eating and tonight, there was more to come.
That night was very special as I was being taken to another elegant 5 star resort for a wine tasting and dinner. Casta Diva is located in the town of Blevio a few miles from Como. The resort is a 61/2 acre estate overloooking the lake with a total of 73 rooms plus a couple of private villas. It had once been the home of the 19th century opera singer, Giuditta Pasta and retains much of its original architecture and also natural beauty.
I had a tour through the amazing spa that includes 4 VIP treatment rooms inspired by the elements, air, earth, fire and water. Each one was nicer than the last and I could easily spend an entire day in each of them. Besides the sauna, steam and pools there is a relaxation room where the walls are made of Himalayan sea salt meant to balance your body. This was the first time I have seen that and seems to be a new trend.
Since I couldn’t simply hang out at the spa for the night how nice that an informal wine tasting was arranged by the resort’s Manager and Wine Director, Davide. Tasting through a few special wines paired with hors d’ouevres and the view of Lake Como behind me was just perfect.
Dinner was in the resort’s elegant L’Orangerie restaurant where the wine continued to flow as I ate my way through another delicious risotto with Vialone Nano rice, goat blue cheese, boletus mushrooms and puffed spelt, Carbanero Codfich with pesto of conf it cherry tomatoes and yellow pumpkin and finally, polenta crumble with pumpkin ice cream, chestnut and licorice mousse served with a “vin Brule”, a spiced wine.
There is one thing for sure, I won’t be leaving Lake Como hungry.
Final day tomorrow.
Cheers and all the best,