Lake Como’s Centro Lago

Lake Como's Centro Lago

In this third and final part of a trilogy of posts on Lake Como, we visit Villa Carlotta, Bellagio and Varenna. I’m just going to write a few words about each location, with a picture gallery including captions after each one.

 

VILLA CARLOTTA

On the western shore of the Ramo di Como where it reaches the Centro Lago (Central Lake) lies Tremezzo, a village boasting many fine villas, but none more so than Villa Carlotta.

Built at the end of the 17th century for marquis Giorgio Clerici II, a member of a powerful Milanese family, it was bought in 1801 by Gian Battista Sommariva, a well-known Italian politician and major art collector. The villa became a major stopping place on the Grand Tour, and fortunately for the modern-day traveller many of the classical sculptures that he acquired are still here: Not so fortunate though is the fact that I can’t show you any of them because photography is not permitted inside the villa.

All is not lost though because not only does the villa have a splendid interior, it also has some magnificent gardens with views to match. The villa was named after Carlotta Nassau who was given it as a wedding present for her marriage to Giorgio II, a keen botanist who turned the grounds into a garden lover’s paradise.

The timing of our visit to Villa Carlotta was less than perfect for visiting the gardens as most of the summer colour had gone over, but even so, if visiting the villa was good enough for those doing the Grand Tour, it was most definitely good enough for me.

BELLAGIO

From Villa Carlotta we could see Bellagio on the other side of the Ramo di Como, and it was easy enough to get across the lake, via Griante, to the village that sits at the point where the three arms of the lake converge.

Bellagio’s location has attracted human activity from medieval times, and so it shouldn’t come as any surprise to find out that it has become a magnet for today’s tourists. Coming at the end of September may have meant that we didn’t see Villa Carlotta’s gardens in all their glory, but at least we had plenty of space to explore the stepped cobbled streets of Bellagio in peace.

The streets these days are, as you would expect, lined with shops and restaurants, but if I’m being honest, I was more interested in taking in the fantastic views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. At the tip (punta) where the three arms of the lake meet is a park which provides some of the best views of all, and not only that, there was also a restaurant where we spent an extended afternoon taking it all in over a bottle of wine and some lovely Italian food. Perfecto!

VARENNA

Varenna lies on the Lecce side of the Centro Lago, and I don’t know if it was just the circumstances at the time, but I liked Varenna even more than I did Bellagio. Apart from a couple of notable villas, the village doesn’t have any specific points of interest as such – but what it does have, or at least it did when we were here, was a wonderful feel to it. It’s a laid-back sort of place with fabulous views and not much in the way of commercialism: I absolutely loved it.

From the ferry terminal we walked along the Passeggiata degli Innamorati (Lovers Walk) to a little café next to the lake and had an ice-cream (as you do) before walking up to the Hotel du Lac where we wasted more time sipping drinks on the terrace overlooking the lake, and I couldn’t help but think of Van Morrisons’s words when he said “Wouldn’t it be great if it could be like this all the time”.

My knowledge of the area around Lake Como doesn’t run too deep, but I can see where Luisa Zambrotta, a blogging friend of mine, gets her inspiration from. Her website Words and Music and Stories is also an inspiration to me and I highly recommend that you check it out.

For those of you who prefer to see the pictures in a loop I have created a carousel below of those in landscape form (a mixture of landscape and portrait styles doesn’t work too well)

Music – Papillon by Secret Garden

POSTED – AUGUST 2021

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25 thoughts on “Lake Como’s Centro Lago

  1. Toonsarah

    Somehow I missed this when you posted it but I’m glad I’ve come to it now as it all looks so lovely! I think you may have been better off visiting Bellagio a bit off-season, even if the gardens weren’t at their very best, as I’ve seen photos of it looking much more crowded than in your shots. And Varenna sounds just perfect 😀

    Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      Bellagio is probably the most popular place to visit on the lake and we deliberately chose to come to Lake Como in September when it would be quieter. We were just hoping for some decent weather – which we got thankfully.

      Reply
  2. starship VT

    This is my favorite part of Italy!! Thanks for taking me on a journey of lovely memories. Great photos and nice music added greatly to the pleasure of reading this blog!

    Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      I’m glad it’s brought back some good memories Sylvia. It makes my day when somebody says that.

      Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      Italy is the opposite of England where the richest part of the country is up north. Thanks for your comment as always Stephen. Will probably be back down to earth for the next post 🙂

      Reply
  3. Francisco Bravo Cabrera

    Lovely post, incredibly beautiful places, Varena is my favourite…although I’ve not visited, I feel close from your narrative and outstanding photographs! This was wonderful Malc, cheers. All the best to you!

    Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      Thanks Francesc. There must be other places around the lake that are just as beautiful I would imagine. We couldn’t visit them all though 🙂

      Reply
        1. Easymalc Post author

          I can’t disagree with that F. Hope you’re chilling out with a glass of something under those Aegean stars. They always seem much brighter over there somehow 🙂

          Reply
          1. Francisco Bravo Cabrera

            Thanks Malc. Well, I went to a little cove, hidden away, no electric lights, no civilisation and at night you can see all the stars as there are no lights anywhere…however in the house we did have solar panels for electricity and running water, so we had the best of both worlds. It was a nice break for two days, but that’s about all I can take of so much nature…
            Take good care and all the best, have a great Sunday.

            Reply
  4. Alli Templeton

    What an idyllic place to escape to, Malc. It all looks amazing, and I love the look of those mountains, they’re so commanding in their presence, and I always think somehow mountains put things into perspective and humanity in its place. No wonder you had Van Morrison’s words rattling through your mind that day in Varenna! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      You know that I’ve gone to different places for different reasons Alli, but I’ve always loved places of solitude the most. Thanks for taking a look around Lake Como with me 🙂

      Reply
      1. Alli Templeton

        Me too, Malc. I’m exactly the same. I love being out in nature with nobody else around. And I always prefer castles when they’re really quiet – that’s why I’m happy to go to them in bad weather. 🙂

        Reply
        1. Easymalc Post author

          I can understand that Alli. Sometimes sitting alone somewhere feeling sad can make me feel happy, if that makes any sense.

          Reply
          1. Alli Templeton

            Yes it does, Malc, it can be quite cathartic in fact. It’s like when someone massages a tense and tender muscle, it’s a good kind of pain. 🙂

            Reply
  5. equipsblog

    I also know and love Luisa’s blog
    Bellagio is one of the loveliest hotels in Las Vegas with a musically coordinated dancing fountain show each hour. Saw a lovely Impressionist art show there years ago. Now I know where the name comes from.

    Reply
  6. Nemorino

    Beautiful photos! I know this region mainly from going through on trains, and I’m often confused about which places are on Lago di Como, which are on Lago di Lugano and which are on Lago Maggiore.

    Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      Thanks Don, and I can understand why you might get confused. I caught the train from Como to Lugano and had to change just across the border at Chiasso which was just 5 minutes away. We were supposed to go through a barrier checking our passports and I didn’t realise and just knocked the barrier out of the way 🙂

      Reply

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