Lake Como: Bellagio

The weather wasn’t on our side that weekend (even though we booked our getaway for end of June to guarantee sunshine and good weather), so we decided to spend the day in Bellagio before going to Milan for our second night.

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We started our day at the local church (San Giovanni church), which was in my eyes the best idea. Whenever we travel, we like to visit churches and cathedrals and one thing my mother told me was to always go into a church and light a candle, thank God for being so blessed and remember all our loved ones in our prayers. We were lucky enough to attend part of a Sunday morning mass, which was lovely because it was all in Italian but I could still understand it. There’s something so pleasant and wonderful about listening to Italian, I just don’t know why.

Thankful for our blessings
Thankful for our blessings

From San Giovanni, we walked to a local cafe and grabbed quick breakfast on the go. We then headed to Villa Melzi, which has a stunning garden and views on the lake. It is also a way to get to Bellagio’s centre from San Giovanni (by foot).

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Giardini di Villa Melzi is worth a wander around. It’s quite big and it is very well maintained. All I could think of was how beautiful a wedding would be over there. Even with the horrible weather we had that day, I fell in love with it. The grounds were absolutely gorgeous and all I can say is that you definitely have to visit it if you’re in the area. I can imagine a lot of the other villas in Lake Como having similar gardens and beautiful landscape so seeing one would reflect on others (I guess).

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After a lovely walk, we made our way to town to have a stroll and eventually grab lunch. We looked at a few stores, were tempted by lots of nice bags, shoes and souvenirs but didn’t end up buying much because of the limited space we had in our suitcases. We asked around for local restaurants in Bellagio so we headed to one for lunch. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the restaurant. It was busy but the service was quick. Leene and Toufic were not very excited with their food. I ordered grilled fish which was fresh, simple and tasty. Youssef had a typical hearty meal from the region called Ossobucco, which is veal shanks braised with vegetables, wine and broth. It was served with polenta. One restaurant we wanted to try but didn’t get a chance to is called Ristorante alle Darsene di Loppia. Quite a few locals recommended it and we passed by it on our way to Villa Melzi but they were fully booked for lunchtime. Their menu looked really nice and authentic. Next time, I’ll definitely make reservations there before arriving!

Of course, you know what was next and what I was looking forward to: dessert = gelato! We went to a known place up the road called Gelataria del Borgo. It was delicious (of course!) and I had the usual flavours of pistachio, nocciola and stracciattela (yum!).

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Our plan was to make it to Milan at a decent time, to check in to our hotel, get changed and go out for dinner. It was a Sunday so the ferries from San Giovanni (the closest ferry stop to the flat we booked) to Varenna were not frequent and we needed to catch a train to Milan from Varenna. The trains also ran once an hour so we had to be at the station on time. We luckily managed to make the ferry out and got to the train station absolutely wet because the heavens opened as we made our way to there.

The train to Milan took about an hour, which was enough time to dry off. I’m not sure if you’ve ever been to the main train station in Milan (Milano Centrale) but it really reflects on the fascist regime that was in place in Italy for quite some time. The very tall ceiling, the spaciousness of the station and the greyness of the bricks just screamed it all. Walking to our hotel from the station was interesting. The roads were wide, the buildings were not the typical European or Italian, but were clearly built in the 70s or 80s and not very nicely. At a first glance, it was not what I expected to see but that was just my prejudice and skeptical nature that placed unnecessary ideas in my head. Once at our hotel, we got ready for our first and only night out in Milano…