In May of this year I had the pleasure of traveling to Varenna, Italy for the first time. Varenna is located on Lake Como about 60 kilometers north of Milan. We flew into Milan and then took the hour long train ride to Varenna.
Varenna was founded by local fishermen around 769. It was destroyed by rival Como in 1126, and in 1169 refugees from the Isola Comacina found their way to its shores. Across the lake from Varenna are Bellagio, Griante and Menaggio. All worth visiting.
Verenna is a gorgeous village with a population of less than 1,000. The village square, the heart of the village is accessible by car, but the older parts of Varenna are linked together by roads and alleyways that were built in the 1100’s. Not wide enough for a car to navigate.
The waterfront views of Varenna are enchanting.
Our stay in Varenna was at The Albergo Milano. A marvelous small hotel with its own renown restaurant, Restaurante La Vista. The sign on the side of the building says “Restaurante Terrazza.” Perhaps from an earlier era. Our room was one just overlooking the restaurant. It had a large patio/balcony and magnificent views. The sunsets were one of a kind, no matter how you looked at them.
The Village Square was surrounded by a large Catholic church, a hotel and an assortment of stores and shops.
The church bells would ring every hour.
An old sundial was an adornment on one of the buildings in the square.
For the foodies, there were a few fun additions on the trip. One was the Caprese Salad at Restaurante La Vista.
Next was a culinary class afternoon where our wives learned how to make their own tortellini. The “Cookery Class” was held at Ristorante Il Caminetto in Perledo, about a kilometer from Verenna. The class was conducted by Chef Moreno Maglia. Visit his site at www.ilcaminettoonline.com Great pictures in his photo gallery. It is worth the visit. Here are their results.
A third one was an appetizer. On the Le Nostre Specialita Menu it read – Croccantino – gelato di fegato d’oca all’essence balsamic, granella di nocciole e pan brioche tostato Croccantino – Goose fole gras ice-cream with balsamic essence, hazelnuts and toasted brioche bread
It looked like a Haagen-Dazs Bar.
Villa Carlotta is a beautiful villa built at the end of the 17th century. It sits on Lake Como just across from the peninsula of Bellagio. In the second half of the 1800’s, Princess Marianne of Nassau bought the villa and gave it to her daughter, Carlotta, as a wedding present. Carlotta’s husband was passionate about botany, and transformed the 17+ acre estate into what is now a beautiful botanical park.
A Tunnel of Citrus trees on either side of the house.
And the beautiful gardens.
Villa Monastero is in Varenna. Once a monastery, it has been converted into a convention center.
For 15€ per day, you can buy an all day pass for any of the ferryboats on Lake Como. In many instances, the only way to get there.