Back in August we finally had the chance to fly back to France to visit our family in Nice.
After many months apart due to Covid, we felt like this reunion needed to be celebrated with a little road trip. We always said that our first trip after quarantine would be in Italy and Italy it was; to be precise Lake Como. It might be due to its proximity to the south of France or simply to the fact that we had fallen under it’s magic spell, but there is no trip we ever took to Italy that didn’t include a stop in Como.
This tradition actually started in the late 80’s with our grandfather, Harry, who owned a small textile factory in Nice. Twice a year he and our grandmother, Mimi, would drive to Como to source the finest scarfs, silks, and ties, a great excuse for him to practice his beloved Italian and for my grandmother to do some shoe shopping. There, they fell in love with the indisputable glamour and elegance of the North of Italy. Long after they retired, they continued this tradition and visited Lake Como often and spontaneously.
Being there always brings back their memory — we never had the chance to go with them, but going with our mother and hearing her talk about their business and holidays on the lake is a way to retrace their steps and feel close to them again.
We can almost picture our grandmother in her tailleur walking through the villas and dreamy gardens, in awe with the beauty of the lake. We can very easily understand why they were so tied to this place.
After a four hour drive, we arrived in Lake Como. As we get close to the lake, our eye is immediately caught by the lush vegetation of perfectly cut cypress, fir trees, olive trees and the luxurious residences next to small colorful villages, on each shore side, all framed by grand mountains cascading into the water. The word “majestic” can only begin to describe the scenery offered by this extraordinary corner of Italy.
Being in Lake Como is choosing contemplation over the bustle, it’s an introduction to the Italian way of life of Palazzos. A chance to taste the nostalgia and the opulence of the old Italian world. Lake Como is rich in culture. Behind heavy velvet curtains, the patterns and volumes of la Belle Epoque, it’s fascinating to discover the villas, abbeys and palaces of what was once the life of aristocrats, artists and extravagant families.
The landscape lends itself to the art of ‘taking your time’ / ‘Dolce far niente’.
Visit Bellagio ‘the pearl of the lake’, and enjoy it till in the evening, golden hour there is a true show.
Take a Riva boat to Villa del Balbianello — On a peninsula from which you can enjoy enchanting views of the Lario, this elegant and romantic 18th century mansion and its amazing garden have hosted writers and travelers up to its last owner, Guido Monzino.
Villa del Balbianello
Book a boat tour around the lake, most of the sights are best seen from the water, where you can spot the most luxurious and incredible villas (some only reachable by boat), just like Villa La Casinella. A prestigious villa, which has always been surrounded by an air of mystery and questions about the few who can afford to stay in it… a place which could make everyone’s dreams come true. Sometimes beautiful things can also be enjoyed from afar with just a little bit of imagination.
Start one of your days at Villa Carlotta, where early in the morning the sun brightens its lush terraced gardens of azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias descending on the lake. Villa Carlotta is the perfect example of how architecture can perfectly blend with the beauty of nature and art.
Villa La Casinella
WHERE TO SLEEP
Grand Hotel Tremezzo – A few steps away from Villa Carlotta on the western shore of the lake you’ll be able walk right into the Belle Époque. Tremezzo’s sophistication, bright colors and floating pool makes this property a one of a kind experience.
Grand Hotel Tremezzo
Villa D’Este —A timeless destination. For centuries a residence of the aristocracy and since 1873, an elegant and charming five-star home; one of the most celebrated in the world and it’s easy to understand why.
Il Sereno — We can all agree that a bit of dolce vita here and there can be quite a treat just like a weekend at il Sereno in Torno on Lake Como — a twist on the Lake’s typical luxury grand hotels (Dont get us wrong we love old school villas filled with antiques) but sometimes a clean and sleek property feels like a breath of fresh air even more with view like this.
Villa Derrieré —The most charming, authentic village of Lake Como — Nesso, on the lakes eastern shore, will leave you speechless and rubbing your eyes in disbelief.. and if you are all about small hidden gems, you should check out Villa Derrière an exceptional, refined b&b on Lake Como, run by a special couple.
Il Sereno; Photography by Via Tolila