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Varenna and Lake Como

Like a breeze  Or sunbeam over your domain I passed In motion without pause But ye have left your beauty with me A serene accord of forms and colors Passive yet endowed In their submissiveness with power as sweet And gracious, almost I dare to say  As virtue is, or goodness; sweet as love William Wordworth, Excerpt from The Prelude, Lake of Como
    Lake Como

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Been traveling in Europe these last few weeks and will be posting soon about my journey to the Netherlands, Croatia and Italy. It's been cold except in Dubrovnik where the temperature hovered around 18°C. Here are some images of the places I visited.

    The Markthal in Rotterdam is the queen of all markets

Como

The town of Como is not just the gateway to the villages along Lake Como, it is a destination in itself. Surrounded by mountains and fronting the shores of Lake Como, it has a lot to offer its visitors. How about starting with a nice, cool prosecco at the Piazza Duomo as you watch the play of light against the walls of the Cathedral?

The construction of the Cattedrale de Santa Maria Assunta or the Duomo di Como was began in 1396 and it was completed in 1770, nearly 4 centuries later. The front façade features a rose window flanked by statues of the illustrious Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger, both natives of Como.

As I was walking around town, I was struck by this architectural overhang, typical of medieval houses. Surprises abound in Como.

Another gem from the 12th century is this tower, Porta Torre, one of three remaining towers which once formed part of a wall that surrounded Como. Notice the four rows of arched windows which correspond to four internal storeys in this Roman…

Villa Melzi

Villa Melzi was the residence of Francesco Melzi d'Eril who was the Duke of Lodi and Vice President of the Italian Republic under Napoleon. This simple and elegant neoclassical villa was designed and decorated for the most part by Giacondo Albertolli. The villa's English garden stretches along the shores of Lake Como from the Bellagio entrance to the Loppia neighborhood on the south end. Plane trees lead to the villa and across the path, rhododendrons and azaleas dot the hillside. The garden was designed by Luigi Canonica and together with the botanist, Luigi Villoresi, they created a garden of aesthetic proportion, with the lake as its natural boundary. 

Plane trees and a well manicured lawn lead to the villa from the Bellagio entrance. 

This Moorish style temple holds the busts of the Austrian Emperor, Ferdinand I and Marianne of Savoia and the Duke Lodovico Melzi and his consort, Josephine Melzi. The Duke and Josephine were the last of the Melzis to own the villa. The Gall…

Bellagio and Lake Como

"I ask myself
Is this a dream? Will it vanish into thin air? Is there a land of such supreme  And perfect beauty anywhere?" H. W. Longfellow



A short train ride from Milan's Cadorna Train Station to Como Borghi and you're in a totally different world. The temperature is cooler, the streets are quieter, pastel hued houses spill down the hillside to the water's edge and Lake Como is as refreshing to the eye as always. I hopped on a ferry to Bellagio which is 45 minutes away. The fare each way is 14.75 euros as of this writing. There were only two lakeside stops along the way and my head turned from side to side as we passed villages, one in which George Clooney lives. As we cruised farther into the lake which is 30 miles long, I held my breath when I saw the snow capped Alps in the distance.

Bellagio is a disappointingly commercial lakeside village. The stepped streets are filled with shops and restaurants. The result of its popularity with visitors is that it has lo…

Highlights of My Italian Summer

The Duomo, Milan
In the next few weeks I'll be writing in detail about my trip to Italy this June. For the moment, I'd like to share some highlights of our visit to this country that calls you, like a siren, to come back for more.

It took more than four centuries to complete the construction of Milan's Duomo. Napoleon Bonaparte demanded it be ready for his coronation as King of Italy. This photo was taken on a Sunday, sunny day and family day.
A short train ride from Milan to Lake Como and a total change of pace. Far from the madding crowd, Lake Como is naturally beautiful and peaceful in late spring. It might be quite a different scene in summer. 
Bellagio, Lake Como
We made a pilgrimage to Padua in the Veneto region to pray at the tomb of St. Anthony. The feast of St. Anthony is on June 13 and we we were lucky to have participated in one of the masses during the 13-day long festivities.
Basilica del Santo, Padua
Venice is such a fragile peninsula that has survived thro…