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Lago di Como, Italy
I awoke this morning and said, “Buongiorno!” to my wife before choppily asking, “Quale è il suo nome?” She told me that her name was Amber and kindly requested a moratorium on my clumsy attempts at Italian. “Ho bisogno di fare pratica con il mio italiano!” (I need to practice my Italian!). “No!” (No!). Disregarding her implied irritation, I bellowed, “Bene! Torno Subito.” (Good! I’ll be right back.) before throwing on a long, flowing scarf and hopping on a Vespa for a pair of laps around our hillside townhome overlooking majestic Lake Como.
In Italy it is essential to start the day off right. This of course means sleeping in and then donning the haute couture for a walk down to the local cafe for a breakfast pastry, breakfast salami, and breakfast chalice of Moretti. That out of the way, there is much more walking to be done. We walk everywhere. I even tried to walk across the lake once but the ferry was quicker. The rest of the afternoon will consist of more eating, some mid-day wine, a bit of writing, another walk, some afternoon wine, shopping in Bellagio, a bottle of sunset wine (while walking), and a nap before a lakeside dinner (with much wine) and then the italian tradition of passeggiata: you guessed it, a walk (albeit a very slow one). Ciao!
Se non è vero, è ben trovato. – Italian Proverb: “If it’s not true, it’s a good story.”
Location: the northern Italian Lakes District/Lombardy Region; between the fashion capital of Milan to the south and the border of Switzerland to the north – if Italy is a boot, think mid-thigh.
When to go: spring and fall (less crowded); Milan weekenders spend their time in Lake Como so weekdays are preferable because nobody likes a Milan weekender.
Where to go: The Golden Triangle of Bellagio, Varenna, and Menaggio is the main attraction though more authentic adventures are to be found throughout the area; the town of Como for silk shopping; inside the lake for swimming.
Attractions: numerous villas along the shoreline will catch your eye as familiar – Villa del Balbianello in Lenno where scenes from Casino Royale and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones were filmed will stand out if only because you stop and say, “That makes me think of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, which was awful.”
Celebs: Clooney is the most notable (though his lakefront home – Villa Oleandra – is up for sale for a cool 30 million euros; about $42 million – chump change when you’re selling $1 Kindle Singles on Amazon); he is a new member at the Menaggio and Cadennabia Golf Club where – if you’re down coming into the green at 18, he’s been known to rim a birdie putt or two if you cough out, “Mrs. Garrett!” during his backswing.
Cuisine: of the northern italian variety meaning a preference for risottos and polenta over pastas; generous usage of butter and lards though olive oil – the little engine that could – is slowly but surely catching on; local game (rabbit, quail) and cheeses (blue-veined gorgonzola, robiola) are prevalent in dishes; breakfast salami on every corner.
Famous Resident Authors: really only one to speak of named Jeff Moore, an American Expat the locals have taken to calling “orso ubriaco” – drunken bear.