The Real Bellagio

Trip Start Apr 17, 2009
Trip End May 09, 2010

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Flag of Italy  , Lombardy,
Wednesday, August 26, 2009

On August 24th we drove from Bergamo across the lake district countryside of northern Italy. Our plan was to stay for two nights in the village of Bellagio on Lake Como. The drive to Bellagio was not far. So, we decided to take a longer and more scenic route. We drove on up around the lake and into Switzerland. Surprisingly, this very southern area of Switzerland (along the northern edges of the lake) has palm trees! Who knew? So the towns we drove through in this unique area of Switzerland had roads lined with large palms while snow capped peaks dominated from above- it was quite unusual.

We drove out of Switzerland and back into Italy to a ferry crossing that would take us across Lake Como to the village of Bellagio on the east side of the lake. We had heard wonderful things about Bellagio, but unfortunately, our only knowledge of the town came from our stay at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas (yes we realize that is rather pathetic!)

We drove our car onto the ferry to Bellagio. The ferry was slow and gave us ample opportunity to enjoy the views of the lake (dominated by snow capped peaks) and the beautiful approach to the town of Bellagio. There is no doubt that approaching Bellagio from the lake is the most magnificent way to see the town. We are glad that we stumbled into this ferry crossing because it was breathtaking. As you see the town you quickly understand the concept of the Las Vegas hotel with its giant lake in front and is unique architecture. Indeed, the Bellagio hotel does a reasonable job at recreating the appearance of the architecture style and the water that are the signature features of this wonderful town.

We arrived in the town and had a VERY difficult time finding a place to park our car. Cars are not allowed in the town and outside parking is very limited. We did find a place (we did not move our car for three days due to our fear of losing our parking spot!). We found our hotel which was called Hotel Centrale. It was a nice, clean and inexpensive place that we would recommend. It did not have the lake views that other hotels had but it was quite nice and quite half the price of the lakefront hotels.

Bellagio is a scenic town of cobblestone streets and beautiful historic buildings hugging a hillside that leads down to the shores of Lake Como. The town has a strong tourist influence but keeps its small town charm. Bellagio is surround by large mountain peaks and has many gorgeous privately owned villas surrounding it. This is the one of the playgrounds of the very rich and very famous and you can quickly see that in the villas (homes) surrounding the area.

It is a small town and can you can easily explore the entire town on foot in less than four hours. One thing we quickly noticed was that everyone on the streets is carrying and eating gelatos. There were gelato shops all around town and the tourists loved them.

We explored a couple of large lakefront estates that were open to the public for tours. The gardens were amazing and the views were stunning.

After our two days in Bellagio it was time to drive back to Milan and spend the night before heading back to the United States for three months. We drove along the lake and passed George Clooney’s home and down to the town of Como where we spent the afternoon exploring the town and having a great lunch.

After walking around Como we drove to the Malpensa Airport Hilton Hotel where we stayed the night before boarding our flight back to Atlanta. We played some cards in the evening and had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. The only highlight of the evening was that John ordered a plate of cold sliced beef tongue as an appetizer. It was thinly shaved and looked like a tongue. I tried it as well. John said it tasted like pastrami or corned beef. John kept letting the slices of tongue hang out of his mouth as if he were sticking his own tongue out at me. It was a poor and disgusting attempt at humor but I did manage to capture it in a photo.

The next morning we boarded our flight to Atlanta where we stayed for one week prior to heading to Maine. Our plan is to depart Maine in December to begin phase two of our travels which will take us to the South Pacific.
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