Bellagio - the most beautiful place in europe.

Trip Start Jun 25, 2008
Trip End Jul 31, 2008

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Flag of Italy  , Lombardy,
Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Arrived here yesterday after flying from London to Milan, hiring a car and driving up to Lake Como. We then skirted around the southern edge of the lake to the most picturesque hillside village of Bellagio. (approximately one and a half hour's drive from the motorway). Interesting driving out of Milan on the 'wrong side' of the road... I think that I'm going to have a headache when crossing the roads over here, which way do I look first, is it left then right, or right then left.......
The road that leads to Bellagio is very, very small by Australian standards but not by European. Many twists and turns and several times it was necessary to stop the car to allow an on coming vehicle to pass. We decided to stop for lunch at a road side restaurant for lunch - of course, pizza, but nothing like I'd had before. Very thin crust, fresh tomato paste with minimal topping, herbs and spices. Don't come to Italy expecting a thick crust with lots of topping, it doesn't happen. I must admit the 'real thing' tastes wonderful....
Bellagio is a beautiful little town, with a 10th century church as the focal point of the town square. The church was part of the original fortification of Bellagio, (should you look on the map, you will see that this town was the most important section of Lake Como for defence in its early history). During the medival period the lake was important for trade between communities to the north and south. Bellagio sits on a promontory in the middle of the lake consequently it was possible to see any problems/attacks imminent in any direction.
Our hostel room is directly overlooking the church square and the church bell is linked to the church clock - so - on the quarter hour, half and hour we are greeted by the ringing..... (all night), but we shouldn't complain because it is very beautiful
At a cost of 10.50euros you can purchase a day ticket for the hyrofoil. This allows people to travel back and forth across the lake to many of the other towns that are scattered along the banks of Lake Como. We first cross the lake and visit Megganio. This is an interesting town busier than Bellagio with a much larger road that goes through the centre. There were two churches in the square, one was rather imposing but the other St. James was very small and pink inside. Behind the altar was a most beautiful cross that was enclosed behind a glass panel.
Churched out we decided to buy the local gelato ice - what a melt in the moment experience - lemon and yoghurt - an absolute buy at 2.50euros for a huge tub that dribbled everywhere and made the best mess ever.
Menaggio visited time to move back across the lake to Varenna. This town appeared more prosperous than Menaggio perhaps because there is a magnificent monastery there - the Villa Monastero di Varenna. Unfortunately we were not able to see inside (only the gardens), because it was only open on the weekend. 
Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna are beautiful little towns with orange/pink buildings and cobbled streets, all very small and very,very steep. The countryside is lush, soft green with masses of coloured flowers everywhere. I think I've fallen in love with Bellagio........but staying here will have to wait because tomorrow we leave Lake Como for Switzerland, the big mountains and the snow.
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