Friday, June 10, 2011

Lago di Como, Where's George?

We have visited Lake Como a few times since I moved to Milan in February and it just gets better each time. Maybe that has something to do with leaves on the trees and flowers now that it is summer…? On the day I flew in, we drove up to Como and spent some time in the city, but the weather was too dreary to really enjoy it. We had some coffee and sat inside most of the time. The second time, we drove up to Cernobbio and Mennaggio, two beautiful cities! A couple of weeks ago, we also visited Lake Como with Josh’s co-worker Jamie and saw Bellaggio. Cernobbio is supposed to be home to George Clooney, so we called to see if he wanted to join us on our tour of Lake Como.

Me and Josh at the villa

Some interesting information about Lake Como (Lago di Como):
·         it is the third largest lake in Italy (next to Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore)
·         It is one of the deepest lakes in Europe- 1320 ft deep (400 meters)
·         Madonna, George Clooney, Gianni Versace and Sylvester Stallone have (or had) homes on Lake Como
·         Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the clones, Ocean’s Twelve, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace have scenes filmed at Lake Como (and we visited a few of those locations!)

Me and Jamie in Bellaggio
Bellaggio- this was not Josh’s first time to Bellaggio, but it was for me and Jamie. The city is very picturesque, but there were a TON of American tourists there. It was weird to be around a bunch of Americans in Italy, I’m not used to that! There aren’t many Americans in Milan (at least not that I have met). When we arrived, we drove around for about 45 minutes before finding parking. It is best to arrive early in the morning for that reason (we arrived around mid-day). We walked around this quaint little town, looking at the seriously expensive cars, the expensive shops with silk (Bellaggio is known for its silk) and other fun things, and enjoyed the amazing view of the Alps. The weather was great, but a storm was rolling in from the Alps, so we took shelter in a wine shop while the storm blew through.  The wine tasting was great (as always!), and they had a machine that automatically poured a perfect sample for us. This machine also put the charge on a card the shop keeper gave us. We could sample as many as we wanted and the card kept a tab for us. Very nice! We hadn't heard back from George at this point... we were a little disappointed but the day was still young.

storm rolling into Bellaggio with the Alps
in the background

Bellaggio from the ferry
After our stroll through Bellaggio and our wine tasting we were pretty relaxed and feeling good. We decided to take the water ferry (car and all!) across the lake so we could visit one of the famous villas used in Star Wars and Casino Royale.

Some amazing flowers at the villa

Villa del Balbianello- this was the hospital that James Bond went to in Casino Royale, and was also the lake country home used in Star Wars that Padma and Anakin were married at. This Villa has an amazing location on a peninsula with views of Lake Como on all sides. The villa was built is 1787 for the Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini, and after several owners it was purchased in 1974 by Guido Monzino (the leader of the first Italian expedition to climb Mount Everest). When Guido died, it was left to the National Trust of Italy. After some time relaxing in the gardens at the villa, still no George... Oh well. We must keep going!
Jamie relaxing and enjoying the view

The house where Anakin and Padma stayed

The green where James Bond is sitting when
Mr Basil visits him to settle the money tranfer

Mr. White's house

On one of our previous trips to Lake Como, Josh and I also visited “Mr. White’s House” from Casino Royale. This house is currently a private residence, so we were only able to see it from the road. We felt a little like the paparazzi taking pictures at the road gate… but it was too amazing not to!

Cernobbio- the supposed home of George Clooney. We still had not heard from George, so we tried to text George again.... The Jolie-Pitts must have been in town visiting; otherwise I know he wouldn’t have missed a visit from the Thielens!! ;) On our way home from Villa del Balbianello, the traffic was completely stopped on the road to Milan. Cernobbio provided a nice reprieve from the parking lot we were sitting in on the highway, so we stopped and had dinner before heading back to Milan.

This was a lot of fun going to Lake Como, although it seems to be a very “American” tourist destination. I’m looking forward to exploring Lake Garda more (we stopped there on the way back from Munich and it was AMAZING).

My favorite part of Lake Como: Villa del Balbianello! The gardens and views are too great to pass up!

1 comment:

  1. 1. LOVE the blog., 2. I was just thinking about a rendezvous with George today! two great minds think alike. 3. I must find a way to get to Italy! The repeated wine tastings are calling my name! Ciao Bella.