Lake Como, located in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, is very beautiful. The lake is shaped kind of like an??upside down??Y or like a person with no arms running. It’s surrounded by mountains, and just like in Milford Sound, the mountains continue as steeply below the surface as they do above, making Lake Como the deepest lake in Europe. I believe its maximum depth is over 1,320 feet. However, it’s not very wide and the ferries reach the opposite shore in about fifteen minutes. We stayed in Menaggio, which is on the west side, slightly above the fork in the upside down Y.
Like in Cinque Terre, Lake Como has villages built more or less vertically on the side of the mountain. That’s about where the similarities end, however. Cinque Terre feels rural and??laid back. Lake Como is more fancy and??upper class. There are historic, $50 million villas along its shores and many rich people and celebrities live there,??including George Clooney. He was actually in town and had been spotted out in Bellagio a few days before we arrived, but unfortunately we didn’t see him.
One day we went boating on the lake. We had to reserve the boat in advance and the weather looked pretty nasty in the morning. Luckily, it cleared up and we had an awesome time cruising around and checking out the above-mentioned villas. We drove by Clooney’s place a couple of times, but all we were able to see is that he needs a new roof. ??We also saw??Villa del Balbianello, where parts of??Casino Royale??were filmed. Most of all, though, we just relaxed and enjoyed cruising around.
Since we were so close to Switzerland, we decided to take a day trip over there and check it out. In less than an hour on a bus, we were in Lugano, a surprisingly big city on the edge of Lake Lugano. Like Lake Como, Lake Lugano is deep and surrounded by mountains, but the water in Lugano is a beautiful emerald color. We visited on a Sunday, so most of the shops in town were closed, which was just as well, as everything was very, very expensive. Even with the stores closed, I enjoyed our afternoon there. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of Switzerland in September!
We spent the rest of our time at Lake Como shopping, visiting the villages of Varenna and Bellagio, puzzling over foreign washing machines, drinking wine, watching the Olympics, and keeping our eyes peeled for celebrities. Not a bad three days, overall.