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Lake Como Travel Guide

Barrie & Julie Webb

Believe the hype, Lake Como really is the lake of beauty where tranquility, beauty and relaxation await in abundance. The way of life is so laid back it is easy to forget which day of the week it is as you embroil yourself in the locals way of life. Strolls around villas or lakeside promenades, endless wine enfused alfresco lunches and evening walks with the preening "peacock like" Italians over a freshly made gelato are just a flavour of life here.

Food and fashion are a recurring theme - buy some rocket from the local fruit and veg shop - and he'll ask you what you are making and suggest recipies for you! Visit the boutiques in Como and they will help pick out a shirt that matches your colouring or shoes that suit your style before gift wrapping it (which they have made into an art form!).

Perhaps it is easier to remember what time of year it is by the food on offer. The celebrity chefs preach to us that eating in season is the way to go - here it is the only option! Artichoke risotto in spring, caprese salad in summer with ripe juicy tomatoes and freshly picked basil milky buffalo mozzarella. Autumn bring porcini with polenta whilst a visit to the lake is not complete without sampling lavarella, the local fish of the lake teamed with treviso in winter.

The local markets are probably the best way to source local ingredients either in Como or scattered 'round the lake for fresh local produce. Demeglio's in Lenno, and also at San Fedele, has the best meat whilst Bennets is a huge supermarket in Cernobbio for the weekly "big" shop!

Favorite Restaurants on Lake Como

Eating out is something the Italian's regard as not so much a treat but a way of life. As a rule anything where the chef or waiter announce three or four dishes without the aid of menu is your guide that the food on offer will be freshly prepared using local produce with the minimum of fuss. Avoid anything with a tourist menu or where the menu has been translated into many languages. The year old adadge of eating where the locals do is as true as ever here on Lake Como.

Perennial favourites include:

  • Gato Nero, Cernobbio for the views, glamour and truffle risotto
  • San Anna near Argegno for the local meat dishes and never ending wine list
  • Elsa's in Como City for the fish (try the squid with potatoes, tomatoes, rocket and lemon)

Things to Do on Lake Como

If you have an energy left after the plentiful array of food what better way than to walk it off then to visit one of the many lakeside villas.

Garden lovers? Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo will keep you occupied all day.

Romantics? Villa Balbianello, as featured in the recent James Bond fillm, will enspire and ensnare you in equal measure with its panoramic lake views and idyllic lakeside setting.

Buses and boats run on time and in with regularity. A trip to Bellagio is always a must when visiting the lakes, a chocolate box lakeside village setting reachable by boat or car. The only minus is the place is so flocked with tourists that you are more likely to hear an American accent before an Italian one. Whilst I enjoyed my time there, it was the only time I felt like a tourist on the lake and felt it was time to retreat to my apartment and do what the italians do best.

Now what was it for dinner tonight? Ah, yes ... parmigiana melanzana with a bottle of inferno red from Valtelina. I feel quite Italian myself, must sort my wardrobe now!

Resources

www.regione.lombardia.it: Region of Lombardy official website

Get more information from the Wikitravel Lake Como Travel Guide.


Barrie & Julie Webb run www.italianapartments.co.uk.

© Barrie & Julie Webb, 2007

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