Villa del Balbianello

As Villa del Balbianello appeared in both a James Bond and a Star Wars movie (Casino Royale and Attack of the Clones, respectively), I was expecting something amazing. I was not disappointed. Villa del Balbianello sits on a promontory above Lake Como. It, along with its extravagant gardens, are built vertically and seem to tumble…



The small city of Como lies at the southern tip of the southwest arm of Lake Como. Look closely and you’ll see a few remaining city walls from the 12th century. The streets’ grid design is courtesy of Julius Caesar, who did a bit of urban planning after the Romans moved in in the 1st…



Varenna is a short ferry ride across Lake Como from Bellagio and is just as attractive. Colorful old buildings sit among lush gardens spilling down the mountain toward the lake. We caught a late-afternoon ferry over and were in a rush to hike to Castello di Vezio, so we hurried through the small, charming, tourist-laden…

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Laglio is a miniscule commune located at the foot of Mount Colmegnone. Its town center consists of a church, a post office and two convenience shops (both were closed), one of which displayed an old calendar of George Clooney in its window. Life is pretty quiet in this steep, sprawling area with less than 1,000…

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Cernobbio is another gem on Lake Como. It only has around 7,000 residents, so if you’re driving too quickly you’ll miss it. It’s worth stopping to see the small town center, church and the extravagant villas along the lake. The villas are left over from when Lombard nobility flocked here in the summer. Many of…



In Bellagio, we followed a hilly path that runs along the side of Giardini di Villa Serbelloni, a sprawling garden, and ended up in Pescallo, a picturesque fishing town on the Lecco-side of the lake. The main population seemed to be cats, who had their own access to the town’s upper level.