Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Welcome to Lake Como (guest blogger)

As the main focus of this site is to promote the beauty of the northern italian lake areas, the following article and images comes from Chiara who manages the blog Italy Lakes.net.

Welcome to Lake Como

Lake Como is one of largest and the most well-known of northern Italy's lakes. Thanks to its beauty, the diversity of its landscapes and its mild summers and winters, the Como area is a favorite destination for tourists from all over Northern Europe.

Among the most famous of Lake Como's localities is undoubtedly Cernobbio. A popular holiday resort at the foot of Mount Bisbino, Cernobbio is also well-known for its numerous elegant and luxurious villas, the most famous of which is Villa d'Este. As well as Villa d'Este, must-visits in the area around Cernobbio include Villa Erba, Villa Pizzo, Villa Fontanelle, and Villa Bernasconi. Then there are the Buco della Volpe – Fox Hole – and Zocca d’Ass caves. Last but not least, there is the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Santuario della Beata Vergine at the top of Mount Bisbino.

Another popular destination for visitors to Lake Como is the charming lakeside village of Bellagio which sits where the lake splits into two leg-like sections.

At the end of Bellagio's Via Garibaldi main street, on the left of the small square and at the foot of the Serbelloni Gardens hill, is St. James' Basilica – the oldest in Bellagio. Situated on the promontory to the east of the village with its magnificent park is Villa Serbelloni. Another building worthy of note is the neoclassical Villa Melzi.

Another famous spot on Lake Come is Laglio, which Hollywood star George Clooney made Laglio famous when he bought a magnificent lakeside villa in the village. In Laglio itself is the baroque Church of St. George – chiesa di San Giorgio – and not far from Laglio in the hamlet of Vergonzano is the elegant Villa Melograno, otherwise known as Fasola. Also worth a visit is the charming village of Briennio with its well preserved medieval centre.

For more information on Lake Como and northern Italy's other scenic lakes and to find out about festivals, shows, concerts, exhibitions, sporting events and more, hop over to the blog Italy Lakes.net (http://www.italylakes.net/).

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Hiking the Anello Monte Muggio: the colors of fall

Fall in Valle Varrone

Long hikes at what is probably the best time of year are sadly lacking as we busy ourselves with preparing the garden for winter, but sometimes the actual reason is that weekends are often entirely rained out. In current weather events, the peninsula has been hit with heavy rainfall, bringing much difficulty and terribly tragic circumstances in certain areas around the country. So far we've had no problems or warnings in the chestnut forest, and it's insane to think that just a week ago we were hiking under serene italian skies on our first fall outing.

From Alpe Giumello (Casargo, LC): this is a relatively easy 2.5 hour loop trail that rambles around the base of Monte Muggio. There are a few tracts that need to be scrambled up or down carefully so I wouldn't suggest attempting this in winter or early spring when ice or snowmelt makes the trail extremely dangerous. We've gone sledding here in winter when everything was covered in deep snow, but now that we've seen the fall foliage, a repeat in late spring is possible if conditions are safe. Lake and mountain views from all angles are gorgeous, and the well-used path is not hard to follow even when going through a stretch of forest on Muggio's northside. Beginning from the parking lot (pink x on the map) continue on the access road to the left and through località Alpe Giumello; a small chapel comes into view on the right. Trail signs say Anello Monte Muggio until near the end where Alpe Giumello points the way home. Lunch at Ristoro Genio has always been fantastic!

Ristoro Genio

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