Is there a more romantic place than Italy? Probably not. And of all the Italian destinations you could choose for a romantic trip, none may be more beautiful a place than Lake Como. Dramatic mountains sweep down to the sea, and everywhere you look, you see beauty . . . from grande villas, to ancient statuary covered in flowers. The pace is deliciously slow in villages dotting the shore, and the Italian lifestyle, paired with a stunning lakefront, makes for the trip of a lifetime.Villa on the shores of Lago di Como — Photo courtesy of mmechtley
Lake Como, part of the Italian lake district, lies in northern Italy, and Lake Como is only one hour by train from Milan. It's an incredibly popular weekend getaway spot for Milanese, which makes it all the more interesting (albeit crowded) on weekends in its high seasons, which are April/May, and September/October. But it also makes this an easy trip to make, for couples flying into Malpensa. Narrow walkway in Bellagio — Photo courtesy of Old Fogey 1942
Even wiith the Swiss alps and St. Moritz only a few hours to the north, Lake Como still manages to be beautifully warm in the spring and fall. Visitors to the medieval villages that dot its shore fall under a spell that lasts a lifetime. From the food to the scenery to the quality of life it affords, Lake Como is sheer perfection.
The small eastern shore village of Varenna, is a stop on the northbound train from Milan. With cars only able to access a small portion of the village, and the lower levels only accessible to pedestrians via winding walkways and dramatic staircases, Varenna is mostly quiet and incredibly lovely. As in most of Italy, church bells toll through the midday hours when shops close and locals nap. Restaurants, shops and a few inns line the tiny harbor like colorful jewels. Varenna on the eastern shore of Lake Como — Photo courtesy of davharuk
Like most of the Lake Como's villages, Varenna is a stop for the ferry which traverses the entire length of the lake. Dine al fresco at the Hotel Olivedo and listen to the ferry announcer calling out Belllll-ah-jo, Belllll-ah-jo. Hop aboard the ferry for the 20 minute ride to Bellagio and you might run into George Clooney once you arrive. His villa is just around the corner.La Pergola Hotel Terrace — Photo courtesy of David Spender
Just above Varenna is a castle you can visit by cab or short hike. There's also a beautiful waterfall called Fiumelatte, in the next village over, that's worth a hike for active couples. A full day can be spent simply riding the ferry to other villages and seeing them from the dock. The city of Como is easy to explore as a day trip.
The most romantic part of Varenna is the walkway which hugs is shore. Stroll arm in arm after dark and you'll see lovers quietly whispering or kissing all along it, teir silhouettes visible against moonlit water.
A favored hotel - Albergo Milano - has lovely terraces for its best rooms. Book early if you hope to secure one of these romantic nests in high season. But no matter where you stay,