Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

Heading back to Italy this week to finish off the posts about our Italian trip! I wrote about Varenna a few weeks back (see Streets Of Varenna here) but one short post doesn’t do this delightful place justice!

 

P1140004

Gently lapping waters on the shore of Lake Como at Varenna

 

Varenna is a gorgeous old fishing village built into the side of a cliff on the eastern edge of Lake Como. It was, in our opinion,  an absolute gem!  Its location means that it isn’t as easy to access from Milan’s Malpensa airport as the lake’s western side – you have to drive right round the lake to get there or else take the car ferry across from Menaggio. However it is well linked by public transport being on the train line that runs from Tirano in the north down to Lecco. Maybe this attracts more independent tourists and locals rather than package tours. Whilst there were some pretty little artisan craft shops, Varenna didn’t have the same number of souvenir shops as Bellagio on the opposite promontory and this gave it a less “touristy” feel.  Whatever the reason Varenna had a certain “je ne sais quoi” that we found irresistible.

 

 

 

We discovered a little cafe/bar/restaurant down by the lake front on the first day of our trip and liked it so much we went back for lunch later. Nilus Bar isn’t pretentious and the casual lakeside vibe adds to its charm. We got there just in time to get a good spot by the lake in the outdoor terrace area although the unseasonably chilly winds meant we still needed the cafe blinds down. Still, it was hardly anything to complain about (which didn’t stop the couple at the adjacent table who were nonplussed at this very slight disruption to their lakeside view despite the waitress’ explanations about plates potentially going flying and drinks being blown over). We sat back and enjoyed the gently lapping waters and the still excellent view!

 

 

 

Nilus serves the sort of simple food that the Italians seem to take for granted but seems so hard to get back home where pasta dishes are usually far heavier. Fresh local ingredients, simply cooked, superb flavours and all served in a stunning lakeside setting. The special of the day was penne cooked with saffron, prawn and zucchini – it was unbelievably light for a pasta dish and tasted divine! Desserts of delicious tiramisu, a chocolate and caramel gelato concoction, pinot grigio wines and coffees (and tea for me!) were the icing on the cake.

 

 

 

Fortunately there are plenty of opportunities for exercise to walk off any lunchtime excesses. We set off to explore more of Varenna’s hillside alleys, narrow cobbled streets and lakeside paths – more next week!

 

 

img_3298

Cobbled Hillside Street In Varenna

 

Copyright © 2016 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

37 thoughts on “Varenna – Jewel By The Lake Part 1

  1. Gosh that looks so beautiful, the food sounds absolutely delicious, but I think the long walks are probably most necessary!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yes the long walks are essential as the food and drink is so enticing! Having said that we were impressed with how light the pasta was – no rich heavy sauces just simple fresh ingredients. Lake Como is one of my favourite places – just felt so relaxed there! 🙂

      Like

  2. Lovely. And could I have a cone of gelato please? Thanks for the complete tour. (Suzanne)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome Suzanne! Needless to say the gelato was superb! 🙂

      Like

      1. I never miss gelato when we travel in Italy. It is so goooooooooooooooood!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Nothing like it Suzanne – I find it hard to choose from all the amazing flavours!!!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely captures Rosemary as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! The photos take themselves here – hard to get a bad shot it’s all so beautiful! 🙂

      Like

  4. At first look I thought that pasta was chips. So glad it wasn’t. Never been to Lake Como but from your pictures it reminds me of Lake Constance in Germany/Switzerland/Austria!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No definitely not chips Andrew! Very simple pasta to look at but tastes delicious. I’ve heard Lake Constance is very beautiful too!

      Like

      1. Lake Constance is absolutely wonderful and certainly gets my recommendation!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. On the wish list! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Another fabulous little place and more gorgeous photos Rosemary – it’s just picture perfect. The food sounds mouth watering as well but then I’ve never had anything less than that anytime I’ve been in Italy. Did you hike up all those steps – looks like there would be some more lovely little streets and places to explore up there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a gorgeous place Joy and just lovely to sit by the lake having lunch! Yes we did hike up the steps – it was quite a walk to the top of the village but so interesting. There is a lovely town square at the top and then all these little passageways leading down to the lake. You never quite know where you are going to come out but we found our way back down again! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. restlessjo says:

    I do so miss Italy when I read your posts, Rosemay. 🙂 Hope you’ve got time off for good behaviour this weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was such a lovely trip Jo – it makes me feel nostalgic when I’m writing up the posts!! Just recovering from a day trip to the zoo – great fun but I’m taking it easy tomorrow! Hope your ankle is feeling better! 🙂

      Like

      1. restlessjo says:

        Thanks, hon. Just had a gentle limp along the sea front 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s good to hear hope it continues to improve! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  7. KerryCan says:

    This looks like the most perfect town! I love that photo of the narrow street.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kerry – yes Varenna is a delightful place and the narrow cobbled streets were so pretty! Not sure how practical they would be if you actually lived in those houses but it’s lovely to visit! 🙂

      Like

  8. fifi + hop says:

    Lake Como is high up on my list, need to get there. Every time we try to plan a trip to another country we always come back to Italy. Beautiful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Lake Como is an absolutely beautiful place – really anywhere in the Italian Lakes region is and I can highly recommend it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I really miss the Italian food and especially the gelato. I would like very much to have one right now ! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The gelato is just superb Gin isn’t it? I gather you’ve been having a heatwave in the UK so I can well imagine you’d need a gelato or two! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I love the texture. Italian ice creams are just delicious 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Lake Como is a gem. Thougj I was at Mezzagra. Not sure where that might be in comparison to Varenna. I will have to ask Mr Google! And the Italian gelati is to die for!! I also like the very cute historic railway station. That was a nice surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a wonderful place! I just looked Mezzagra up and it’s between Tremezzo and Lenno so on the other side of the lake to Varenna. Varenna is almost directly opposite Menaggio. We must have driven through Mezzagra when we drove to and from the airport (we were actually staying in Menaggio and visited Varenna a couple of times by ferry). We also went to both Lenno (and Villa del Balbianello) and Tremezzo (for lunch and to see the nearby Villa Carlotta). We liked the cute little railway station – another plus for Varenna it has rail links! Italian gelati is divine – so many superb places but one shop that stood out was the gelato shop at Lenno it was out of this world if that’s possible! 🙂

      Like

      1. Just across the lake, hey! You must have not been far from George Clooney!! LOL! And I also went to see Villa Carlotta. All those marvellous statues! And lovely gardens. I don’t think I have posted about that but maybe I will in time! I must confess that during my time in Italy, I had to have a daily (sometimes twice daily) gelati fix

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We were near George Clooney’s place when we went to Lenno – no time to pop in unfortunately!! We saw it on a previous visit to Lake Como from the ferry! Villa Carlotta was gorgeous hope to do a post on it in the next couple of weeks or so as have so many photos! Love the gelati and also the Italian “Happy Hour” such a civilised custom! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes. Agree on the happy hour and the Aperitivos. I’ll look forward to reading about Villa Carlotta from your perspective!!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I have so many photos I will have decide what to leave out! We loved the gardens they were so beautifully set out! 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Yes, and very well manicured!

              Liked by 1 person

            3. The upkeep must take ages!!

              Like

    2. Thanks for following my blog too – much appreciated! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

What Do You Think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: