Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

We visited so many delightful towns, villas and gardens during our Lake Como stay but I still haven’t written about one of the most famous – Bellagio known as the “Pearl Of Lake Como” for good reason!

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Bellagio Lake Como

 

We have been here a couple of times (back in 2009 and in April this year). Situated on the promontory that separates the 2 inverted “Y” shaped arms of the lake, Bellagio enjoys a delightful situation. There are expansive views of the lake and mountains in all directions. It enjoys road access down to Lecco in the south and onto Bergamo (with its airport) in the south east. Roads also go down to Milan and its air and road links in the south west. The lake ferries shuttle you between Menaggio (our home base), Varenna and Bellagio at regular intervals and the views on approach are delightful.

 

Our latest visit was relatively short as we were keen to go further up the lake to the Abbazia di Piona (see here). However we still had time to wander around the pretty streets, many of them lined with shops selling a myriad of souvenirs! The staircase of Serbelloni Hill is in the heart of the town and is crammed full of boutiques and craft shops. Originally there was a moat here to protect the fortified village in medieval times. As the peninsula is gently undulating here, the streets are not quite as steep or narrow as those in Varenna (see herehere and here).

 

 

I was on a mission to find some silk scarves as the Como region is famous for its silk production. Once manufactured in the lakeside area, silk is now generally imported though I did see a recent television programme, which highlighted the silk industry and the revival of artisanal silk production in the area. The silk scarves and ties are all made in the area, even if the raw materials are imported. As you would expect, the scarves are exquisitely made with Italian flair and style. I got rather carried away in Azalea but I must add the customer service was wonderful and there was no pressure to buy. However after having got what seemed like half of the shop’s wares out on the counter, I did feel it would be rude to walk away empty handed! So I didn’t!!

 

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Le Chic En Rose In Bellagio

 

Further up the hill you reach the Via Garibaldi. In medieval times there was a drawbridge at this point, which was the entrance to the fortified village. Turning right you come across the charming Romanesque Chiesa di San Giorgio, which dates back to 1120. A quiet and tranquil place, the church is a peaceful contrast to the hustle and bustle down lakeside. It has a solitary bell tower overlooking a small side street.

 

 

If you turn left at Via Garibaldi you reach the larger church of San Giacomo. This basilica dates from the 11th and 12th centuries and contains many beautiful artworks including mosaics, an altar and a piece called “A Deposition Of Christ” by the Perugino school. We walked round the exterior but time constraints meant the interior will have to wait for another time.

 

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Basilica Of San Giacomo Bellagio

 

After our stroll round town we wandered back down to the lake in search of some refreshments. You are spoilt for choice with the many cafes and restaurants jostling for space and customers by the lake. There are also some beautiful walking spots and equally gorgeous gardens. It is not difficult to see what drew the composer Franz Liszt to Bellagio in the 19th century.  He stayed here with his partner, Countess d’Agoult, from 1836 to 1837 and there is a commemorative headstone to this interlude up in the village. Their daughter Cosima married the composer Richard Wagner. In a letter to a friend Liszt wrote, “When you write the story of two happy lovers, set them on the shores of Lake Como”. More of Bellagio’s charms to follow next week. Ciao for now!

 

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Water’s Edge – Lake Como At Bellagio

 

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

17 thoughts on “Bellagio – Pearl Of The Lake

  1. Another stunning place Rosemary, it just looks perfect! Isn’t this where George Clooney has a villa, if it is I can see why. Sounds great they are making silk scarves and ties in the area again – sounds like you got the perfect reminders of this gorgeous town!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joy! Yes George Clooney has a villa on Lake Como but on the opposite side of the lake just south of Villa Balbianello Lenno which we also visited (Balbianello not George Clooney’s place!). Really anywhere along the lake is gorgeous – must be wonderful to have your own private garden going down to the lakeside! It was so interesting seeing the programme on the silk industry – I think it was on an Australian design show anyway they are trying to actually produce the raw silk again in the Como area. The scarves and ties are exquisite and so easy to bring back as souvenirs not taking up too much luggage space! Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, you could have pretended Rosemary that George had you round!! The scarves sound wonderful, I would have most likely gone overboard with them!! We’re chilling out this weekend, school holidays have started but unfortunately so has the rain….. hope your weekend is a wonderful one too.

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        1. Well we did sail past George’s place on our first visit a few years back Joy! We’d heard all about the mansion from a couple of lovely ladies we’d met from the mid west of the USA on their first trip to Europe! They were so excited and told us that he lived in a white mansion with a grey tiled roof that was in need of repair. Sure enough we immediately recognised it as there aren’t too many white mansions on Lake Como and yes the roof did look like it needed some work! Perhaps Amal has organised all that now? Next time we’ll call in for a cuppa – it did look delightful with its own private jetty 🙂 Sorry to hear that it’s raining with you. We have had a real taste of spring this week but yesterday was rather cool and showery so we abandoned plans to take our granddaughters to a local show and all went out for lunch instead. A relaxing day today and catching up on the blog. I’m sure you would love the scarves – so many colours and patterns the choice is endless! Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend in spite of the inclement weather 🙂

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  2. Gill Cowa says:

    What lovely memories your blog has brought me. Thanks so much. That climb up those cobbled, worn steps to those interesting ‘bustin at the seams’ shops…gentle sunlight, splashes of colourful flowers…picturesque like I had never seen. Beaut blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wonderful to hear that Gill! Thanks so much – isn’t Bellagio a gorgeous spot? Wandering round was delightful such a stunning setting on the lake. The flowers were so pretty as well and I loved the old buildings they had so much charm 🙂

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  3. fifi + hop says:

    How absolutely charming and beautiful. I’ve heard so much about Lake Como I really do hope to make it there some day soon. Looks and sounds like the ideal vacation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yes Lake Como is a delightful place we felt so relaxed there! I do think it helped that both times we’ve been it’s been at the start of the season. Even in April there were still plenty of visitors especially in the central park of the lake but it’s not as packed as it would be in high summer! There are so many cute places tucked away too especially in the northern part of the lake 🙂

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  4. Inger says:

    Jaw dropping opening photo! That blue water and all the old colourful buildings. We haven’t visited Lake Como, but seems like we should put it on the agenda! Sounds like there might be some nice shopping as well:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for calling by 🙂 Yes Bellagio is very beautiful as you can see – the colours, flowers, old streets, the lake .. it adds up to a very special place. With the mountains as a backdrop and so many gorgeous villas, gardens and pretty villages Lake Como is a lovely part of the world! The shopping is very good too and there are some delightful cafes, bars and restaurants! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. RuthsArc says:

    Thanks for another fascinating virtual tour, Rosemary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome Ruth glad you enjoyed the tour! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Very jealous! I’ve wanted to visit Bellagio for some time now. It just looks like an idyllic place full of natural beauty and beautiful people!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a wonderful place Ting – beautiful scenery, boats, cafes, gardens and friendly people. It’s accessible yet you really feel you’re getting away from it all really hope you can get there! 😃

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  7. restlessjo says:

    That opening shot is my very favourite aspect of Bellagio, Rosemay. Sublime 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jo – it’s such a beautiful street with the pretty shops, wrought iron lamps, soft warm colours and the lake in the background! A lovely stroll up to the top of the village 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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