Lake Como is dotted with many little towns and villages. There is a very efficient ferry service so it’s relatively easy to explore the area.
I took a ferry to Varenna, a small fishing village about 30 minutes away by ferry.
It was another beautiful sunny day. There were not many passengers and the ferry left as soon as everyone was boarded. I found a seat on the top deck under the shade and settled myself to enjoy the view.
We moved away along the shore. The mountain behind Lenno and Tremezzo was a patch of green. A long strip of rugged cliffs cut across its midriff and ran over to the other side. Houses with terra-cotta roofs provided a perfect match for the setting.
There is a reason why Italian towns and villages are so beautiful. I was told that Italians have always taken pride in the beauty of their own commune. In the old days towns and villages would compete against one another to be the most beautiful in the area. If you were to build or repaint your house, a local committee would have a few “recommended colours’ for you to choose from. Sounds rather autocratic but the end result is now for all to see.
The ferry crossed over to the east side of the lake, passing San Giovanni and its beautiful palazzi and gardens before stopping at Bellagio.
A lot of passengers got off here. Bellagio is a small town on the east side of Lake Como. Luxury hotels and restaurants stood on the water front. It looked like a pretty place where one could easily spend half a day exploring. It was a busy time of day and people were eating lunch.
The ferry went round a small promontory and Varenna came into view. A small cluster of houses lay right on the water’s edge. I disembarked and walked along a path along the shore to the village centre. Time for lunch. I went into a nice airy restaurant called Vecchia Varenna by the water and was taken to a corner table. Lovely!
It had been weeks since I was given a menu in English. I had parsley pasta cooked in a cherry tomato base and locally dried fish. It was absolutely delicious!
There was no hurry to go anywhere so I sat with my coffee and enjoyed the view and the ambience.
Varenna was a lovely little place. There were a few interesting shops and an artist’s studio up a steep flight of steps. Unfortunately it was closed. I followed the path and came to the other side of the promontory. It was much quieter here, with pretty old houses and narrow alleyways. There were a couple of hotels, one of which had a terrazza overlooking the lake.
I walked up some stone steps and found myself on the main road. I went through the square and came back down to the shore. It was a very pleasant walk.
I took the same path to return to the pier. At this time the place was filling up with tourists. It was time to head back.