The Sea Rebel: Gondolas and Castagnas, Part 3
Lake Como is one of the most beautiful spots on Earth. In point of fact it is one of a trio of breathtaking lakes in northern Italy. Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta each have their own unique charm as well.
From the town of Cavenago Brianza near Milan, my cousin Bruna’s husband Fabio drove us up to Lake Como and the village of Varenna where we had a wonderful meal at the Hotel Albergo Olivedo. Nearby, we saw the Castello di Vezio (which has a spectacular view of the lake). Later that day we loaded Fabio’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta on a ferry and took it across the lake to Bellagio, which is sometimes called “the pearl of Lake Como.” We returned to Cavenago Brianza that night.
This would be just part of my many adventures in Italy.Following my first three nights in Venice, I traveled with Bruna and Fabio Duranti and spent six nights with them at Cavenago Brianza (3), Bergeggi (2) and Lavagna (1). In between, Fabio drove us over 1,000 kilometers in his Giulietta to places that included Murialdo (my grandmother Fiorentina’s hometown), plus Calizzano and Millesimo. On the Ligurian Sea we visited Noli (which was briefly a Maritime Republic like Genoa and Venice) and the town of Final Liguria. We also went to the beautiful coastal towns of Camogli (which has the world’s largest frying pan) and Sestri Levante. Traveling with Bruna and Fabio, I would see the Leaning Tower of Pisa for the first time and the old Roman amphitheater in Lucca.
After my visit with my Italian cousins I did two Trafalgar Tours in Italy. A Northern Italy including Cinque Terre Tour (8 nights) led by tour director Deborah Wiggin that included nights in Milan (3), Baveno (2), La Spezia (2) and Parma (1). On this tour I covered 1,400 kilometers. Highlights included the La Scala Opera Building, the Castle Sforza and the Villa Taranto. We visited Genoa (and the home of Columbus), Isole Belle, Isole Madre, Stressa, Sarzana and Santa Margherita. I took a short train ride to visit Monterossa and Vernazza . At Roncole, I saw the home of Giuseppe Verdi (Joe Green in English).
My 2nd Trafalgar Tour began in Rome. To get there I took the Italo Train from Milan to Rome (600 kilometers). Once there I began Trafalgar’s Best of Italy Tour (13 nights) led by tour director Andy (Andrea) Blasi. I spent nights in Rome (4), Sorrento (2), Venice (2), Baveno (2), Florence (2) and Assisi (1). On this tour I covered 3,500 kilometers. Highlights included the Vatican, the Coliseum, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and the Pantheon. We visited Ravenna, Capri, Pompeii, Sienna and Positano. The Gucci Museum in Florence was one of the more unusual places that I saw.
Following my 2nd Trafalgar Tour, I boarded a Trenitalia Train in Rome and headed to Bari (460 kilometers). In Italy I had traveled 5,960 kilometers (3,703 mikes). From Bari, I would board a ferry for Greece to take my 3rd Trafalgar Tour and board another cruise ship.