Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Lake Como Awaits



Villa del Balbianello

The Mountains Slide Swiftly Into The Depths of The Lake. Unlike Tuscany where the villages perch atop hills for visual advantage and protection, here they cluster at the lake’s edge, connected by narrow roads carved out of solid rock. Boats crisscross between tiny towns at all hours of the day.

Long past sunrise on the plains to the south, the sun struggles to peek over the mountains. The light shifts and changes by the minute, first hitting the lush green mountaintops on the west side of the lake. Eventually, the beams reach the water’s edge, highlighting the red tile roofs and the peach and cream buildings. The bells from the church start to peal and the day begins in Argegno.



Lake, looking north from the B&B

Dolce Far Niente

Argegno dates back to Roman times, though little evidence remains – perhaps the arched bridge over the River Telo, but documentation is scarce. The population today hovers under 1,000. It boasts no major tourist attractions – just beauty and the joy of discovering how the locals live. It makes a great home base for relaxing; as the Italians say, “Dolce far niente – sweet doing nothing.”

That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. Put on your walking shoes and explore the steep, narrow lanes of the old town. There are few shops and those keep erratic hours. Don’t look for a grocery store. A couple of small shops carry necessities. We found a small alimentari where, with lots of pointing and a little basic Italian, we procured sandwiches of deli meats and fresh, crusty bread for picnicking on several of our days’ jaunts.

Thanks to the regular ferry service, it’s easy to visit towns up and down Lake Como. While many favor Bellagio, we spent more time in charming little Varenna on the east side of the lake and Menaggio, Lenno and Tremezzo on the Argegno side. Tremezzo is the location of the Villa Carlotta, a 17th-century villa noted for its art and gardens.

Boarding the lake ferry

Near Lenno, from the boat, we spotted Richard Branson’s mansion – apparently being a Virgin can be profitable. On the southeast side of Lenno is the beautiful Villa del Balbianello. Built for a Prince of the Church in the late 18th century, its ultimate owner was a wealthy explorer who filled the villa with art and mementos of his travels. The setting was used in several movies including “Star Wars: Episode II” and “Casino Royale.”

Lenno is also the starting point for a walk up the mountain to a series of 14 shrines (1635-1710) leading to the Santuario della Madonna del Soccorso, which dates back to the 1500s. The walk is described as “easy,” however my son-in-law’s assessment can only be nicely translated as “easy to a mountain goat.”

Though the lakeside vistas were breathtaking, we got a bird’s-eye view by taking a cable car from Argegno to the mountainside village of Pigra. In the center of the town is a covered stone trough where, before electricity, the women would gather to do their washing. There is still one older resident (without a washing machine) who does her laundry the old-fashioned way.

 Cable car to Pigra

Cheery Aerie

There was nothing old-fashioned about our home away from home. Bed and breakfast owners Paul Wright and Nicole Andrew are British ex-pats who live in Argegno. Nicole commutes daily to Milan, where she works in the British Embassy, and Paul is an artist whose work can take him anywhere.

Their home is perched high on the side of the mountain above the main lake road. Multi-leveled and modern, the accommodations were bright and comfortable, the view was glorious and our hosts were exceptional. That they spoke English was a real plus; they not only gave us good local information, but made booking reservations and translating train schedules a breeze.

Balconies run the length of the front of the house, and our room had its own private balcony and lake view. Above our bed was a colorful assemblage created by Paul, and some of his watercolors decorated the walls. In his studio on the bottom floor, we enjoyed looking at more paintings and examples of some of his murals and trompe l’oeil work.

Our Bed & Breakfast: 87 steps up from the street level to the lowest level of the B&B. Great Exercise!

Our bedroom

Mangia! Mangia!

To many, Italy is synonymous with good food and, though we ate simply, we concur. Pizza was a mainstay meal and it was done very well at the Hotel Argegno. Traveling with a vegetarian (our daughter) and a veggie-hater (my husband Jack) presented some challenges but the Four Cheese Pizza with taleggio, gorgonzola, fontina and mozzarella pleased all palates. Lunches consisted of deli-selected breads, cheeses and (for Jack and me) meats.

Alimentari – good spot for picnic supplies

The one thing we all agreed on was gelato. Walking as much as we did, we ate the icy treat at least once every day without worrying about weight. Our favorite spot was Il Gelato di Zoe – and not just because that’s our daughter’s name. We were adventuresome at first, trying flavors like fig and melon but quickly settled into favorites – wild cherry and dark chocolate.

Gelato

I firmly believe that gelato has a terroir as important as wine. It simply tastes best in Italy. And to my mind, enjoying it in an outdoor café on the shores of Lake Como is as good as it gets.

Need to Know

Lake Como, shaped roughly like a man, is north of Milan. The town of Como is on the toe of the west leg, about 30 miles away. The most famous town on the lake is Bellagio. There’s not an easier way to say it – it’s in the crotch. Argegno is on the west side of the west leg.

Along the Telo River in Argegno

Unless you have rented a car, getting to Argegno is a bit challenging. The train from Milan goes only as far as Como on the west side of the lake. From there, there’s a bus to Argegno – inexpensive, but remember you’ll be juggling luggage. Taking a taxi is also an option.

Learn a little Italian. “Grazie,” “prego” and “mi scusi” will get you smiles, but you need a bit more to find out “where,” “when” and “how much.” The Metropolitan Library System has beginner language courses in their database. They’re free and you’ll feel better prepared.

For information about the B&B, visit wrightart.com. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

New Orleans Bound: Heading Down to the Big Easy

Steamboats to street musicians, incredible food and a perennial party atmosphere – the Crescent City is a prime destination year-round.

Off to See the Wizard in the Myriad Gardens

In her ongoing travels through Oklahoma, author and photographer M.J. Alexander goes over the rainbow to OKC for a screening

Culinary Cruises: Haute Cuisine on the High Seas

To find new heights of delicious refinement, head to sea and explore the improved dining possibilities on luxury cruises.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Friends to Follow

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

September 2017

Join us for "From Plant to Paper to Page," a three-day workshop by our upcoming exhibiting artist Megan Singleton! Participants will learn the basics of making paper by hand from local...

Cost: $350

Where:
[Artspace] at Untitled
1 NE 3rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: [Artspace] at Untitled
Telephone: 405.815.9995
Contact Name: Holly Hodge
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

OKCMOA’s Roof Terrace gives visitors the ultimate downtown experience every Thursday evening from April through October with live local music, the best views of downtown OKC, a relaxing...

Cost: $5

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Contact Name: Becky Weintz
Website »

More information

Organizations making a positive impact on the health of Oklahomans will be honored at the 2017 Champions of Health Gala. All proceeds benefit the Oklahoma Caring Foundation, a non-profit...

Cost: TBD

Where:
Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Caring Foundation
Telephone: 855.628.8642
Contact Name: Ben Johnson
Website »

More information

In this installment Jerrod Smith, creator and owner of The Society and Weldon Jack talks about how he balances art and his businesses followed by a performance by Gall.

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary's Showroom
1146 N Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come find your lost shaker of salt on the Oklahoma River - Hawaiian print shirt optional but recommended! View the evening ferry schedule online for evening departure times, and pay regular...

Cost: $6-15

Where:
All OK River Cruise Landings
Oklahoma City, OK  73109


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

Ever wanted to go to church with your favorite Christian artists? The Big Church Night Out Tour is not your typical tour - it’s going to be a time of meaningful worship that also will include...

Cost: $18-$100

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 South Lewis
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Walk A Mile in Their Boots will help bring awareness to childhood cancer. At The Toby Keith Foundation/OK Kids Korral, we see children fighting the battle of their lives. We are asking our...

Cost: Race $25-$35, Activities: Free

Where:
Chatenay Square
10600 S. Pennsylvania Avenue
, OK  73170
View map »


Sponsor: The Toby Keith Foundation
Telephone: 405-271-6552
Contact Name: Lauren Polchinski
Website »

More information

Join a weekend of the arts in Guthrie, Oklahoma's landmark historic district! Stroll among the artists, taste fine wines from featured wineries, listen to live music at the two bandstands,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Guthrie
Guthrie, OK  73044


Telephone: 405.282.7778
Contact Name: Tera Dahlby
Website »

More information

Saturday cartoons aren’t just for the children anymore. Share the classics with your crew every Saturday on an Oklahoma River Cruise. Kids 6 and under ride free.

Cost: $15 (free for kids 6 and under)

Where:
Exchange Landing
1503 Exchange Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

Come find your lost shaker of salt on the Oklahoma River - Hawaiian print shirt optional but recommended! View the evening ferry schedule online for evening departure times, and pay regular...

Cost: $6-15

Where:
All OK River Cruise Landings
Oklahoma City, OK  73109


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

Witness the miracles at The Children's Center Rehabilitation Hospital at our inaugural gala event: Miracles on 39th Street. Join us to celebrate our beautiful new four-story, 100,000 square...

Cost: $500

Where:
The Children's Center Rehabilitation Hospital
6800 N.W. 39th Expressway
Bethany, OK  73008
View map »


Sponsor: The Children's Center Rehabilitation Hospital
Telephone: 405.789.6711
Contact Name: Melissa Richey
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags