The dreamiest place on Earth. I understand completely why George Clooney bought a house here. The kindest locals, most delicious yet reasonably priced food, gelato, limoncello, and the stunning paesina stone that is native to the land. I could have stayed here forever. (The near-death drive through Switzerland to get here could have had something to do with that, haha). Here are a few pictures from a short road trip through Varenna, Italy in the fall of 2016.
Villa Cipressi Hotel is insanely charming with its rich history, breathtaking views, and satisfying food. From here you can take the walking path along the lake, or follow the cobblestone streets up into the town. The magical bells from St George’s Church can be heard often. This church is just down the hill from the hotel was built in 1313. There is a really great shopping area down by the lake called II Pozzo, which means The Well. Many of the stores here are owned by a man named Giorgio and his wife. This is a great place to pick up a souvenir like a piece of jewelry composed of Paesina or art resembling this beautiful native stone that naturally resembles the landscapes of Lake Como.
Close to St George’s Church is St John the Baptist, and it is the mother church of Varenna, built over 700 years ago in the eleventh century. It may have actually been these church’s bells that we heard often. This small church only takes ten minutes to see, but it is worth it with all of the frescoes dating back to the 1400’s.
There are so many gorgeous towns around Lake Como, be sure to have plenty of time to explore them. Since we drove through Europe, we took a ferry from Varenna just west to Menaggio for a very brief visit before driving up to Switzerland. Similar to Varenna, Menaggio was full of cafes, shops, locals, and tourists. The cobblestone roads and pastel villas were similar to those across the lake. Here I purchased some limoncello from a local liquor store and sat down for a latte and tiramisu, taking the scenery all in before driving to another country.
Although our hotel was an absolute dream with mountainous views looking over a deep blue lake, exotic flowers, and melodious chimes from the local church bells; make sure you don’t keep the window open for two long. The mosquitos are awful and the lack of sleep they cause will make you never forget to keep the windows shut the rest of your stay. Enjoy! I hope to see you again Lake Como.
The view from Hotel Villa Cipressi in Varenna, Italy.