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Varenna and Lake Como

Like a breeze 
Or sunbeam over your domain I passed
In motion without pause
But ye have left your beauty with me
A serene accord of forms and colors
Passive yet endowed
In their submissiveness with power as sweet
And gracious, almost I dare to say 
As virtue is, or goodness; sweet as love
William Wordworth, Excerpt from The Prelude, Lake of Como

    Lake Como

There are some places in our travels that linger with us long after we've unpacked and settled into our normal routine. Lake Como is one of those places for me. It's hard to resist its natural beauty, the snow-capped mountains that form a ring around the lake, the picturesque villages and the rejuvenating effect of clear lake waters.


Varenna sits on the eastern shore of Lake Como and is easily accessible by train from Milan. It's more lovely in late fall when the views of the lake are unobstructed by monopod carrying tourists and a wonderful calm has settled around town. 

From the train station, Varenna Esino, take Via Lido Al down to the water's edge and continue walking along the shoreline. There are stairs that lead up to Piazza San Giorgio which is the main square where you'll find the 14th century basilica of St. Giorgio and its bell tower which can be seen from the lakeshore.

    Gardens of Villa Monastero overlooking Lake Como.

It's hard to take a bad picture with scenes like these. While Villa Monastero was closed for the season, the terraced gardens and the lake can be viewed from the high road, Via 4 Novembre, which crosses Piazza San Giorgio from the center of town.

    Church of San Giovanni Battista

The 11th century Church of St. John the Baptist is of rough, grey stone. The only decoration to be found in this late Romanesque church are the poorly preserved 14th century frescoes on the side walls. It's a beautiful austere and intimate space, more like a chapel. San Giovanni is located in the center of town on Piazza San Giorgio, a few paces from the basilica.

What places linger in your mind?


Images by travelswitcharie


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