Day 17 in Como – Bellagio, Varenna

Day 17 – Bellagio > Villa Serbelloni > Pescallo > Varenna > Villa Cipressi > Villa Monastero

We took the ferry to Bellagio after a full buffet breakfast. It was still a bit hazy but way better than the day before. According to Mr Map, the sky usually clear ups just before midday.

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Photo credits to Mr Map & his Nikon D610
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Photo credit to Mr Map & his Nikon D610

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Finally we arrived in Bellagio! Not the one in Vegas though! It is very different from Como (where we stayed) and it is a lot nicer! Bellagio is a long-established tourist resort around Lake Como with many classy boutiques. You can tell the moment you get there that it is an up-scale resort destination. DSC_1742 resize

We asked around and eventually arrived at the office that organized guided tours to Villa Serbelloni Park. It can only be visited by guided tour. There are 2 guided tours per day leaving at 11am & 3:30pm and it last for about 1.5hr. We were lucky to catch the earlier tour. The villa has splendid views of the Como and Lecco branches of the Lake and definitely something you don’t want to miss in Bellagio. DSC_1745 resize DSC04537 resize DSC_1752 resize DSC04554 resize

Villa Serbelloni

Opening hours: Open daily except Mondays from the middle March 15th to November 1st. On bad weather tours are cancelled.

Guided tour: 11:00 and 15:30 from the Promobellagio Office (From 15 to 31Mar and from 25Oct to 1Nov tours at 11:00 & 14:30)

Website: http://www.bellagiolakecomo.com/bellagio-lake-como-italy/POI-points-of-interest/villa-serbelloni-garden DSC_1792 resize

Our tour guide recommended us to explore the Pescallo side for some scenic views. My feet hurts from walking the cobbled street with my TOMS shoes. It is recommended to wear shoes with a thicker sole! IMG_6515 resize DSC_1804 resize DSC_1798 resize

Across the lake from Bellagio, there is another beautiful town called Varenna. It is another picturesque town with pretty waterfront.

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While we were there we visited the garden of Hotel Villa Cipressi. There will be admission for visitors to enter the garden. There is not much to see except the view of the lake. I think Villa Monastero would be more worthwhile to visit if you are on a tight schedule.

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The house with the brown roof is Villa Monastero.

Hotel Villa Cipressi

Address: Via IV Novembre, 18, Varenna LC, Italy

Website: http://www.hotelvillacipressi.it/en/

The garden of Villa Monastero. DSC_1847 resize DSC_1848 resize DSC_1854 resize

Looking back at Villa Cipressi IMG_6549 resize IMG_6551 resize IMG_6553 DSC_1862 resize

Villa Monastero

Opening Hours: From 1Mar to 1Nov – Open daily from 09:30 to 19:00

Address: Via G.Polvani, 4, 23829 Varenna LC, Italia

Website: http://www.villamonastero.eu/index.php/en/ DSC_1874 resize IMG_6557 resize

If you are planning to visit Varenna, you can read 10 things we love about Varenna & Italy Heaven about Varenna. We took the ferry back to Como in the late afternoon and took the train back to Milan.

Lake Como is really a beautiful area and I was not surprised that celebrities like George Clooney, Madonna and Donatella Versace all own or have owned villas there. My personal favourite area would still be Cinque Terre as Lake Como seems to be a bit up-tight, whilst Cinque Terre has a more cosy and homely feel about it. Lake Como is an area with a lot of high maintenance villas and beautiful gardens and personally I prefer the more rustic feel of Cinque Terre.

Accommodation in Milan

This time we stayed at another hotel in Milan within walking distance of Milan Centrale station. We love everything about UNA Maison Milano but it would be quite expensive to stay for 3 nights. This time we were staying at Hotel Berna and it was about €140 per night including breakfast, free mini bar & wifi (about €100 cheaper than UNA). The room is in very high quality for the price we paid. I even think the service is better than UNA as it is more personalized.

For details, please read my hotel review in Milan post.

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It was in the evening when we got back to Milan. We went out for dinner soon after we checked-in. We asked the concierge for restaurant recommendations near the hotel and straight away his eyes beamed as he recommended Osteria Mamma Rosa. He even eagerly built our expectations – “definitely Mamma Rosa”.

After roaming around in circles courtesy of following vague map directions, we finally found the restaurant. We were given a glass of sparkling wine upon arrival. After looking at the menu, Mr Map did a quick calculation and suggested that it might be better to order the set dinner than a la carte, I think this was our first big mistake. Also, it was our last meal together in Milan as Mr Map needed to get back to Hong Kong 2 days earlier for work and we wanted to have a nice meal.

On a quick glance around the restaurant, I think most of the people there were tourists rather than locals. That was not a good sign based on our previous dining experiences.

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What do you think after looking at the photo? I don’t want to exaggerate, but we were extremely disappointed with the quality of food we got for the price we paid (about €100 for 2 for the set dinner & 2 glasses of wine). The food quality is below average (based on all our meals in Italy). The presentation was not very appealing and I think the decor is a bit cheesy (the wall were painted with different Italian cities).

Despite our disappointment, there are still many positive comments about this restaurant from tripadvisor. Are we too picky or the people who gave restaurant reviews are being too nice?

What is your holiday experience in Como & Milan? If you enjoy reading my blog, feel free to follow me on twitter @MinionTravel to get the latest update.

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