Pigra cable car

We’re doing a random roam around some of the lesser known towns alongside Lake Como today.

Every corner of the lake is used, whether as a tiny harbour or a makeshift shrine.

We stumble across the seemingly average town of Argegno but imagine our joy when we realise that there is a cable car! Woo hoo!

The tiny cable car rises up from Argegno to the little mountain hamlet of Pigra.

In a few minutes this dinky orange cab whisks you 653 meters to the town of Pigra offering you a spectacular view of the town of Argegno and Lake Como.

At the top there’s a whole village including this tasty little Pigra pit stop for pasta and a lot of Northern Soul tunes,

Villa Carlotta

Villa Carlotta is one of the most famous villas on Lake Como and she is a beauty!

Milanese marquis Giorgio Clerici decided to establish his country estate on ancestral lakeside land at Tremezzo. The estate was complete in its initial form by 1695.

His great-grandson Anton Giorgio Clerici inherited the family fortune, and completed the villa in 1745 but then used up the family wealth on a pet building project meaning the villa had to be sold.

In 1843, Princess Marianna, the wife of Prince Albert of Prussia, bought the property for 780,000 lira.

Princess Marianne gave the property to her daughter Charlotte in 1847 as a wedding present and the house was re-named Villa Carlotta.

The villa and grounds are located on the lakeshore at Tremezzo, facing the Bellagio peninsula.

The villa also has extensive grounds, and the botanical garden covers an area of about 20 acres consisting of several different sections.

Immediately around the villa, towards the lake are the Italian garden with cut hedges and pergolas with orange and camellia trees.

Then, to end the visit it can’t get more Italian than gelato by the lakeside!


Today’s lake trip is to Menaggio and one of the most famous villas on Lake Como – Villa Carlotta.

Menaggio has an elegant lake promenade that winds along the lake shore alongside flower beds and colourful houses.

Established by the Romans as a strategic settlement on the Via Regina road, it was fortified with walls, towers and castles

But our real reason for being here is its proximity to the village of Tremezzo, home to one of Lake Como’s finest villas. And here she is – the first glimpses of Villa Carlotta.

Waterfalls and mountains

Today sees us traversing some winding roads and checking out the more natural attractions of Lake Como.

We’ve got a little off the beaten track at bit now as we stumble across a natural attraction – the Bellano Orrido.

This is a natural gorge created 15 million years ago by the erosion of the River Pioverna and the Adda glacier which

Over the centuries this shaped the rock into gigantic potholes, dark ravines and suggestive caves.

Then we pop into Lecco on our way back.The town lies at the end of the south-eastern branch of Lake Como and the Bergamo Alps rise to the north and east


We’re up early and on a ferry over to Varenna. It’s a grey day though so not holding out much hope of good photos.

Varenna is a picturesque and traditional village, located on the eastern shore of Lake Como.

It looks a little Austrian with the mountains in the background.

Varenna’s lakefront, called Riva Grande, is lovely. Here you can find cafes, restaurants and ice cream parlors and more.

But the main attraction for me in Varenna is Villa Monastero. Once an old monastery, it later became a patrician residence.

There’s some lovely botanical gardens to explore in the grounds and the lakeside setting is just lovely.

You can also visit Casa Museo, a museum with four centuries of history characterized by refined decorations and furnishings.

Onto Lake Como

We’ve moved on from Lake Garda now and onto the next Italian lake on our hit list – Lake Como.

We’re staying in the popular resort of Bellagio for a few nights.

The view from our apartment is probably one of the best we have ever had!

Although sadly for lazy me, it did mean quite a walk down into Bellagio town centre which you can see down by the lake side!

Bellagio is often called the Pearl in the Crown of Lake Como and the view from promenade is quite nice.

However do not be fooled by these seemingly tranquil scenes . . it is a seething hellhole of tourist groups and cruise goers.

You can barely see the actually town itself during the day as it is literally wall to wall in shuffling humans.

Truly the biggest disappointment of our trip so far – although yes, I am aware of the irony of complaining as we too are part of the problem!

Taking a dip

Another out of order post – this should have gone out two days ago. . this triggers my slightly obsessive need to document trips in order!!

Another day and more beautiful lakeside towns to explore along Lake Garda’s shoreline.

First its the old glamourous town of Gardone Rivera. Once this was a sought after spot in years gone by and still has impressive hotels hugging the shoreline

Some amazing scenery as we carry on our exploration of lake Garda. These stunning mountains are found at Toscolano-Maderno.

The action man has already stripped off to his skimpies and is in the lake again on the pretty Toscolano-Maderno shingle beach.

Then it’s back to Jamaica beach for the sun set and another chance for the water baby to get into the lake.

Lake cruising

Silly WordPress hasn’t published a few posts! So the next 2 are all out of sync – how annoying!

We’ve hopped on the lake ferry from Riva del Garda to Malcesine. It’s the best way to truly get to appreciate the gorgeous scenery.

We pass by the pretty town of Limone sul Garda.

Then we get the first glimpses of Malcesine with its Scaligeri castle. One of a number renovated or built by the Della Scala family of Verona.

The family ruled Verona and a large part of the Venetian area from the years 1259 to 1387.

We’ve literally got 15 minutes here before we have to get back on the return ferry so it’s a very rapid romp through this little town!

The pretty little port is the main focus of the town and it’s a hectic place for saying it is small.

Before we know it we’re back on the boat and headed for the return trip to Riva.

We get to cruise past my favourite Lake Garda town one last time too! Hello Torbole!

Scaligero castle

Today is all about the fortifications – the imposing Scaliger castle to be precise.

This amazing structure dominates the little town of Sirmione and I have been wanting to see it for ages!

Sirmione was already known to the ancient Romans because of its strategic position – a peninsula that stretches into the lake – as well as for the beauty of its landscape.

Scaliger castle was built in the 13th century on the remains of a pre-existing Roman fortification.

Constructed in the late half of the 14th Century it was built on behalf of the Della Scala family of Verona, who are known as the Scaligeri from which it takes it name.

The internal docks are the only surviving example of a 14th Century fortified port and walls seem as if they are rising straight out of the lake itself.

It is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Italy, and a rare example of lake fortification.

Aside from all that though, the views are just amazing once you climb up into the castle walls.

Even from outside the town walls, the castle continues to dominate your focus.

Swimming spot

Just time for a quick tour to Limone sul Garda and hubby gets a dip in the refreshing AKA cold lake waters.

We’ve almost the place to ourselves as the sun is starting to dip low in the sky.

Then we’re moving onto our next stop, the beautiful, but very busy town of Sirmione, set at the end of a long promontory that reaches like a finger into Lake Garda.

Above is the famous Jamaica beach in Sirmione.

This mammoth slab of waterside paradise is over looked by the ruins of a Roman villa and is the perfect place to watch the sun set or enjoy some foot dangling!

Usually the bedrock can’t be seen or walked on but record breaking dry weather has exposed it.

Dragging ourselves away from the beach for now, we take a quick stroll into town and quickly spot Scaligero castle.

This is one of several fortifications built by the Della Scala family in towns along the lake.

The 13th-century fortress and castle is surrounded by water with some of its walls rising straight from the lake itself which makes for spectacular pictures – more of those later!