The Diamond of Lake Como.
14.06.2013 - 14.06.2013 32 °C
The traffic in Varenna reduces at night, which is great. I didn't need ear plugs - so that's a good indication that it was pretty quiet. We woke up this morning to find a haze across Lake Como - so across to the other side of the lake wasn't clear - and off in the distance the mountains were barely visible. Lets hope that it clears.
We had been told by our hosts that we were free to go up in to the gardens on their property. Their property is built in to the side of the mountain, so after breakfast we set off up the stone steps up to see what was above us. There are 4 levels here at the Villa Albertina - and with each level the view keeps getting better. By the time we reached the top we had a beautiful 180 degree of Lake Como - just spectacular, even through the haze - stunning.
We arranged with Marco that we'd meet at 4pm today to go to Bellano to the supermarket - so we were now able to plan our day. We are fairly high up in the town of Varenna, so we walked down heaps of steps in one of the narrow alleyways to get down on to the Lake. We had a walk around the path to where the boats and ferries arrive and depart. This is all very familiar territory from our last visit here nearly 3 years ago. We then walked to the main Piazza where stands the Church of San Giorgio. The bell tower of the church is a familiar sight in all photos of Varenna. We went inside the church - beautiful - with parts of frescoes from the 13th Century still visible.
After a Panini lunch at one of the cafes in the Piazza we started off on our walk along the lake, past the Villa Monastero towards Fiumelatte. This was where we stayed during our last visit to Lake Como. We came to the Fiumelatte River - an intriguing little river just 250 metres long, reputed to be the shortest river in Europe. The river was also studied by Leonardo da Vinci. We had passed it numerous times when we were here last, but this time we decided to find the source of the river. There are houses right alongside it and for the 6 months a year that it's running, the residents live with the constant sound of a roaring river. You can hear it from a distance away. We walked in off the main road, through little laneways - moving onward and upward. The route left laneways behind and changed to a dirt and stone track. Man made and natural steps quite often without rails (Oh - please don't let us fall!), higher and higher we went - always close to the raging little river. Finally to the top - Il Sorgente - the source. It looked like a small dark cave opening - and out spilled the water from the mountains above - at a great rate of knots, down the mountain for 250 metres and in to Lake Como. It was really hot and humid climbing to the top, but standing next to the raging little river - it was like a natural air conditioner.
We made our way half way back down and then took a turn to the right to go back in to Varenna a different way. We came across the town's Cemetery - on the side of the mountain - such a picturesque site. It is a beautiful cemetery with exquisite statues chosen by family members for loved ones who have passed on. There is also a long row of family crypts standing side by side along the mountain wall - a very impressive sight.
We continued on back down in to Varenna and back at our aparment - met up with Marco and Marta for our shopping trip. The 4 of us drove to Bellano - having an interesting conversation along the way. Their English is not bad, better than our Italian anyway!
Shopping trip over - Marco helped us with our shopping bags in to our apartment. They have been really helpful - nice young kids. Their parents (the owners of the Villa) are currently in Istanbul celebrating a 50th Birthday - and will be back on Sunday.
The rest of our time today was spent quietly - an easy home cooked dinner and a relatively early night.