Saturday, July 20, 2013

Gorgeous Lake Como - Lago di Como

There are many superb places in our wonderful world - beautiful vistas with magical serenity that make one truly grateful to be alive, well Lago di Como, Italy's 3rd largest lake just north of Milan is without doubt one of the best of them. 

We have just spent 10days in this heaven on earth, running our tri-yearly conference. It was spectacular with the perfectly predictable warm summer weather, and many thoroughly enjoyable events. Aside from a very good academic program, our week was non stop with a plethora of social activities which included walking tours of Como city, local wine & cheese tastings, shopping to the Amani factory store in Vertemente (worth going to as several years ago they tripled the size of the outlet & now stock all forms of Armani clothing - however some visits are more fruitful than others) and a visit to Fox Town outlet centre in Switzerland. No visit to Lake Como is complete without dinner at Isola Comincina, the lake's only island. 

We were also lucky enough to secure tickets to see Wagner's Siegfried Opera at Teatro La Scala in Milan, the original opera house on which all others have been modeled. At 6hrs long I will admit I thought it may be too much for a non Wagner aficionado, however it all passed in a moment and was truly spectacular - for music buffs, the conductor was renown Daniel Barenboim so the music was especially incredible. I am not sure if I will ever get this opportunity again so I am thrilled to have experienced this amazing opera.  

We also had a small private dinner at Villa d'Este and were lucky enough to be seated a metre from the dock when the gorgeous George Clooney arrived for dinner (more gorgeous in real life than any movie delivers!) - sitting under the trees lakeside at Villa d'Este is a wonderful way to spend the evening with delicious food and a magical outlook. At Bellagio we visited the gardens of Villa Melzi built in 1808-1810 as the summer residence of Francesco Melzi d'Eril, Duke of Lodi and vice president of the Italian Republic with Napoleon. Superb landscaped gardens with plants from all corners of the globe, these gardens are rather mesmerising to wander in.

We are often asked where in all of the places we run our conferences, is our favourite venue. It is a question impossible to answer as each place is special for its own reasons, but Lake Como is spectacularly beautiful, incredibly serene and certainly as many activities as we run, it never seems like work!  
Cernobbio Lake Como taken from the balcony of a room in Hotel Regina Olga

Hotel Regina Olga
Gorgeous Bellagio

Sumptuous Gardens of Villa Melzi 

The Villa owned by Richard Branson is only accessible via boat. It is available for rental at an exorbitant weekly rate!

Teatro La Scala Milan