Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lago Como

It seems unreal that I have only been in Milano for a month, it feels like home already. I'm familiar with several areas, I know the train system fairly well, I'm picking up the language, and I am already running into people that I know on the streets. It happened to me three different times today! On the other hand, it seems crazy that I have already been here a month. I finished my Italian class, I officially start school on Monday and I move into my new apartment on Wednesday! Basta! (Enough!) I must tell you about Lake Como! 

Lago Como is a 45 minute train ride from Milano. We arrived at the Como stop and walked around the little town for a while. The town was adorable and the girls in my program are fun, so it made for some good photo fodder.

The photo below is one of my all time favorites. The old building, the paintings in front, the nicely dressed man riding a bike and the Italian flag. You can't get much more Italian than that!

"Scusa. Posso fare una fotografia?"

I could have spent a lot more time at the flea market we found. Such beautiful treasures... I am still wishing I had bought one of those adorable pill boxes. I'll just keep my eye out for some more markets.

From there, we hopped on a boat and took a ride across the lake. The scenery was beautiful. Bree was lucky to have her boyfriend fly in for the weekend.

We arrived in Lenno, where we walked through the woods to Villa del Balbianello

"Built for the Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini the late eighteenth century, the villa stands on a promontory overlooking Lake Como, almost opposite Bellagio. Today it presents itself as its last owner, the explorer Guido Monzino with a rich collection of Chinese art, African and pre-Columbian, precious furniture from the eighteenth century English and French and a small museum with documents and memorabilia of his explorations. But the real masterpiece is the panoramic terraced garden dominated by the elegant loggia with three arches which stands on the highest point of the promontory." -FAI website

According to our tour guide and my somewhat reliable memory... Guido Monzino was an explorer who went on around 21 expeditions and I believe he went to the North Pole 11 times. He was an extreme perfectionist who lived by his motto, "The one who goes slowly, gets to the top." Perhaps it was due to his extreme attention to detail, that he never lost a man in any of his expeditions to the North Pole. His home was immaculate, luxurious and awe-inspiring. Some of his most notable belongings are his crystal chandeliers that hang in every room, his extremely rare green and yellow Ming vases, and his personal memorabilia from his expeditions. One of my favorite parts of the house was the hidden staircase and tunnel behind the walls leading to his boat, if the need to flea from kidnappers ever arose. 

And we reach Guido's house...