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Cernobbio Photos

Luxury on Lake Como – Villa d’Este

Trip Over to Lake Como

During our 3 weeks staying in Como the weather was generally perfect – cool, crisp, sunny spring days, but even on the couple of rainy days it was still perfect and didn’t stop us from getting out and about. The rain was never the umbrella type while we were outside – just the hat and coat variety.

It had been suggested to us that it is not possible to walk around the gardens at Villa d’Este unless we were staying there, that set the day’s challenge for us……. There were low, but non-threatening clouds over Como as the ferry pulled away from the wharf heading for Cernobbio (Pronounced:- Churn-ob-yo) just 2 stops away. The ferry passes another monument to Alessandro Volta, the local lad who invented the battery a few hundred years ago, unveiled in August 2015, this steel sculpture called Life Electric:-

“Inspired by the electric tension between two poles of a battery, the great gift from Volta to the humanity” – Daniel Libeskind from the Life Electric Project.

The sculpture takes on a life of its own in the variety of lighting conditions over the lake, sometimes almost blending into the lake, other times in stark contrast. Some local residents had signed a petition to stop this sculpture being placed in the lake, but now it is there with no sign of any animosity towards it, and it provides a good vantage point to walk out to with seating under the art work, giving a different view of Como and the surrounding area.

Villa Erba can be seen from the ferry as it approaches Cernobbio wharf, one of the many Villas in Cernobbia, groups can book tours here. Most of the villas are either private, or can be booked for events. But our mission was to visit Villa D’Este with its opulent gardens and hotel.

Within a few minutes our ferry had arrived at Cernobbio Wharf and as the ferry pulled up the last of the morning market was being packed away, suddenly we were the only people left on the streets. The drizzly, misty rain and cold must have kept everyone inside for an early lunch made from the produce they had just bought from the market. Undaunted, we continued on towards our challenge………..

The gardens in the villas were all very impressive, and even without land for gardening, hanging gardens add a creative touch to a house just up the road from the Cernobbio ferry wharf.

Up at Via Regina, the main road through Cernobbio around the west side of Lake Como, a side street, Via Monte Grappa, heads through the arch way before winding its way up into the hills. I love the way the Italians don’t knock down their history to make roads, they work with it. Parking is never a problem for these tiny Italian cars, there is always room to park your Fiat or Smart car no matter how small the space. If the car fits, park it!

After turning right at Via Regina and wandering up the road looking at various restaurants, reading menus (all sounding delicious) and trying to decide which one to have lunch in, and doing a bit of window shopping as the shops were all closed for the very civilised Italian long lunch break, we reached the next bend in the road and there were the gates to Villa d’Este. The plan to have lunch somewhere before going to explore the gardens went out the window as we hadn’t realised how close it was.

As we went striding purposefully in through the entrance gates to Villa d’Este the man in the gate office came out see what we wanted, quick as a flash Christine said, “We’re having lunch at the Veranda.” (I decided the terribly elegant couple in the photo of the main gates must be staying there as they weren’t stopped). He welcomed us to Villa D’Este and wished us “Buon appetito”. That was the lunch decision made………..we were in, mission accomplished!!

Prior to 1873 Villa d’Este was a private residence with a very interesting history involving nuns, a ballerina, a Russian Czarina and British royalty, although not all at the same time. Click here to read the history of the Villa.

Following the path lined with beautifully manicured flower beds, not a petal out of place, passing Villa Cima, a lakeside private, almost Tudor looking, villa on the estate built in 1814 by the Princess of Wales to accommodate Count and Countess Pino, the former owners of the estate, after she had convinced them to sell the estate to her (it was the least she could do). It is now one of the villas hotel guests can book to stay in.




Hundreds of immaculate hydrangeas line the interior of the restaurant, and yes, they are real, I checked!!

In summer the glass windows surrounding the Veranda can be lowered down into the ground so you really are sitting out on the veranda, and more tables spill out on to the terrace closer to the lakes edge.

Lunch was exquisite, we shared many dishes so we could taste as much as possible and were waited on hand and foot as there were almost as many staff in the Veranda as there were guests. I suspect though, even if every table was full, we would still be waited on impeccably. There was someone to take our coats, a sommelier to choose our wine, then the waiter recommended we share a Salmon and Strawberry entree, we then shared Duck Cannelloni and Ameriticiana Tortoli, all served up by the waiter at the table so we didn’t have chop and transfer half making a huge mess ourselves. Then the maitre d’ flambed our Crepe Suzette at the table – this was followed by the smoothest espresso coffee I have ever had – with a hint of chocolate.

Having eaten more than enough food to give us the energy to explore the gardens, and fortunately the rain had stopped, but it was still overcast, we set off into the gardens. There are a number of restaurants and bars at Villa D’Este, we walked passed the Terrace Bar that I’m sure in summer is full of sun kissed guests enjoying an Aperol Spritz overlooking the swimming pool that floats in the lake. Next to the Veranda Restaurant you can look up through the marble gardens, up the long path that leads to the statue of Hercules hurling poor Lica into the waters below. From here you can walk over to the back of the Villa d’Este gardens to the remains of Donna Vittoria’s towers and fortifications from the early 1800s, a bygone era in the life of the estate.

The Queen’s Pavilion was added to the estate in the late 1800s with steps going down to the lake and the underpass to bring boats in if the water gets too choppy for passengers to safely disembark………After bringing the boat into the protected water under the Queen’s Pavilion passengers could walk up the steps to the estate and the boat could be kept in one of the boat parking bays underneath.

In summer Cernobbio becomes a vibrant lakeside village, with many bars and restaurants open, but not on the grey day in early spring when we visited. We were not disappointed though, far from it, and we completed the challenge – we explored the gardens at Villa d’Este without staying in the hotel. I’m not sure if it was cheating that we were forced to have lunch there to get in through the gates, but if that’s cheating, I’m all for it…………

Book a tour on your Trip Over to Lake Como

Itinerary for Trip Over to Italy – Milan, Como and Venice

Qantas flight (Emirates code share) to Milan (Malpensa) from Sydney via Dubai
Stayed in Milan, Airbnb, for a week before going to Como
Picked up in Milan by Como Limousines and driven to Como
Stayed in Como, Airbnb, for 3 weeks
Picked up in Como by Como Limousines and driven to Venice
In Venice, water taxi to Al Ponte Antico Hotel for 3 nights and water taxi back
Picked up in Venice by Como Limousines and driven back to Como
Picked up in Como by Como Limousines and driven back to Milan (Malpensa) Airport
Qantas flight (Emirates code share) to Sydney via Dubai

A statue of Robert Wagnet in Piazza Doria in La Spezia, Italy. Wagner was inspired to write some of his music after spending some time in this town. . . . #laspeziaitaly #laspezia #laspeziaharbourside #laspeziacentro #robertwagner #robertwagnerlaspezia #sculpture #artinpublicplaces #piazzadoria #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #solotrip #solotravelingisfun #italytrip #madeinitaly #sculpture #traveladdict #traveltheworldworldwithme #travelinitaly #seekandyoushallfind #seeeverythingdoeverything
Ponte Vecchio, crossing River Arno, the top level is the Vasari Passage coming from Uffuzi Gallery. Ponte Vecchio started off as butcher shops, the waste product being thrown into the river, the stench was said to be unbearable. Now mainly jewellery shops, not smelly at all!!! . . #florence #florenceitaly #florencetrip #florencewalk #florencetravel #italytrip #solotravel #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #seekandyoushallfind #pontevecchio #pontevecchiofirenze #riverarno #reflectiononwaterisbeautiful #traveltheworldworldwithme #traveladdict
The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, this is taken from Piazzale degli Uffizi looking towards the river, the top floor is the Vasari passage that goes from here across Ponte Vecchio to Pitti Palace, so the Medici didn't have to walk amongst the peasants, or deal with smell from the butchers shops on their way between the office and the Palace. When I was here in 2013, Vasari Passage had never been open to the public, then I was very excited to hear that had changed, then I knew they closed it again to do some maintenance work and should have been open in time for my recent visit. They must have heard I was coming back and decided to delay the re-opening 🥺 Oh well, maybe next time.... . #florence #florenceitaly #florencetrip #florencetravel #italytrip #solotravel #solotravelinitaly #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #uffizigallery #vasaripassage #italianarchitecture #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme #seekandyoushallfind #throughthearchway
La Spezia, taken from the foot bridge out on the Marina. The ferries are waiting to head up the coast to the villages of Cinque Terre, and the palm trees along the water front providing shade for the park. Lovely place 🥂!! . . #laspeziaitaly #laspeziaharbourside #laspezia #italianferries #italianferries #italytrip #solotravelinitaly #solotrip #solotravel #solotravelingisfun #traveladdict #travelinitaly #neverstopexporing #neverstoptravelling #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #seeeverythingdoeverything #madeinitaly #boatsboatsboats #myitalianadventure
Castello San Giorgio in La Spezia has been protecting this part of Italy since 1262, it now houses a museum and a fabulous view from the top. There is a lift up from the town area, then cross the road and jump on to the funicular to get up to the castle, or if you're feel fit, there are steps, many, many of them!! La Spezia is just south of Cinque Terre, therefore an excellent base to see this area from. . . #laspezia #laspeziaitaly #castellosangiorgio #castellosangiorgiolaspezia #solotravelinitaly #solotrip #italianhistory #seeeverythingdoeverything #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveladdict #travelinitaly #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #solotravel #neverstopexploring #medievalitaly
The foot bridge to the Marina in La Spezia makes for a lovely walk in the afternoon, there are a few bars and restaurants out there too 🥂!! I am so pleased I chose to stay in La Spezia and visit Cinque Terre, and other towns in the area, from there, it's a lovely town and my hotel @hotelfirenzelaspezia up near the station, was fantastic. . . #laspeziaitaly #pontethaondirevel #laspeziaharbourside #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #italytrip #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #neverstopexploring #traveltheworldwithme #traveladdict #laspezia #reflectiononwaterisbeautiful #yachts #outonthewater #beautifullaspezia #italytravel #madeinitaly
There she is....quite amazing really, just leaning there for over 1000 years, next to Pisa Duomo. The tower is actually the bell tower for the Cathedral. I love the way these beautiful buildings are surrounded by lawns that you are not allowed to walk on. This keeps everyone at a distance so everyone can see, not just the people leaning on the monument. . . #leaningtowerofpisa #leaningtower #fieldofmiracles #pisa #pisaitaly #pisaduomo #pisaduomopiazzadeimiracoli #piazzadelmiracoli #pisatrip #italytrip #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme #traveladdict #neverstopexploring #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #solotrip #italianhistory
Siena's Torre del Mangia as seen from the dome of Siena Duomo, with the beautiful Tuscan countryside rolling out past the Siena city walls. . . #siena #sienatravel #sienaitaly #sienaduomo #sienatrip #sienaitalia #torredelmangia #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #italytrip #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme #medievalitaliancity #medievalitaly #italianarchitecture #madeinitaly #viewfromthedome
The very detailed front of Siena Duomo, built between 1215 and 1264, in the beautiful medieval Tuscan city of Siena. The Duomo is quite the feature of Siena, both inside and out, you can't get enough of it. The tour into the upper levels really accentuates how enormous it is. If you're thinking of a trip over to Italy, Siena is a must. . #siena #sienaduomo #sienatrip #sienaitaly #sienahistory #sienatravel #sienaduomobellissimagiornata #solotravel #solotravelinitaly #neverstopexploring #medievalitaliancity #medievalitaly #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #historicitaly #italytrip #traveltheworldwithme
It was really hard taking photos of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the temptation to line it up straight in the lens is something I struggled with, having it next to a straight building helps!!! . . . #leaningtower #leaningtowerofpisa #torredelpendente #pisaitaly #piazzadelmiracoli #pisaduomo #pisatrip #pisaduomopiazzadeimiracoli #pisa #pisaitaly #italianarchitecture #italianhistory #madeinitaly #solotravel #solotravelinitaly #neverstopexploring #medievalitaliancity #historicitaly #italytrip #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives
Siena is one of the lovliest medieval Italian cities, this is the town hall, Palazzo Pubblico with it's 14th century tower, Torre del Mangia sitting on the edge of the main square Piazza del Campo. I recently spent 3 nights in Siena, and really wish I had stayed a bit longer. I'm sure I'll go back one day to continue exploring this historic Tuscan city. . . #siena #sienaitaly #palazzopubblico #torredelmangia #piazzadelcampo #medievalitaliancity #historicitaly #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #solotrip #italianhistory #italytravel #italytrip #italy #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme #traveladdict #neverstopexploring #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives
The bronze sculpture of il Porcellino at Mercato Nuovo in Florence, rubbing the boars snout ensures you will return to Florence - it works!! This was my second visit, I rubbed his snout again......so looks like I'll be back again 🥰🥂!! . . #ilporcellino #ilporcellinofirenze #florencewalk #mercatonuovofirenze #florencetrip #florencetravel #florence #florenceitaly #italianhistory #italytravel #italytrip #italy #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme #neverstoptravelling #solotravelinitaly #solotrip #solotravel #solotravelingisfun #traveladdict
Bronze sculpture of Perseus proudly displaying Medusa's head that he had just lopped off, by Benvenuto Cellini, the sculpture was finished in 1554. It stands in Loggia dei Lanzi in Piazza della Signoria, in the centre of Florence. . . #perseus #perseusfirenze #medusa #perseusandmedusa #bronzesculpture #artinpublicplaces #sculpture_gallery #loggiadeilanzi #loggiadeilanziinthepiazzadellasignoria #florence #florenceitaly #florencetrip #florencetravel #italytrip #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #solotrip #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldworldwithme
The Florence Cathedral, Duomo di Firenze, was built between 1296 and 1436, the last 16 years of that time spent building the dome, that can be seen from all around Florence. (There has been a church on this site since 393!) The building is enormous, then add the Baptistry and the bell tower it really is the centre of Florence. . #florence #florencetrip #florenceitaly #florencecathedral #firenzeduomo #duomodifirenze #italytravel #italytrip #italianhistory #solotravelinitaly #solotrip #solotravel #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #blackandwhitemarble #florenceduomobelltower #traveltheworldwithme #italianarchitecture
The very ornate doors to Florence Cathedral, imagine the number of hours it took to carve these, and this is not the only set of doors, there are many, all equally detailed - it's a lost art, or is just too expensive to have beautiful things these days?? . . #florence #florenceitaly #florenceduomo #firenzecityitaly #firenzeduomo #florencecathedral #duomodifirenze #italytravel #italytrip #italianhistory #madeinitaly #solotravel #solotravelinitaly #neverstopexploring #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #carveddoors #duomodoors #italianarchitecture #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #seekandyoushallfind
The Fallen Angel lying in Piazza dei Miracoli near the Leaning Tower of Pisa. No he didn't fall and hit his head, he was created this way, representing the fragility of life. Who knew angels were so buff?? . . . #fallenangel #fallenangelpisa #piazzadeimiracoli #pisaitaly #pisatrip #pisa #pisafieldofmiracles #fieldofmiracles #italytravel #italianart #italiantrip #madeinitaly #solotravel #solotravelinitaly #neverstopexploring #seeeverythingdoeverything #seekandyoushallfind #seetheworldthroughmyeyes
The statue standing in Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, is rather unfortunately named The Rape of the Sabine Women, or The Abduction of the Sabine Women, both equally bad, depicting the way women were treated in Roman times. Made from marble in the 1500s by Giambologna for Cosimo Medici. . . . #rapeofsabinewomen #abductionofsabinewomen #loggiadeilanzi #loggiadeilanziinthepiazzadellasignoria #marblestatue #giambolognasculpture #italianart #artinpublicplaces #florence #florenceitaly #florencetrip #florencewalk #florencetravel #solotravelinitaly #solotravelingisfun #traveladdict #solotravel #neverstopexploring #seetheworldthroughmyeyes
Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo with its spiral staircase was built in 1499, sadly it was closed for a private function when I was there.....apparently the view from the top is amazing!! Oh well, maybe next time..... . . #scalacontarinidelbovolo #scalacontarini #palazzocontarinidelbovolo #palazzocontarinidelbovolovenezia #historicvenice #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #veniceitaly #venice #venicetrip #italytravel #italytrip #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #solotrip #italianhistory #seeeverythingdoeverything #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme
My first sighting of the Leaning Tower of Pisa!! It does have quite a lean to it!! Built in the 12th century, it leaned immediately, but then leaned more......by 1990 it was leaning 5.5 degrees, it was then stabilised back to just under 4 degrees after under going some remedial work. . . #leaningtowerofpisa #leaningtower #pisa #torredelpisa #torredelpendente #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #italytrip #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #traveltheworldwithme #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #historygeek #historicitaly #pisaitaly #italianarchitecture #italianhistory #seekandyoushallfind #traveladdict
A couple of Lorikeets having a morning catch up on a tree at Cremorne Point on Sydney's North Shore. . . . #lorikeetsofinstagram #lorikeets #cremornepoint #cremornepointwalk #sydneylocal #sydney #sydneywalks #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme #myhometown #travellerau #sydneyharbourwalks #sydneynatives #borntofly #walkinthepark #sydneyweekend #sydneynorthshore #sydneyparks
Inside the Baptistery next to Pisa Duomo in Piazza dei Miracoli, it seems black and white marble was all the go 1000 years ago, one of my favourites now!! . . #pisaitaly #pisafieldofmiracles #pisabaptisteryofstjohn #pisatrip #pisabaptistery #battisterodisangiovanni #pulpit #pisafieldofmiracles #italianhistory #madeinitaly #medievalitaly #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #blackandwhitemarble #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #italytrip #seetheworldthroughmyeyes
Views over Florence from the roof top terrace at my hotel, the closest dome is Basilica di San Lorenzo and the far one is Firenze Duomo. . . . #florence #florenceitaly #firenzeduomo #florencecathedral #basilicadisanlorenzo #basilicadisanlorenzofirenze #florencerooftops #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #solotravel #solotravelinitaly #florencetrip #florencetravel #italytrip #italytravel #traveltheworldwithme #traveladdict #neverstoptravelling
Manly Beach, on the in Harbour side just near where the ferry comes in. . . #manlybeachaustralia #manlybeach #sydneybeaches #sydneyharbour #sydneyharbourwalks #sailingboats #sydneylocal #sydneyweekend #sydneybythesea #sydneylife #sunshine #sydneyaustralia #seetheworldthroughmylens #neverstopexploring
More steps up to the Castlello san Giorgoin La Spezia.....just in case you don't feel like taking the lift and the funicular!!!! Anyone??? . . #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #italytrip #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #neverstopexploring #travelinitaly #traveladdict #laspezia #laspeziaitaly #castellosangiorgio #stairwaytoheaven #manymanystepstoclimb #laspeziacentro #madeinitaly #tripovertoitaly #traveltheworldwithme #italianarchitecture #explorelaspezia
Look at all those steps!! Fortunately, just down the road there is a lift and funicular to get you up to where the castle is. But I suppose if you live half way up, you wouldn't want to forget the milk!! . . #laspeziaitaly #laspezia #laspeziacentro #solotravelinitaly #neverstopexploring #seeeverythingdoeverything #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme #neverstoptravelling #solotrip #steps #manymanysteps #manymanystepstoclimb #solotravel #italytrip #madeinitaly #exploringlaspezia
Inside the 1000 year old Pisa Duomo, they knew how to create beautiful buildings back then, and they last forever!!! Similar black and white marble to that used in the much bigger Siena Duomo some 150 years later. . . #pisaitaly #pisaduomo #pisatrip #pisaduomopiazzadeimiracoli #pisa #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #blackandwhitemarble #insidetheduomo #italianarchitecture #italianhistory #italytravel #italytrip #madeinitaly #medievalitaly #traveltheworldwithme #traveladdict #neverstopexploring #seeeverythingdoeverything #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #solotrip
Now the fun begins, packing for my adventure to London and Italy, I have to fit all this into my smaller than usual suitcase.....no, not the cushions and pillows!!! . . #packing #tripovertoitaly #tripovertolondon #neverstoptravelling #solotrip #solotravel
Another reptile looking over a rock to check out the surf at Manly Beach in Sydney. . . . #lizardonarock #lizardofinstagram #lizardlife #reptile #manlybeachaustralia #manlybeach #sydneybeaches #sydneybythesea #sydneyweekend #sydneylocal #myhometown #seekandyoushallfind #seetheworldthroughmylens #traveltheworldwithme #neverstopexploring #sydneylife #sydneyaustralia #sydneywalks #sydneynative

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