Lake Como – Bellagio – Villa Melzi

If you visit Bellagio be sure not to miss the famous gardens of Villa Melzi. The gardens are open to the public but the 19th century neoclassical villa is not. It is said these gardens were a favorite spot for Franz Lizst, the famous composer and pianist and quite possibly where he wrote one of his most famous pieces, ‘Dante Symphony’. This Villa was built to be the summer residence of Francesco Melzi d’Eril, one of Napoleon’s men.

As you enter you come upon this serene Japanese inspired garden and the Grotto.

Villa Melzi pond
Japanese Maples

Next you encounter the Moorish Pavilion with its sculptures and cypress trees. A pretty spot to rest a minute or just hop out of the sun. The views both north and south are lovely.

Bellagio Villa Melzi Moorish Pavilion
Villa Melzi Moorish Pavilion

Farther along towards the Villa is a lovely Plane (Plantanus x acerifolia) tree lined path with modern benches. A quiet spot to enjoy the views of the lake and the towns across.

Villa Melzi Modern benches arch
Modern benches arch

Right in front of the Villa is the Terrace and Lake Landing. The columns frame the views toward the Swiss Alps.

Villa Melzi
Terrace and Lake Landing looking towards Switzerland

As you wind your way around you link back to the beginning via a series of paths lined with specimen trees and statues.

Bellagio Villa Melzi-1-2

Ready for more Lake Como?

Bellagio- the “pearl” of Lake Como

This lovely village on Lake Como is known for its steep, narrow, stair lined cobbled streets with insane views of the lake. It is one of the most popular stops for tourists visiting the area along with the towns of Varenna and Como.

Bellagio is located at the junction where the “Y” shaped lake divides into two branches. Take it slow, walk around the lanes, stop for a spritz, check out the shops. Don’t miss Villa Melzi gardens or Villa Serbelloni or just walk out of town and explore. Be prepared though!!!! We did this and GPS didn’t work to well to get back into town and we really walked and walked and walked!  Dead end after dead end.

Bellagio road to Villa Melzi

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The old town center faces the west branch of the lake and is lined with cafes and shops at one end is Villa Serbelloni.

Bellagio port area-1

Villa Serbelloni

Warning!!! Wear comfortable shoes as there are lots of stairs to access the higher part of the town.

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In the center of town you’ll find Piazza della Chiesa and the bell tower of the Basilica of San Giacomo, a Romanesque church that can be seen from everywhere.

Bellagio harbor no ferry-1
Harbor and Bell Tower from Villa Melzi

Even if you aren’t staying overnight you can have a very special lunch at many hotels.  We walked out of town and stopped in at Hotel Belvedere with breathtaking views of the east branch. Lunch was incredible!!!! Hotel Belvedere overlooks the eastern branch of Lake Como and the views here are towards Lierna to the south and towards Fiumellate to its north. Either the dining room or the adjacent patio provide breathtaking views. Hard to believe we had the patio to ourselves while a few guests enjoyed the pool and sun deck. Many hotels welcome non-guests for meals. It is a way I have found to experience a locale I might not be able to afford. Also I don’t know about you but I hate hotel hopping! This kills two birds with one stone!

We took a day trip from Como via the ferries that run daily from Como.  Bellagio is an easy day trip.  The slow ferry takes 2 hours and makes multiple stops along the way and you can hop on and off to explore. There is also a fast ferry.  We took the fast ferry back to Como late afternoon. Get to the docks early and make sure you are at the right one!!! Just sayin’! You might want to stop in Tremezzo to see Villa Carlotta or in Lenno to visit Villa Balbianello. There are many small lovely towns to explore.

Ferry Lake Como-1

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Studio Tecnico Architetto Stefano Catti
Studio Tecnico Architetto Stefano Catti

While in Como check out the silk! Como is one of the best places to buy silk in all of Europe!

como cathedral-1

In upcoming blogs I will show you some other sights like Villa Melzi’s gardens and Villa Balbianello.

Did you miss the last 5 blogs on Lake Como? Here is a link to Lago di Como – a series, part One

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