lake como :: varenna & villa monastero

On our first full day in Lake Como, we decided to take the train just two stops away from Dervio, to the town of Varenna. It's one of the most well-known towns around the lake, and has a real charm to it - it's not big, but it does boast a few prestigious landmarks including Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi.

The views of the town from the ferry rides we took during our trip:

The streets are all cobblestones and narrow alleyways and people strolling by with gelatos in hand. We saw a couple of boutiques and artists' shops, and there are quite a few hotels higher up as you go further inland, no doubt with spectacular views.

We had had a bit of a late start that day (we had a train situation again. bless the Italians), so once we got there we were more than ready for lunch. We took a walk around, scoped out our options, and settled on a little lakefront restaurant that we had seen in a couple of guidebooks, Vecchia Varenna.

The view was idyllic, and the food was good - I enjoyed my homemade tagliatelle with lake fish a lot, and I think E was happy with his carbonara but thought it was lacking in portion!

Of course, we always had to leave room for gelato (if room is really needed for such necessities) so perhaps that was a good thing.

After sufficiently fuelling ourselves, we paid a visit to the absolutely stunning gardens of Villa Monastero.

Of all the Villas that we explored, this was probably our favourite. It was just breathtaking - the panoramic views of the lake from every angle, the gorgeous plants and flowers that were obviously meticulously kept and looked after, and the perfect serenity of the place was incredible. The best thing was that although we did encounter fellow visitors from time to time, for the most part it felt like we had this huge garden to ourselves - it honestly felt good for the soul.

After a long day of walking and exploring, we decided to have a cosy dinner in our apartment and go for an evening walk by the lake. We were extremely excited when we found a huge portion of burrata (I know it's all the rage these days, but for good reason, trust me - kind of a richer, creamier, more decadent mozzarella) for 4 euros at the supermarket! It would have set us back an easy tenner at Borough Market (probably closer to Β£15 - it was huge), and lasted us for two dinners' worth of fresh and delicious salad. Made by E, of course.

As much I love to eat out, it was so nice to be able to be by ourselves and have a leisurely dinner "at home" with a bottle of rosΓ©.

Well done if you made it to the end of this photo-heavy post - but our Italian adventures aren't even close to being over yet! (on the blog that is. sadly we have been home for a while now, but home is always good.)