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10. Can't Say No at Cernobbio

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

sunny 75 °F

Cernobbio, Lombardy, Italy
Friday, April 14, 2017

On our final morning in Bellagio, Beryl is awake at 7:00; I am not out of bed until 7:30. Our boat picks us up at the hotel pier at 10:00. Breakfast fits in between.

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Jennine--boat owner--and Luca--boat driver--pick us up promptly at the private pier belonging to Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. The bellman has been nice enough to portage our luggage over the fine gravel path and down the gangway, being careful to send us ahead so that the loading of our luggage will in no way inconvenience us. So civilized, the Serbelloni.

ad86d840-2e48-11ea-9f36-054733e4f723.jpgad194960-2e48-11ea-9f36-054733e4f723.jpgThen, we are off. It is about 40 minutes to the private pier belonging to Hotel Villa D'Este. He was not in residence (Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?) so we did not bother to stop at George Clooney's villa where the gardens are more pretentious than the villa itself. Jennine tells us it has been his since 1998. We suspect it has stories to tell. Her only story is that she once dropped his parents off here but they were escorted to the villa by someone not George.

The air is crisp as we plow through the still deep (over 1,300 feet) waters of Lake Como. Formed during the ice age, one can almost picture the glacier that divided at Bellagio and flowed south toward Milan. When we are in the sun, the day is perfect. As we come round a bend in shade the temperature drops several degrees and we huddle together. I recommend cool temperatures to you as being good for relationship building.

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Arrival at Villa D'Este finds another bellman on station, waiting to whisk our baggage to some unseen spot while we find reception and check in. It is not yet 11:00am and our room is not ready but no matter; the garden between the main building and the lake is spectacular so we settle in for two Americano coffees and Italian sponge fingers and biscotti.

Too quickly the clerk from reception fetches us for a trip up the grandly divided marble staircase to the first floor (the ground floor in most of Europe is "0"). Room 122 is a large bedroom with a spectacular balcony over the lake. Wonderful.

ad4f2670-2e48-11ea-9f36-054733e4f723.jpgae29f610-2e48-11ea-83c5-17f536b9b9bf.jpgae3826e0-2e48-11ea-a034-af2baed14f78.jpgae39fba0-2e48-11ea-9523-751507eb881c.jpgae236660-2e48-11ea-823e-3b65920d4771.jpgWe unpack and revel in our good fortune.

We decide to walk into the village of Cernobbio. I am unable to distract B4 from the eyeglass store--are you aware of her addiction to fashionable frames? She buys three from the store with the old fashioned KODAK FILM sign out front. They don't sell it, of course, they just kept the sign.

ae3a97e0-2e48-11ea-8d17-f5f4185f0df5.jpgae29f610-2e48-11ea-83c5-17f536b9b9bf.jpgadd6cd00-2e48-11ea-a78d-cbcfccc36bf7.jpgad904e20-2e48-11ea-ac2d-f75781001643.jpgad874d70-2e48-11ea-970b-03ce35a88c89.jpgadb3b4a0-2e48-11ea-970b-03ce35a88c89.jpgWe asked where the best pizza in Cernobbio was and both sources we asked said, Giardino's. so there we went for a pizza and glasses of wine. It was wonderful. But, then; so has this entire trip been. There is time to lounge on our patio--napping just a tiny bit--before we head into Como for strolling and dinner. Life is good no doubt.

Flashback: On July 8, 1945, the New York Times ran a page five story with the headline: "YANKS LUXURIATE IN LAKE COMO VILLA; Fifth Army Troops in Former Haunt of Elite Hail Beer, Hot Water and Waiters." Quoting: "Here at the handsome Villa d'Este, for many years the favorite haunt of well-known Americans, are 480 soldiers of the United States Fifth Army who have been sent to this beautiful lakeside resort with express orders to enjoy themselves." It says "gin and cognac may be bought for 30 cents." We are following those orders these seventy-two years later even though the price of liquor has risen.

The Villa started out in 1442 as a convent, became a hotel in 1873 and at a gala dinner in 1948 was the scene of "the celebrated murder of wealthy silk manufacturer Carlo Sacchi, shot dead by his lover Countess Pia Bellentani with her husband's Fegyverzyar's automatic pistol."

As I said, we plan on dining out tonight and dine out we do. After using up our "free" cocktail at the hotel bar (wow; $22 per), we are off on a stroll back into the village to see what looks good. We land at Harry's Bar. It turns out to be a good choice. Food, service, et al, perfecto.

We stroll home afterwards, climb the stairs and settle in for the night, wishing we could do this every night, every week, every year. It is idyllic here. We wish that you will some day experience what a fine time we have had.

Posted by paulej4 08:51 Archived in Italy

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