For the first leg of my Italian expotition (Winnie the Pooh, anyone?) my mom and Aunt Chris joined me for a tour of Northern Italy. We carpooled to JFK, flew into Milan, and then rented a car to spend the first part of our trip in Lake Como. We stayed on the west shore of Lake Como, with a view of Bellagio right across the lake. It was a perfect start to the trip since it’s a relaxing (well, except for the driving), beautiful area and not very crowded since it was off-season.
I forced myself to sleep on the plane, since we flew through the night and I knew I would be driving as soon as we arrived in Milan.
It took us more time than I care to admit to figure out how to fit our luggage in and how to drive our little Fiat 500. But, we did it and off we went to drive a couple hours to Lake Como, in the mountains in the north of Italy. The roads were n.a.r.r.o.w., there were vespas flying by on hairpin turns, cyclists everywhere, and a close call with a bus. There were also breathtaking views and quaint little towns along the way.
Thanks to our off-season visit we stayed in an old-world glamorous hotel with beautiful views of the lake, both from the balcony off our room and the rooftop terrace.
We drank wine and ate appetizers outside while watching the sunset and it was perfection.
So far, it’s my favorite dish I’ve had. I adore truffles (can one say that?) and in the U.S. truffle oil is usually the closest I get to truffles because of the cost. However, in Italy truffles are generously shaved over pasta (and other items) and it doesn’t break the bank. We also had Lago di Como pesce – fish from Lake Como – and it was delicious and fresh.
We decided to take the ferry back across the lake, this time with our car, and we then drove south on the other side of the lake en route to Venice, stopping along the way for panoramic views and coffee.
It was a bit of a hike to Venice, driving along the high-speed highway for several hours, and my confidence grew as I drove, to the point where I was able to pass cars, much to my mom’s chagrin. Aunt Chris was the navigator extraordinaire. Next stop, Venezia!