As I mentioned in my previous blog post on February tenth http://lovelifeandferrari.blogspot.com/2012/02/lake-como-part-two-como.html my boyfriend Luca and I were lucky enough to take a trip to see the beautiful
this summer. We spent the first few days settling in to our hotel in Varenna as well as visiting Bellagio and Lake Como . For our final day out in the area, we decided that we would combine two of our great loves, climbing and swimming, and took the train only five minutes away from Varenna to the small town on Bellano. Como
Bellano is one of those wonderful places that you can easily spend several days exploring. It is not the most famous of all tourist destinations in
Bellano, is however, not just home to a pretty little beach, it is also the proud site of a magnificent gorge which is known as the Orrido di Bellano. Although the orrido is not world famous, it has earnt itself a good reputation with foreign tourists, who have affectionately nicknamed it the little
Grand Canyon. When Luca and I first arrived in Bellano, we decided to see this natural wonder before anything else. The weather that day was uncharacteristically cool and there had been several thunderstorms with strong winds the night before. Rain spat down upon us as we entered the orrido, but we figured that the spray from the water would get us wet soon enough, so it wasn’t really a problem.
Although the attraction would have been beautiful enough if it had just been left in its natural glory, the owners had puzzlingly decided to turn it into an
, complete with huge dinosaur sculptures and various other tacky displays. As strange as it was, Luca and I still welcomed the opportunity to pose with a raptor in various silly positions before entering the caves surrounding the gorge themselves. Once inside we walked along the narrow bridges which wound their way along the perimeter of the rocks and observed the full power of the water as it poured into the gorge below. The stream resembled a waterfall and there were plenty of places to take amazing photographs along the route. Italian Jurassic Park
Once we had our fill of the orrido, we decided to head to the lake shore in search of a restaurant for lunch. Like the previous night, the wind suddenly picked up and we were blown about by what felt like gale force gusts. The lake turned choppy and the few sail boats that had dared to venture out onto the waters, struggled not to be carried away. Personally, I was more concerned with exposing myself to the people of Bellano, as my dress kept flipping up Marilyn Monroe style. It seemed as though I would not be getting my wish to swim in the waters of
and as we settled in a sheltered café, I felt a little bit disappointed. Luca assured me that there was still plenty more to see and to not give up on the weather. With that glimmer of hope, I tucked in to a large plate of delicious gnocchi. Lake Como
After lunch we began to explore the town, which is centuries old and a pedestrian zone only. The streets were narrow and adorned with various flags representing the different communities nearby. Around every corner was a photo opportunity, from clothing lines, which were hung from window to window across the streets, to various monuments that had been erected in honour of saints. Being in Bellano was like being transported back in time and as Luca and I weaved our way through the town the view seemed to get more and more spectacular.
The town is located at the base of one of the many mountains that surround
, and it is possible to follow trails that lead hikers on leisurely strolls to the towns resting above. Luca and I elected to follow one such trail that promised panoramic views of the lake and finished at an ancient church. As we climbed higher and higher, following at first cobblestoned streets and then climbing stairs which were overgrown with grass and moss, my fear of heights began to kick in. It is not that the trails were in any way dangerous, but more that looking out over the water and miniature homes below gave me the feeling that I was leaning over the edge of a very tall skyscraper. Still, I persevered which Luca’s coaxing, after all I wasn’t about to turn back when we had already come so far. Lake Como
As we neared the top of the mountain, the sun emerged once again and we ascended a very old and steep set of stairs with stone and wooden carvings lining the way. These carvings depicted Christ carrying the cross on the way to his crucifixion and Luca said that they were known as the Stations of the Cross. Flowers and candles had been left at the base of each of these stations and with the now blue sky serving as a backdrop; I experienced the sense of the awe that religious pilgrims must have felt when visiting the area centuries ago.