Saturday, September 01, 2007

July 2007 - Lago di Como - Most beautiful place in Italy!

After one year touring this beautiful country we have arrived at what must be the most beautiful spot on earth.

Villa del Balbianello - the villa was built in 1787 on the site of a Franciscan monastery for the Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini. The two towers which can be seen in the picture are the campanili of the convent church. After the cardinal’s death in 1796, Giuseppe Arconati Visconti bought the villa and made improvements to its gardens and the loggia. It fell into disrepair and was purchased by an American military officer, then by an Italian adventurer and finally was donated to the Italian government. It has been used in movies including Star Wars and Casino Royale.

The best part of Villa Balbianello is the view of the lake and Bellagio.

The best way to get around the lake is by ferry. As there is nothing much to do in this region, the ferry is also the primary source of entertainment.

Below is a classic scene of Bellagio with a beautiful Riva Acquarama speeding through the lake. These classic Italian boats are amazingly crafted, carved out of solid wood and intricately detailed. They are clearly intended for cruising on the lake.

Nothing beats sunset on Lago di Como.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

July 2007 - Lugano, Switzerland - Lago di Lugano

As part of our tour of the lake district we visited Lugano located on Lago di Lugano in the Ticino region of Switzerland. This beautiful, Italian-speaking region is more like Italy than like Switzerland in cuisine, charm and warmth of the locals.

The neat, understated architecture, abundance of banks and watch shops, and orderly ways of the inhabitants reminded us that we were in Switzerland. Here is Casandra with the main street market behind her. The market was a combination of Italian products, German sausages and used books.
For the most part, the streets are wide, straight and impeccably clean. The buildings are Renaissance imitated and very well kept up in pastel colors.This church is one of the older structures in the downtown area.The shopping area is covered with beautiful arched porticos which are convenient here where the weather is so unpredictable.Overall the town is charming but appears to be a reproduction of an old town, with only small authentic parts.