Imagine if you were wealthy and you could have a house anywhere you'd like. Maybe you could have multiple houses in different places. Where would you go? Well, peeps like George Clooney and Madonna at some point decided that they liked the area known as Como enough to buy houses there. Como, Italy is less than an hour north of Milan and is almost on the border with Switzerland. Diana had been there before but I was curious why they'd chosen to have houses there so we went to check it out.
Como's a small town located on Lake Como. The old center was a walled city at one point and some of the towers and fortifications can still be seen around town.
The weather on the day we went was really crappy, complete with driving rain and even some hail. Still, there's something about walking around a medieval village when it's cold and rainy. I think it's much easier to imagine what it was like "back in the day" when sewage ran down the middle of the streets and people were dying of the black death...
...just kidding. But it is charming and filled with little cafes and shops like this one:
Like 100% of the cities and towns in Europe, Como's got a church at the center. Like 98% of the churches, it's nice, it's peaceful, and it's full of old art depicting people with spears through them or dismembered heads. But, even with my preconceptions of what I'd find in "another church", I happened across this diorama of hell, which I fell in love with. The detail, the imagery, the colors, the whole thing is beautifully well done and all in the space of a large fish tank:
Before we left town and against my better judgement, Diana got me on another boat for a one-hour tour of the lake. Remember how I said that the day was stormy? Yeah, the lake had white caps and there I was on a boat. Again. The reality was that it wasn't too bad and I got some nice pictures of the fresh falling snow on the hill tops (yes, it was cold out too).
From Como, we got back into the car and decided to drive up to Lugano, Switzerland, which is a lake-side town about 30 minutes northwest of Como. Crossing the border between Italy and Switzerland wasn't like crossing from Tijuana into San Diego but it's more involved than crossing between Spain and France for example - you actually have to stop at a checkpoint but they basically wave you through without saying a word.
If you haven't been to Switzerland, it's probably exactly as you imagine it. Expensive. Clean. Well organized. Lovely green mountains topped by snowy peaks:
When we got to Lugano, we parked the car and Diana immediately jumped out and ran over to this bus-stop advertisement with a picture of roasting corn on the cob. See, Diana's a big fan of corn on the cob and eats it whenever she gets the chance.
Towards the center of Lugano, Switzerland, from across Lake Lugano. Not too bad, right?
We hung out for about an hour and then drove around a little bit more before heading back to Italy. We decided to go check out some of the smaller towns outside of Como and stopped at Cernobbio. They were having a classic car rally sponsored by BMW so there were lots of flowers and decorations placed by BMW as well as lots of "well-off" folks walking around. I loved this building-sized map and distance list on the side of this house. The brownish-gold spot at the bottom center of the map is Como and below the map is a list of nearby places along with the distances:
Diana and I went to happy hour and got drinks at a place right next to the lake. It's worth mentioning how nice and cool the folks were at the place we went (sorry, I don't remember the name). They brought us a couple plates of snacks and made a special drink for Diana then charged us almost nothing. Combine that with the beautiful setting and it was a very cool way to end our visit. I think I can understand the appeal of the area. Next time, maybe we'll hang with Clooney!
Selfie at Lake Como, Italy: