Italy has always been one of my favorite countries to travel, not only for its breathtaking sightseeing, architecture and historic cities but also for its culture and a language that sounds like the Romanian language. A Romanian who does not know any Italian can still understand almost 40 % of a spoken phrase, that much the two Latin languages have in common. So if you’re learning Italian for some reason, you can understand pretty much of Romanian too.
I remember the first time being in Italy, like almost 10 years ago or so, I had a feeling I’ve arrived …back home. People were so gregarious, passionate about life and energetic just like we are here in Romania. The only difference is that here people live in a more traditional way and generally we work more hours for a lower salary, hence the differences in lifestyle.
Out of many regions of this beautiful country, Lombardia is a central one and has its unique attractions. Starting with Milan, the well-known fashion city and ending with Lake Como, a superb lake surrounded by an astounding landscape which impressed me long before I went there. If you have seen the Italian serial Vivere (Living with passion), you might remember some of the marvelous scenes filmed around Lake Como. Its natural beauty and its wealthy houses arose a strong desire to visit this part of the world at least one time in a lifetime. However, now I’m thinking to come back and enjoy at a pace the place, since the first time I went was kind in a hurry, having only half a day to do visit the place.
How to arrive at Lake Como from Milan
If you’re visiting Milan, you can easily get to see this wonderful area (Lake Como and surroundings) traveling by train from Milan to Como. The ticket will cost you only 9 euro round trip on second seating class, but you really don’t need a first seating class for about one hour trip. The distance is relatively short, you need to take the train from Milan Centrale to Como San Giovani station, that’s only 3 or 4 stops.
The trains in Italy are very comfortable and clean, it’s a pleasure to travel by them. The only thing I didn’t like in Milan Central Station and generally in the whole Italy is their system to validate the ticket. You need to do that before embarking the train somewhere on special machines on the waiting platform. It happens that three of them were out of printing ink that day and I almost miss the train trying to validate the ticket. If you don’t do that on the station platform, you get fined. Lucky me, until now I didn’t find out how much is that fine.
What can you do and see in Como
Once arrived in Como, you have many options to spend your time, that’s why is wise to plan ahead what is most important for you to see. Well, I didn’t plan anything, since I had only a few hours to spend in there, still I managed to see some of those touristic attractions Lake Como is famous for: seeing the city center, walking on its narrow and chic streets, walking by the lake and trying some Italian pasta.
Walking on the streets in Como
The experience of walking on so narrow yet chic streets was overwhelming. The sensation was liked I was taken a travel in the past and somehow in a different reality, the ancient houses were so close to each other like they’re having a mysterious chit-chat and you’re interrupted them.
Visiting the Duomo of Como
Many locations in Italy has a Duomo – Italian Catholic Cathedrals, with specific ancient architecture styles ranging from Romanesque to Gothic. Unlike in Milan where you have to pay a tax and stay in line sometimes for hours to enter the Duomo, in Como the entrance is free-of-charge and you don’t have to stay in line for that. Looking from the exterior you got an idea what to expect inside, and I can tell that if you see one Duomo you’ve seen them all. They’re very much alike. But of course, Como Duomo is not that big and that sophisticated as the Duomo in Milan is.
Visit Piazza del Mercato del Grano
Actually, you can find more markets in Como, but this one was on my way from Bellagio Central Station to Lake Como. It was full of handmade and not only little nice things, but nonetheless, I didn’t find anything interesting and useful to buy. True is I’m on a shopping diet period in my life, as I already accumulated a lot of (useless) things in my houses.
Food culture: Trying Italian Pasta in Como
I like pasta no matter how is cooked or how many (exotic or not) ingredients are mixed. And the best opportunity to eat a dish in its native country is, of course, to enjoy pasta while in Italy. So, when my stomach signalized me it’s time to take a break from walking and find a place where to eat, I could only think of a large plate full of Italian style cooked pasta. I stopped at one of the many restaurants in the Lake Como central area (I forgot its name) and ordered pasta carbonara. The price for a plate was 12 euros, it looked deceptively simple and neither tasted like being plentifully enriched with Parmigiano nor brought it at the table. Como, you disappointed me 🙁 You failed to rise up to the reputation of the Italian pasta.
Walking by the Lake Como
After getting lost a few times on my way to the lake, I finally got to see its splendor.
Lake Como has a length of 46 km and is surrounded by the adjacent mountains where you can see some very nice villas.
Of course, like in any other location, the best times to enjoy the view of the landscape are sunrise and sunset. However, I must say Lake Como is gorgeous no matter the time of day. Also, the lake area seemed to be well set up and organized for sporting and leisure activities, like renting a sailboat or a bike to go around enjoying the view, golf courses, tennis facilities, diving, fishing etc.
That much I could do in a day around Lake Como, actually half a day since I left Milan quite late in the morning, and I can say I’m not pleased with that little. That’s why I plan to go back someday, not too far away, and enjoy more of it. If anyone wants to join me to visit Como, let me know and maybe we plan a blogging meeting over there.