I had never visited Italy before and this felt like the perfect place to start.
I was living in France and my Mother, living in Switzerland, wanted to show me Como, which was just a train trip away!
We were craving a relaxing getaway.
I wanted to immerse myself in a new language.
We wanted a short getaway - somewhere closeby that still felt like a vacation.
Reading Time: 8minutes
Lake Como, Italy… I don’t have words to describe this place. Probably not a great start to a blog… But wow. It’s the kind of chilled-out location where, whilst there doesn’t seem to be a whole not to do, one could easily spend an entire Summer here, basking in its supreme tranquillity. For me, it’s my perfect place for a holiday; a weekend getaway; to own a summer-house; even for the day! I adore places that are packed with culture but equally offer a superb serenity that brings you intensely into the Here and Now. Como truly is the perfect equilibrium of the two criteria.
A quaint high street that verges into the town centre, when you emerge at the clearing the grand Duomo towers above as the iridescent Italian sun beams glowingly on top. Directly behind it, the glistening lake beckons and, in a hypnotic state of blissful contentment, I return its call and stare out onto the horizon (probably searching for Mr. Clooney’s residence… Woops); the kind of stare that occurs when you catch glimpse of something sparkling and are drawn to it like a magpie.
The impressive Duomo that is equally stunning in small towns as in big cities
Hidden among the cobbled streets are an array of vintage boutiques – exactly what one would expect from high-class Italian fashion and no less. Understated, yet beautiful pieces hung over the mannequins, colour-coordinated to the seasons passing… Italians really do know how to do it.
If you visit Como, you must visit Giada in her boutique: Mucci Mu… Her infectious welcome will leave your heart warm and you won’t be able to stop smiling
You could lose yourself in these streets. Every corner your head turns and with it: your direction; as though being magnetically pulled into the subtle allure of the town.
You will, no doubt stumble across a treasure trove of cafés along the way, perhaps by entire mistake; although, you will not be able to resist the temptation of stepping foot inside when faced with the inviting aromas of Italian patisserie and charming welcomes from owners and customers alike.
I’ve felt an intense presence here like I have in no other place; even journaling about it now fills me with an internal warmth that I’m sure is radiating outwardly. I suppose that you could call it my Happy Place. It will surely become somewhere which I will grow to call a second home.
One of my favourite boutiques was a little find called Mucci Mu. The owner, Giada, became a friendly face whom we would re-visit every time. Her bespoke pieces are so unique – the fabrics a superb quality. There’s nothing quite like leaving an independent shop knowing that nobody else owns the same item of clothing that you proudly port; that what you are wearing has been hand-picked by the owner and carefully thought-out to suit your style, body and character; like it was made for you.
One of her gorgeous pieces: a knit-style dress with fantastic colours, modelled by my stunning Mother!
My absolute FAVOURITE item of clothing in my wardrobe: this beautiful playsuit. The fabric is smooth and whilst it feels heavy to hold, it just falls beautifully once on and compliments my shape perfectly
Here, the pace of life amazes me. I adore the breezy attitude with which citizens go about their day; they possess a nonchalant mentality because they are so present in their activity and their enjoyment radiates, their energy addictive!
There is a small square that appears less known to the hoards of tourists – one that my Mother and I have grown to love. Personally, when I travel to idyllic locations such as this, I prefer to find cosy and authentic areas, local eateries and to go through the path generally less-travelled by the holiday-makers. In doing so, I have come across some of my all-time favourite cafés and discovered hidden streets that end up leading me to a secret haven. In doing so, I rediscover a little part of myself down each new avenue passed.
The charming cobbled streets of Como
In this peaceful little square lies a bakery, full of authentic Italian delights – of which the sight makes the corners of one’s mouth tremble with excitement. We had breakfast here; in sheer peace and contentment, idly watching the passers-by as we bask in the present moment, overcome by the pure, unadulterated satisfaction that there is no rush to do anything. We can just… Be. And we can’t help but smile.
Traditional Italian Tiramisu for breakfast (as it is designed for!) with my dreamy caffe crème (insert heart-eyes emoji here)
Moreover, just opposite is a scenic restaurant which we visit a few times during our stay here. Of course we ordered the pasta parmigiana; a plate which looked so mouth-wateringly appealing; so sophisticatedly presented, served with a genuine smile and friendliness that resulted in the exchanging of life-stories… All for an incredulous 6 euros?! Forget paying through the nose, in Italy (and tasteful Como, of all places!) one pays modestly for a meal that comes from the heart and one leaves satisfied on a wholesome level.
My first meal in Como was not a disappointment… With a prosecco-spritz on the side
One thing to which I looked forward without fail was my Illy iced coffee… But this was no watered-down, sickening coffee with a few meagre ice cubes chucked in for good measure – oh no. It was beige in colour; creamy beyond belief – almost the consistency of a gelato. A texture that melted on the tongue and slid down the throat, providing an intense moment of pleasure from the beautifully sweet taste… Crikey, that got me carried away.
When you visit here, it is essential that you take the cable car up to the top of the hill. Whilst the queue seemed gigantic and we were sweltering under the scorching sun, we were, in reality, only queueing for a little over fifteen minutes and the result was more than worth it. Once we arrived at the top, we were welcomed with a whole new area of the town that we were not by any means expecting. On top of the hills, with nothing but the calm breeze of the lush green branches and mild, refreshing wind to disturb you, lies a little village, filled with more cobbled streets and unpaved paths which tempt me tantalizingly for, after all, I’m nothing if not a sucker for getting lost in the labyrinths of an undiscovered location. Here, we lunch at a restaurant owned by a burly chap; he seems to take no prisoners and all-the-while, we remain on his good side, complimenting his food and we manage to have a good chuckle with him over an inexpensive glass of dry, white wine. This little village feels other-worldly and truly like a dream location out of an Audrey Hepburn movie. If Heaven exists, this is the closest that you will find to it on Earth.
An untouched palace just around the corner from the main square… I told you, all of the town’s delights are hidden
A quaint Church at the top of the hill
A mini, quintisessential Italian village lies also at the top of this hill
Another element that makes this mini-trip a must-see part of a voyage to Como is the magnificent panoramic view that you see from the top. It is unbelievable; simply breath-taking. All that I can think of to describe this view is to intro Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” as it almost feels like this is what he had in mind when writing it.
Views for days… Literally
Como is truly a wonderous place. Writing about its joys leads me to relive the surreal moments of utter serenity and present-moment awareness that I spent here. I can’t wait to go back; but, in the meantime, I will dream of its allure calling me and find happiness in the fact that, one day, I may come here and just might never leave.
(It feels like my outro is appropriately fitting for this post.)
A 22-year-old language enthusiast; globe-trotter; aspiring writer and ardent wanderer, my blog documents the fusion of my passion for travel with my spiritual values – an exploration of consciousness and the world around me in tandem.