La Dolce Vita - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

La Dolce Vita

After spending five days in Lugano, Switzerland with 65 of my oldest friends, seven of us were traveling on to Lake Como for some R&R. We rented a villa right on the water in the small village of Lezzano, Italy. None of us had been there before and we rented the villa sight unseen but we were excited. Our fearless leader, Leo, the only male in the group, had arranged for a minivan to drive us door to door.

Check out time was noon and as noon approached I stood in the hallway watching as the luggage piled up. Six girls and one guy, spending two weeks in Europe, added up to a lot of luggage. Granted we were taking the leftover wine and beer from our reunion so that added a few bags. But seriously, it was amazing. No way we could fit in one minivan. In the end we had to get a second car. It cost us $400 to go 34 miles. It was worth every penny.


Our Villa

When the driver pulled in to our villa he said, “All of this is just for you?”. He sounded amazed. I guess he didn’t think we had it together after our disorganized luggage fiasco.

We also were amazed and couldn’t believe our luck. The villa was beautiful. The yard surrounding it was beautiful. The waves lapping against the porch were beautiful. The view was beautiful. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was a wreck inside, we still would have loved it. But it was beautiful inside as well.


Driveway to our Villa



The first floor had a laundry room, a living/ dining room, a large kitchen, a bathroom, and a big porch where we spent most of our time. The second floor had three bedrooms and a bathroom, and the third floor attic had a bedroom and bathroom and gorgeous skylights that somehow knew to close automatically when it started to rain.

And did I mention the view?

Lezzano is built up the side of the mountain just like every other village on Lake Como. There is one main road that runs through it but otherwise it is small alleys and passageways. About a five minute walk from our villa was the only hotel in town, Albergo Aurora. It had a big open air restaurant right on the water with a small sunbathing and swimming area. They rented boats and took people waterskiing. We spent our first afternoon and evening there sitting in the restaurant eating, drinking and soaking it all in.

The next morning, Leo went out foraging and found a small grocery store where he bought coffee and food for breakfast. He immediately made friends with the storekeeper. Leo loved to practice his broken Italian and was known all over the village by the time we left. Plus I think his Italian improved.



We had done our research on Lake Como and figured we knew what we wanted to do and how we were going to get around. We knew there was a ferry that went to different points on the lake and we knew we could also take water taxis. Somebody in the restaurant heard us talking about how it would take us a half hour by boat to get to Bellagio and started laughing, “You can catch a bus right out here and be there in ten minutes”.

We took him up on it but we had to ask several people how to buy bus tickets. Turns out, you just get on the bus and tell the bus driver you don’t have a ticket and he stops along the way at a place where you can buy a ticket and he waits for you.

Like I said there is one main road along Lake Como and it is about the width of two cars, barely. Outside mirrors have to lie flat when meeting a car, buses are a tight squeeze and if there are pedestrians, you just have to wait. We were all sure we would be killed but the Italians had it down to an art form.




Bellagio was one place I had always wanted to go. I heard it was one of the most beautiful places on earth and not to be missed. What I didn’t know was that there was nothing special about Bellagio. Everywhere on Lake Como had the same feel.

Bellagio was a tourist town. There were more shops than I saw anywhere else. Silk shops, wood carvings, clothing, shoes, jewelry, and apparently there was also a supermarket. We didn’t climb all the way up to the top of Bellagio so we only saw the most touristy part down by the water but it had quaint cobblestone walkways and narrow winding streets.






After a lovely lunch on a veranda overlooking the lake, we managed to get some gifts and some provisions for our dinner. I would have liked to spend more time in Bellagio as there was a lovely park down by the water leading to the gardens of the Villa Melzi. But with all our purchases it was not practical. In the end I felt fine about missing it and look forward to going back.

The downside of staying in a villa was we had to get provisions and lug them back but the upside was we had a reason to go home and enjoy a relaxing evening.


View to Lezzano from our porch




Lake Como is 56 square miles and is the third largest lake in Italy. It is 1,300 feet deep and one of the deepest lakes in Europe. This is the first in a series of posts about our time exploring this lake both on and off the water.






About the author

Kathy Gamble

Kathleen Gamble was born and raised overseas and has traveled extensively. She has a BA in Spanish and has worked in publishing, printing, desktop publishing, translating, and purchasing. She also designs and creates her own needlepoint. She started journaling at a young age and her memoir, Expat Alien, came out of those early journals. Over the years she has edited and produced an American Women’s Organization cookbook in Moscow, Russia, and several newsletters. Her first book, Expat Alien, was published in 2012 and she recently published a cookbook, 52 Food Fridays, both available on You can also follow her blog at Contact the author.

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