Rome has its ruins. Florence has its art. But if you want to really relax on your Italy vacation, I think Lake Como is a great place to unwind. Lake Como, just miles from the Switzerland border in northern Italy, is shaped like an upside-down "Y," and the town of Bellagio sits right in the middle — where the three legs meet.
town’s main street, Piazza Mazzini, runs along the water, with
restaurants and hotels taking full advantage of the views. The stepped, pedestrian-only lanes extending up from the main street
are perfect for leisurely window shopping. Elegant shops feature
Italian leather goods, clothing and more.
Como silk is a specialty here, and boutiques sell beautiful
scarves. The saleswomen at Azalea on Salita Serbelloni invited me
to unfold as many scarves as I wanted to appreciate the patterns and
note the artist’s signature — often written at the bottom.
We wanted to explore, so we picked up a walking tour brochure from the tourist information
center. The two-and-a
half-hour walk took us through tiny villages that felt miles and
years removed from the glitz of Bellagio. We passed a 17th-century villa and historic churches and strolled
past olive groves and bountiful gardens. The brochure offered great descriptions of the sights. I recommend wearing sturdy shoes if you go,
as the walk takes you down several narrow cobblestone lanes, which can
We were ready for dinner after our long walk, and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from.
Despite its proximity to Switzerland, Italian cuisine rules in Bellagio
— with pasta dishes, and often fresh fish from the lake, along with traditional
tiramisu and homemade gelato for dessert.
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Polly Sheridan is an editor for Orbitz.