Soundtrack. Far L'Amore]
Lake Como has always held a special place in my heart. I have always been totally captivated by the light and the magic of the lake. It really is nothing short of a fairytale. Sparkling water, colourful little villages dotted throughout the mountains, and that beautiful light. The quiet and calm of the dawn, and the beauty of the magic hour when the sun starts to settle over the lake. It is a special place.
And I have forever had a love affair with the very fancy, Villa d'Este. Not that I have ever stayed there, but I have always loved wandering down that long, grandioso driveway alongside the lake - past the endless hydrangeas - into the grounds of the villa. Nothing screams old-school Italy to me, old-school Lake Como, more than this luxury hotel (with sixteen-century origins, and operating as a luxury hotel since 1873). I love to indulge in my €20 Campari Spritz by the water's edge and relish in the magic of this century-old gem. The people watching is next-level (you will no doubt spot a Russian wedding or two), and the waiters are like something out of an old-school Italian film. It's beautiful here. The swimming pool also is one for the books!
BUT in saying all of that, the most magical discovery in Cernobbio for me was last summer...when I happened somehow to randomly stumble across the most divine little bnb. Villa Derriere - run by a gorgeous young couple, Giorgia and Davide - is literally just seconds away from Villa d'Este. Perfectly positioned and hidden in a quiet garden off the main street, this ivy-covered villa houses just two bedroom suites. It is here in the magic of the pretty garden (complete with bocce ball ground, and chickens) that Giorgia and Davide offer the most generous and warm hospitality.
Davide - an ex-soccer player - is mostly in charge of food. Davide bakes fresh sourdough bread each day. He cooks everything from scratch using fruit and vegetables from their very own garden (which is located just on the other side of the lake in a little town called Nesso). He is gentle and kind. His dogs are his life. And so are his chickens. And so, of course, is Giorgia. The kitchen is full of love and warmth. Everything that comes out of there has been made with so much care. Breakfasts are incredible. Giorgia has generally made a fresh batch of cookies, or perhaps even a delicious chocolate cake, and together they serve up a whole medley of pretty little breakfast dishes - from cake and cookies, to fresh bread, eggs, fruits, yoghurt, homemade muesli, and more. It is like nothing I have ever seen at a bnb before. This is something very, very special.
If you are lucky, Giorgia and Davide might even take you to their farm one evening. Located on a very steep block of land that hugs the edge of the lake, this incredible property is home to a lush and large veggie garden and plenty of fruit trees. There is also a wood-fired pizza oven, and Giorgia and Davide have been known to host some amazing pizza parties down here. Not only that, there is a little row-boat and a perfectly positioned diving platform from which to launch yourself into the lake. The water is fresh and cold. And deep. Very deep. It is an incredible place to swim.
Back in Cernobbio, we love the tiny little town for its coffee shops, its hat store, and its gelato. We generally eat most meals at the villa (Giorgia and Davide provide breakfast, but are also happy to cater for dinner as well if you would like to book it in). When we are there, we never really want to leave.
If you are looking for somewhere else to dine however, I can highly recommend a gorgeous family-run restaurant tucked away high in the mountain. Hidden underneath a canopy of wisteria, the pretty terrace of Trattoria del Glicineis the perfect place for a long lunch with friends. The homemade pastas are amazing, as is the wine. As is everything in fact. I love it here.
Just get back down the hill in time for aperitivo at Villa d'Este (save room for a couple of Spritzs and some olives), and then dinner back at "home". It's a magical little town and one you would be crazy to miss.
It's beautiful here.