This Easter I was able to take a trip that has been on my bucket list for quite some time now. But due to pandemic, it was obviously not possible any sooner.
When I was younger, I had visited Italy and now I didn’t remember much. Last summer was my first trip to Italy in my adulthood and I just couldn’t get enough of this picturesque, richly historical and warm (people and climate) country! I have been going to different parts of Italy ever since, and have found myself drawn to it again and again. Last summer I explored the Puglia region and it was absolutely phenomenal. This trip was around the scenic Lake Como, fashionable Milan and photogenic Portofino areas.
Lake Como is one of the most coveted, beautiful and luxurious places in the world. Celebrities and travellers alike come here to soak in the beauty of nature and take some time off from the busy world and that’s exactly what we did! We spent about 4 days staying in Como, and it was absolutely stunning. Every where we went, I was in awe of how cute the towns bordering the lake were and how blue the water was.
After checking into our hotel, The Sheraton Lake Como Hotel, we explored the town of Como. We visited the Duomo, and I was just taken aback by how stunning it was. In a time when prints weren’t available, digital or physical, this Duomo (church) used the most stunning embroidered tapestry, vibrant stain glass art and everywhere we looked there yet another sculpture or carving that just depicted how talented these craft-smith were. The ceiling had gold and other beautiful sculptures of cherubs. All in all, it was really worth going to.
Eat At Stilo
We had lunch at an Italian restaurant called Stilo. It was not touching the lake but overlooking it. We spent the day just walking around and shopping a little bit as the fashion in Italy is really unparalleled.
Dinner At Mediterranée
By evening we went to the main square which had many restaurants and right in the centre was an amazing musician playing an electric violin. It was an amazing vibe. We obviously overdosed on pizzas during our trip but another restaurant that we loved in Como was Mediterranée, which was in the same square. They had really good sea food, sourdough pizza and desserts.
We took a private boat to Bellagio the next day. I had heard about how stunning it was, and seen pictures but its beauty jumps out at you in person! The boat ride in itself was so nice. It takes about an hour and a half from Como to get to Bellagio. On the way we also stopped at Villa del Balbianello. If I could have a wedding again, it would be here. It is a famous wedding destination and also where the movie Casino Royale was shot. It was really nice to visit this location and soak in the views and the history.
Lunch At La Bellagina
We got there by noon and had lunch there at one of the many pizzeria’s that are there. One restaurant with an amazing view was La Bellagina.
After lunch, we walked around the town and came across some really nice locals boutiques. Around 4 we got some gelato and sat by the lake in a cafe. We experienced something called “dolce far niente” which means the beauty of doing nothing. We literally just sat at the cafe and looked at lake and enjoyed our coffee and gelato and it was a beautiful feeling. Then we took the boat back and also visited Nesso on the way. It was really nice to go with a small boat into the creek and see some waterfalls. It was like I was in painting.
Dinner At Namaste
After making our way back to Como, we ate at an Indian restaurant called Namaste. It was really good food, especially their curries!
We chose this day to get on a ferry and take a more scenic route to explore all the little towns around Lake Como. We passed through many beautiful towns before we reached Menaggio. The town has a rustic vibe and you should plan to spend a few ours there.
Lunch At Il Ristorante di Paolo
In Menaggio, we ate lunch at Il Ristorante di Paolo. Then we walked around the city centre and the boardwalk, which is an ideal spot to click pictures with the beautiful lake as the background. After which we sat at the cafe at Grand Hotel Victoria to have a glass of prosecco and some tiramisu with quite a beautiful backdrop.
On the fourth day, we laid by the pool in the Italian summer heat.
Ride On The Funicolare
After lunch, we made our way to the Funicolare. This is kind of a tram that takes you to one of the mountain tops in Como and from there you can enjoy the scenic view of the whole city. Then we got some ice cream, made our way to the hotel and left for Milan.
Upon reaching Milan, I was ready to go and explore. I was so excited to go shopping in the city of style! Especially after hearing such amazing things about the boutiques (especially from AiSPi which you can explore here). And Milan did not disappoint. There were local Italian label boutiques just about everywhere–each more fashion-forward. One that really caught my eye was called 4uattro which had the most amazing clothes.
Dinner At The Obicà Terrace
After some shopping, we went to Obicà terrace to eat dinner with the view of the Duomo. They are known for their wide range of Mozzarella cheese. You may overeat these delicious treats!
This day, we visited some of the high-end designer boutiques. It was an absolute delight. The staff at every store were so nice, including the ones I saw before and I would definitely go back to Milan just to explore more local options! The main area that hosts all the high end brands is called “quadrilatero della moda”.
Breakfast At Cova
We also had breakfast at this amazing Laduree style tea room called Cova. And don’t forget the quintessential Italian espressos! After doing some immense damage on our credit cards, we had lunch at the Bulgari Hotel and what an experience it was! After this we went to the most architecturally exquisite mall called Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
Dinner At Papermoon
At night, we ate at Papermoon. It is an elegant Milanese restaurant in an old villa. It has a backyard with the nicest vibe.
We began the day by eating breakfast at the hotel and it was really quite an extravagant meal at the Armani Hotel. From there we went to see the Last Supper painting. It isn’t as vibrant as seen in the movies or in the image above and the colours have faded due to the age of the painting but it is a must-see!
After this moving experience we went to the Navigli area of Milan for some delicious gelato. It is best to go there after dark. I found that locals go to one place for appetisers and wine, walk around and then go to another for dinner. We tried and loved this!
We drove to Portofino early in the morning. In the city, we stayed at the (Belmond) Splendido Portofino which is located on a hill overlooking the harbour. This is one of the five top hotels in the world.
Stop At Genoa
Our first stop was Genoa. It was so picturesque, literally like a post card! We just walked around and repeated our mantra for the trip–shop, eat pizza & pasta, walk around the rustic, quaint and charming streets, enjoy Italian coffee and gelato, REPEAT! Then we drove back to Portofino for dinner.
We explored the town of Portofino and took a kayak tour around the city. The highlight was a fabulous view of the stunning Villa Olivetta from the water. This is the home of Dolce & Gabbana.
Dinner At Nessun Dorma
After kayaking, we drove to Cinque Terre and had some gelato, walked around and had dinner at Nessun Dorma. The view from this restaurant is exactly the postcard picture of Cinque Terre.
And just like that our 9 day Italian holiday was over.
Italy is one of those places that captures my heart every single time. It keeps calling me back and as its a large country with diverse areas, no matter how many times you visit it is always a different experience than the last.
What stays the same is the warm and welcoming people, the amazing food and stunning fashion.