Lake Como or Lago di Como (as the locals call it) has long been known for its unrivaled natural beauty and endlessly enchanting villas. During the last 10 to 15 years the place has also become world famous because of one person: George Clooney.
Clooney has a luxurious villa on the shores of Lake Como and he spends copious amounts of time in the area. According to trashy gossip magazines (which I love) he’s often joined by friends such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Matt Damon, as well as countless others who I’ve deemed not important enough to name here.
I’ve been to Lake Como twice now, just as all those trashy magazines were promising loads of Clooney. I’ve circled up and down and around the lake on a boat, I’ve driven around it by car, I’ve even tried hiking the hills, and nothing. No Clooney, no Pitt… Not even a Damon!
Time spent at Lake Como is never time wasted, though. The area really is incredibly beautiful and surprisingly lively. Many of the villas are actually movie stars themselves, having provided settings for films ranging from Star Wars to the Ocean’s films. One of the most striking buildings in the area is Villa Melzi, surrounded by a grand garden right at the edge of the water.
In a way I was lucky not to run into George – by the time I got to Como I had been traveling for several weeks, riding trains all around Switzerland, hadn’t really slept in 48 hours and all my clothes had more wrinkles than an old fisherman’s face…
The coastline of Lake Como is filled with charming villages, connected to each other by regular ferry service. Bellagio is a great place to start village-hopping. The idyllic small village is filled with cobblestone streets and charming bistros with terraces overlooking the lake.
The mountains surrounding the lake often gather dense clouds and fog, but it usually passes quickly.
Varenna is quite possibly the most beautiful of Lake Como’s villages. Unfortunately it’s also the most boring one. Save for a few restaurants and hotels, the village is dead. The colorful houses at the foot of the lush mountains and the bellowing lake are worth a quick peek, though!