All month long we celebrate Ireland. From the music, to the festivals, to its famous coastlines and castles. Book our sweeping castle tour and spend an afternoon at falconry school. To get you ready, our travel experts share some of their best packing essentials. We also welcome three new advisors to the team.
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
This month our marketing director Sekita Ekrek shows us why Italy’s Lake Como lives up to its magical, jet-setting reputation. She recently visited the town of Bellagio, known as the Pearl of Lake Como. There she stayed at the historic Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, an F1S Wonderwall property, which sits at the edge of the Lake.
Where is Lake Como?
Lake Como is in northern Italy, about 50 miles north of Milan, near the border of Switzerland. It is Italy’s most popular lake, and is in the shape of a wishbone.
Why visit Lake Como?
The region has been popular since Roman times for its sheer beauty and romance. It’s great for hiking, biking, boat trips and exploring the charming towns and historic villas. It’s also a popular day trip from Milan. History buffs will recognize Como as the region where Mussolini was captured and executed during World War II.
Why would you recommend the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni?
It’s truly the perfect place to stay for a Como visit. It’s the only five-star resort in Bellagio, the most beautiful town in Lake Como. The hotel dates back to 1850, and was a holiday home for European aristocracy. Today it offers old world glamour, amazing service, a world class spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant under one roof. Everything feels relaxed, making it ideal for couples and families alike. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, it is offset from the town but just steps away from the charming cobblestone streets full of shops, cafés and gelaterias! Also, it’s one of the last family run luxury properties in Europe, and the extra personal touch was always evident.
What’s on your Must Do list?
-Head straight to the Villa Serbelloni SPA for one of a dozen stress-melting treatments. The facial by Serena was the best I’ve ever had.
-Tour Villa del Balbianello. Built in 1787, it’s the most famous and one of the most stunning villas on the Lake. So stunning it ended up in the James Bond film “Casino Royale” and “Star Wars Episode II.”
-Take a boat ride to lunch at Locanda dell’Isola Comacina on the abandoned island of Comacina, in the middle of the Lake. Learn about the island’s ancient curse over a lavish alfresco meal. Don’t forget to check out the wall of famous faces (yes, including George Clooney) who’ve dined there.
-Visit the eclectic Villa Monastero in the quaint town of Varenna. Enjoy a fresh seafood lunch at the new trendy spot Varenna Mon Amour.
-Finish your stay with a show stopping dinner at Mistral, the Villa Serbelloni’s Michelin-starred restaurant specializing in molecular gastronomy.
Shopping is a must in Italy. What are the best buys in Como?
Como is the fine silk capital of Italy, which most people outside of the fashion industry don’t know. Take advantage of the gorgeous designs and quality. Additionally, you can’t go wrong with Italian made handbags and leather products. In Bellagio, Arte e Moda, Bellagioseta, Azalea, and Il Capriccio offer some of the best finds.
What is the best time of year to visit?
In the spring, everything is in full bloom and crowds are fewer. July and August attract the largest number of visitors.