Bellisimo Bellagio

Our joy in driving from Florence to Brunate, a hilltop town overlooking Lake Como, crept up and caught us by surprise.

The Thirsty Travellers weren’t expecting much from the day, just a long freeway trek, but it became one of our favourite experiences during our holiday in Italy.

First we stopped for cappuccinos in the UNESCO listed town square of Modena. DJ was keen to check it out because he’d been there a few times on business and never seen the historic part of town.

We were charmed by Modena. It once had canals like Venice, with porticoed buildings along the edges. The canals are long gone, but the gorgeous porticos remain, filled with stylish boutiques and bustling cafés.

Magical.

Then we powered on to Como. Ginger started clapping with delight as we approached, but her enthusiasm evaporated when she saw the down-at-heel part of town we passed through. So we decided to drive along the edge of the lake in search of a little beauty. And found lots of it!

First we caught a local ferry for a sticky beak, then we hopped on a car ferry across the lake to Bellagio so DJ could use the laundromat.

Bellagio at sunset was totally gorgeous. Belissimo!

As good fortune would have it, the laundromat was in a narrow, cobblestoned street opposite a fabulous wine bar called Enoteca Wine Bar Angolo DiVino. So we settled down at an outdoor table to nibble on charcuterie and sip our first ever rose Prosecco, which was totally delicious.

When the laundry was done we meandered back to the car via the local gelateria for some superb coffee gelato, then set off on the lakeside road to Brunate, as the lights of Lake Como twinkled and fireworks sparked in the distance.

Brunate is perched high above Como. The art nouveau hotel we booked, the Bellavista, looked out over the whole lake.

The hotel was jumping when we arrived, a jazz band was playing in the courtyard and the restaurant was filled with happy patrons.

Our room was gorgeous, with French doors onto the amazing view.

We lay in bed listening to the band as the delicious aromas of the restaurant drifted up to our room.

Later we drank limoncello on the garden terrace while the band played on and Como twinkled far below.

It was a very special way to end a wonderful day.

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