Le Calandre is Worth the Detour

Le Calandre  is located in Rubano, on the outskirts of Padua, and not on the tourist trail. However, it was well worth our detour to eat at this restaurant which is helmed by Max Alajmo, who some consider to be one of Italy's best chefs. This was possibly the most fun 3-star Michelin experience I've had because the staff were incredibly fun and witty, very much in line with their boss, and the food was good, modern and yet, not too precious. Given the chance I would definitely come back...

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Perfect Lunch by Bellagio’s Docks

Bellagio's best restaurant

At the far end of Bellagio's Villa Melzi garden is the little hamlet of Loppia where the restaurant Alle Darsene di Loppia serves up a perfect lunch. Picture this - a vine covered pergola, crisp white linen, fresh local seafood and wine on an early autumn day. While the weather may not always be as ideal as it was during my visit last month, I'd still make the Alle Darsene di Loppia a must visit eatery in Lake Como for its unpretentious cooking and warm and friendly service. The risotto...

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Bellagio’s Grand Garden – the Villa Melzi

Lake Como's gardens

Lake Como is dotted with grand villas and for a few of them, the gardens probably exceed the beauty of the villas themselves. Two of the best known gardens are Bellagio's Villa Melzi and across the lake, near Tremezzo, is that of Villa Carlotta. Since we were staying in Bellagio, we spent a lazy late afternoon strolling the garden of the Villa Melzi.

The villa has been in the same family since it was built in 1810 for Francesco Melzi d'Eril. While the villa itself is closed to the...

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Lake Como’s Star Attraction is the Villa del Balbianello (not George)

The Italian lakes are famous for their villas and probably none is more recognised than Lake Como's Villa del Balbianello. The villa has held its own in scenes from the Bond movie Casino Royale as well as in Star Wars, where a young Anakin Skywalker romanced Padme. I was even more impressed on my visit here because the story behind the house and its rooms are in themselves remarkable.

Built in 1787 on what used to be a monastery by the Cardinal Durini, the villa had passed from the...

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