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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Berghotel Passo Giau, Dolomites, – Good Food Salvages a Rainy Day

On a rainy day in the Dolomites, I savoured one of the best veal cheek dishes I've ever had. Wholesome, satisfying, comfort food at its best. The cheeks were tender and tasty and the gravy, rich but subtle, complimenting the meat. So while we didn't see the iconic Passo Giau views, it was certainly worth the drive to the Berghotel Passo Giau for lunch in its restaurant.

The Hotel Passo Giau is the only facility of its kind in this landmark location. It has been lovingly run by the...

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