Thriving Tourism in Lake Como Italy
Bellano is a small town on the eastern shore of this Italy lake that has always stimulated our curiosity.
We passed by it many times by train while commuting between various towns on the Eastern shores of the lake. Just before reaching the train station traveling from the north, you may notice the Orrido di Bellano – an amazing gorge with streams of running water right after the train exits the tunnel. More on that in a second…
The town is not nearly as heavily touristed as nearby Varenna. But you may catch the occasional tourist who was sent here due to all the hotels in Varenna being overbooked! And what a feast it was to finally take the time and visit this beautiful town…
From Milano, you can take a train to Como and then take the C10 bus to Menaggio. From Menaggio, take the ferry to Varenna. And then take either the bus or train to Bellano. There is also a ferry from Varenna to Bellano but does not run very often.
From Bergamo, you can take a direct train with a change in Lecco.
…From Peaceful Shores…
As our boat approached the quiet shoreline of Bellano, we saw some beautiful, ornate houses right on the lake and a nice harbor with a long promenade, all lined up with tall trees. Even though it was summer, we had no problems finding a quiet bench under the trees that provided some cool shade and a wonderful panoramic view of the western shores of the lake.
Not far from the ferry station (just make a right and walk along the promenade) you will come across an incredible beach with clean sand and amazing views. On a sunny, summer day, you may wonder if you are not somewhere in Hawaii – what a way to spend your vacation in Italy!
This amazing view had stimulated our appetite for some fresh Italian cuisine. Not knowing a single place for food in this area, we took a risk and followed one of the signs to a local pizzeria.
…To Great Eateries…
At 3PM we were so starving and ready for a late lunch, but realized that most places would be closed at this time for their regular siesta.
After a short walk through a maze of narrow passageways, we arrived at the Il Cantinone pizzeria.
A quick look at the menu revealed 45 different types of pizza to choose from! Your pizza can include anything from artichoke to
I ordered the one with ‘funghi’ containing delicious mushrooms from the area. It is here I learned about my new favorite kind of mushroom called chiodino. They are tiny with rather long stems but soooo good, and I just had to ask about them.
…And Lakeview Hotels
There are a few lovely hotels right on the lake with spotless clean rooms and great restaurants.
You are likely to get a room with a view of the lake and even a private balcony for cheaper then you would have to pay in nearby Varenna, Bellagio or Menaggio.
There is the Hotel Meridiano, right on the lake with very friendly owners and a lovely gated entrance and Hotel Villa Stupenda is located higher up with great views of the lake.
The Famous Gorge
Upon arriving, we immediately spotted the signs for the famous Orrido di Bellano or the Gorge of Bellano. It could also be nicknamed the ‘little Grand Canyon of Lake Como’ since it was also formed by millions of years of erosion.
Similar to other towns by the lake, it is built on a hill so get ready for some alpine walking if you want to get to that gorge.
Fortunately it is not far…it took us about 8 minutes by foot from the boat harbor while walking through narrow streets lined with small shops, climbing sets of cobble-stoned stairs and passing through several interesting medieval churches.
The gorge was created after 15 million years of water erosion formed a deep ravine in the mountain.
Visitors can get a spectacular inside-view of the gorge thanks to narrow platforms fixed in the rock. It is spectacular to walk past the waterfalls and enjoy breathtaking views of the sparkling running water, rich vegetation and caves spread throughout the gorge.
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