Italy: Varenna

By golly does it feel good to be in Singapore eating Asian food right now. Please don’t take any offence, but my body is not used to eating so much pasta and it really filled me up during our trip! It was amazingly delicious, though, and some meals were better than others. We had a lot of three-course lunches and dinners, and way too much carbohydrate to process, so now it is relieving to be having cuisine I am a little more used to.

I wanted to recount our trip to Italy in one post, but I have decided to split it up. I am posting this detailed post about Varenna about two weeks since we were there, but even so, I would love to answer any questions you have about the places I visited. :)

A view of some of the properties down Lake Como
We had lunch on the boat on the way to Varenna, and it was a lovely view.

Varenna was probably my favourite, and not because Nick proposed to me there. And not because it was our first stop in Italy. But it was, in comparison to other places, quieter, less touristy, and more beautiful. We had lots and lots of gelato because we were really feeling the heat at this point.

I took all these photos from my phone camera. Even though I brought my DSLR, it was just too hot to lug it around. Some days I felt simply lazy and I did not want to have an extra thing to take care of. It was heavy (duh!) and I was also a little worried that it would get damaged or make me look more like a tourist (haha).

The waters of Lake Como with mountains in view
All the water was so beautiful
The boat’s propellers made trails in the water
It was so hot I wanted to jump in!

Nick proposed to me at Villa Monastero, and I did take a few photos there, but most of them were close-ups of flowers and plants. Here are a couple of photos I took that show more of how it was inside the grounds of the villa.

A path and two pillars by the water’s edge at Villa Monastero
Inside Villa Monastero (where Nick proposed!)
Close up shot of the two twisted pillars at Villa Monastero, with the lake in the background
A closer view of the twisted pillars

We visited Bellagio, on another part of Lake Como, and that was full of tourists. There were a lot of little shops and eateries but we really just explored the area. It does look very nice, but I think Varenna looks prettier on the waterfront.

The streets of Bellagio
A Bellagio street: people, shops, and cobblestone steps

We also had an amazing view from our apartment! In the photo of Varenna below, you can see the orange house to the right that has two rows of three windows. We were in the second row, in the middle double-window.

A view of Varenna
This is Varenna – we stayed in the orange apartment on the right, in the middle double-window (second row)

Our Airbnb host showed us some great places to eat and we took all his suggestions, from the gelato to the breakfast to the pizza to the seafood. I was honestly not disappointed by any of his suggestions. He also admitted that the view from our balcony was amazing and we should grab some takeaway pizza and wine to eat and enjoy the view. He said that most places with great food have average views of the city, and ones with great views of the city usually have bad food. ‘It’s like that isn’t it,’ he had said. :P

The amazing view from our apartment balcony in Varenna
The amazing view from our apartment balcony in Varenna

We took his suggestion to grab pizza and wine. Incidentally it was after Nick proposed so it was like our celebration dinner. We happened to see our host from the balcony across, showing another couple their room and the views. He saw us and gave us a wave. 😆

We had a takeaway margherita pizza and some red wine on our balcony
We totally did the pizza and wine.
Our apartment view once the sun set
It was so pretty when the sun set!
Tomato and anchovy bruschetta for breakfast
This tomato and anchovy bruschetta was so good

We took a speedy taxi boat around the lake, and did a tour at Villa del Balbianello. The tour was very interesting, and part of the James Bond film Casino Royale and Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones film were filmed there.

Villa del Balbianello as seen from the water
Villa del Balbianello from the water
A set of stairs at the villa, covered by a lot of bright foliage
Some nice steps at the villa

One of the most beautiful things on our trip was discovering the Fiumelatte, a somewhat mysterious waterfall, because people are still unsure of its source. It stops flowing and goes completely dry in some months, leading people to think it is the result of a melted glacier. We walked a long way down a road to reach the bottom of the waterfall where it met the lake. Soon we discovered a walkway and a trail that went as far as the top of the waterfall. There was even a barbecue area halfway to the top. It was a bit of a tiring walk, much like a nature trail, but there was a bridge that crossed directly over the waterfall, and even small spots where the water collected.

We had to walk along Villa Monastero so of course Nick and I got obsessed with the spot where he popped the question (as you do). :P

Villa Monastero seen from the main road above
We got an overhead view of the spot where Nick proposed
The bottom of Fiumelatte, near where it meets the lake
Near the bottom of Fiumelatte where it meets the lake

There was an inviting fountain near the barbecue area, and we put our hands and arms in it and even washed our faces. The water was ice cold but so fresh, and it just smelled like… fresh water. It was very worth the long walk, in fact it made it enjoyable. The water was just SO NICE. SO NICE.

Nick washing his hands in a running fountain that used water from the waterfall
Nick washing his hands in the waterfall water

The following photo has a small railing at the top. That was the furthest we could go, and it was a sweet view down the waterfall too.

A view of the Fiumelatte from closer to the source
A view of the Fiumelatte from closer to the source

It was a great vantage point too.

A high view of the power lines and lake
A nice view of the power lines and the lake

Varenna was also the first spot I enjoyed a lobster! For real. I got right in there and shelled it by hand. I was a bit lost at first since I had literally never eaten a shelled lobster. I took a before and after picture but I thought it might be off-putting or gross to see empty lobster shell. I am sure you believe me that I ate it. :P (If you think before/after empty-plate kind of photos are OK to share, let me know and I can put them in this post. 😆)

Comments on this post

ah, I understand that feeling of not being able to digest too much carbs. Foreign / western food is awesome; I love pasta and cheese but having to eat so much would be nauseous. I can’t even eat too much beef / meat :))

These photos are gorgeous! May I ask what phone are you using? because these photos have such great quality! the waterfall is so interesting!!! all these nature pictures are just so interesting!!!

I can’t have too much milk or cheese! Lactose drives my bowels insane. :X

Thank you! I am using an iPhone 6S. :)

Gosh, all those photos are beautiful! O_O Especially the ones with water. Love them!

Anyway, looks like an amazing trip. And one you’ll remember fondly forever!

So awesome. That looks like a really beautiful place and I am sure it is going to be a wonderful memory to keep. <3 The photos you took are really awesome, you would think they are from DSLR! :D

After seeing the Vienna post, Varenna is definitely attractive by far. Everything is so beautiful and clean-looking! Nick picked the perfect place to propose to you! I love the view from your apartment balcony. Great suggestion by your host!

With the water looking that fresh, I wouldn’t mind rinsing my hands there too!

Lobster is delicious! Only thing that puts me off is the price of it @___@.

The bruschetta looks delicious!

Growing up in Europe has had me more used to eating pasta and whatnot. Having asian food never fills me up! I always have to have more of it or stop by an Italian restaurant :P

I love the photos you took! It looks less touristy for sure and I guess that made the proposal much more special ;)

That’s so funny! I get sooooo full eating Italian food. I dare say my diet has changed over the years and perhaps my stomach has even shrunk. D: