Subject: Re:Lake Como Area-1st stop
To Mike Rhodes: Hi, since I live in the area I really can't be of any help with personal hints on hotels.

As for your itinerary to Como,you mentioned a road that goes down to Splugen:that is a mountain road and it will be open only in the summer (maybe June to early October).It climbs up to almost 7000 feet of altitude and I dont' find it really interesting(there are some nice places in small valleys alongside,though).

It's much better to take the Autostrada ( toll freeway,you have to buy a sticker that ,alas,is valid for one year on the whole system of Swiss toll roads),that goes through San Bernardino mountain pass(actually by a Tunnel),and is quite scenic.

This road descends to the swiss Ticino region by a series of scenic hairpin turns to the city of Bellinzona (worth a short stop)and on to Lugano and Como. (Between Lugano and Como don't miss Foxtown outlet center in Mendrisio). On the contrary,on your way from Como to Merano, it would be very interesting,if you love mountain roads, to skip the italian Autostrada that touches Verona and Bolzano, and instead go up on Como lake's east shore to Colico,then on to Sondrio, Bormio, Stelvio pass,and down to Val Venosta and Merano.Also a high mountain road ( Stelvio pass is at 7800 feet of altitude), but much nicer than Spluga.Count 6-7 hours driving time from Como to Merano by this road,while by Autostrada it would take 4 hours.

Have a nice time in Italy,ciao Leonardo