Subject: Anyone Planning a route in Northern Italy Near the Lakes
Greetings to Mike and Fran:

Although it grieves me to disagree with a fellow Ziner, but I read a suggestion that you avoid Lake Como as our fellow member was not impressed with it. I'm sorry that he had a negative experience. As for my wife Barbara and me, we have travelled throughout Northern Italy many times and have to say that we consider Lake Como as one of the places on earth nearest Paradise, and that we prefer it to the other lakes in Northern Italy. I have little to say about the town of Como itself, but as to the villages of Bellagio, Menaggio across the lake from it and the gem of a place called Varenna, I could wax rhapsodical all day. A short visit for lunch to the tiny island of Comacina which was, in the Middle Ages, a rival to Milan and which fought naval battles on the lake until its defeat and destruction, was magical. It has been some years since we did this, so I can't comment on the restaurant's quality or even its existence now. The interesting Villa Carlotta, with its lovely gardens, is not to be missed.

The other wonderful lake is little Lake Orta, considered by Browning and Nietzsche to be the most romantic lake of all, with its little seaside village of San Giulio, is also unforgettable. Off the shore is the tiny island with a very ancient monastery, which is lit up at night and is truly memorable. The island has one restaurant and a boat picks you up from the docks near the town square. There are several hotels, the charming, deluxe...and expensive hotel Santa Caterina is at the top of the list, but the Hotel Orta, has an excellent location on the lake with a fine restaurant. I cannot comment on the rooms, but all of this is available on the web. I hope this information is of help to you. Best regards, Don Cohen, Los Angeles