Lake Como, Italy: Bellagio and Varenna
Lake Como — lined with palm trees and elegant pastel-colored villas, crowned by snowcapped mountains, and criss-crossed by a fleet of ferries and hydrofoils — is a great place to take a break from the intensity of Italy that one finds further south. Just an hour northeast of bustling Milan, Lake Como's ambiance seems to whisper luna di mele (honeymoon). Half the travelers you'll meet here have tossed their itineraries into the lake and are actually relaxing. Bellagio, the self-proclaimed "Pearl of the Lake" is a classy combination of Old World elegance and new world luxury. Varenna — on the less-developed side of the lake — has a romantic waterside promenade, a tiny harbor, and inviting narrow lanes. For more information on the Rick Steves' Europe TV series — including episode descriptions, scripts, participating stations, travel information on destinations and more — visit www.ricksteves.com.