how to spend a day at lake como.


"this lake exceeds anything i ever beheld in beauty.”
percy bysshe shelley, 1818

first, scrap the itinerary. hop the train from milan with a six euro ticket north and get off at varenna. go on a weekday in the off-season and you will feel like the only person for miles. take a stroll along the water's edge. gaze out at the alpines. absorb the silence and let it still your soul. look out at the ferries coming in and out of port and watch the fishing boats bob gently in their wake. see the swans do their synchronized dance as they glide across the water's glassy surface. make plans to come back with your lover or your unfinished novel because surely this is the place where divinity dwells. give praise to god that such a place exists.

Como, the Lake
Lake of Como
William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

From “The Prelude

AND, Como! thou, a treasure whom the earth
Keeps to herself, confined as in a depth
Of Abyssinian privacy. I spake
Of thee, thy chestnut woods, and garden plots
Of Indian-corn tended by dark-eyed maids;
Thy lofty steeps, and pathways roofed with vines,
Winding from house to house, from town to town,
Sole link that binds them to each other; walks,
League after league, and cloistral avenues,
Where silence dwells if music be not there:        
While yet a youth undisciplined in verse,
Through fond ambition of that hour, I strove
To chant your praise; nor can approach you now
Ungreeted by a more melodious song,
Where tones of nature smoothed by learned art
May flow in lasting current. Like a breeze
Or sunbeam over your domain I passed
In motion without pause; but ye have left
Your beauty with me, a serene accord
Of forms and colors, passive, yet endowed
In their submissiveness with power as sweet
And gracious, almost might I dare to say,
As virtue is, or goodness; sweet as love,
Or the remembrance of a generous deed,
Or mildest visitation of pure thought,
When God, the giver of all joy, is thanked
Religiously, in silent blessedness;
Sweet as this last herself, for such it is.