Alone at Lake Como


How can it be that a place like this actually shuts?

Even the trees were closed!

Even the trees are shut - Bellagio

A closed tree – Bellagio

The signs of how quiet it would be were evident when we got on the bus to our hotel. We were the only ones with suitcases.

The town we stayed in had only one restaurant open on the day we arrived, a Wednesday, and it wasn’t full for dinner!

Lake Como is truly idyllic and being able to have it largely to ourselves more than made up for the fact that pretty much everything was closed.

Our hotel

Our hotel

We took largely empty ferries between Tremzzo, Bellagio and Varenna. There were just 5 of us on the ferry to Bellagio, so it wasn’t surprising that the town was close to empty. It’s hard to imagine that only a couple of months ago it would have barely been possible to get a table at the lakeside restaurants or a room in Bellagio. During our visit they were pretty much all closed, a ghost town, just a chilling wind whipping down the narrow streets. We travelled onto Varenna, where there was a little more activity, including a delightful little bar, where we were able to shelter from the biting wind and have a pizza and a glass of red.




We decided on a day trip to Como on our third day, Friday. Unless we wanted a dawn start,
it needed to be a bus trip. We opted for the bus rather than a 7am hydrofoil ride!

Como is a reasonable sized city so there is plenty happening, providing a real contrast to Tremezzo. The town had shops that were open, street markets and people!

Duomo Como from rooftop restaurant Coin.

Duomo Como from rooftop restaurant Coin.


We took the funicular to the town above Como, Brunate. The views across the lake to Como and to the mountains are spectacular. Of course the highly recommended, must eat at restaurant, was closed. Food is overrated anyway!



So to Friday night. There was an extra bar open or so we thought. We rugged up for the short walk, finding a sign that said, up the stairs and right. Why this sign was necessary when the next set of steps, unsigned led you to the door is best answered by – “It’s Italy”. It was open but there was a private function meaning it wasn’t open to us. Cunningly, we checked to see if it was open on Saturday and the answer was yes! The excitement was almost unbearable.


So to our last day. We had identified that at least one of the villas was open, Villa Del Barbianello. It is apparently where the wedding in Star Wars was filmed and Daniel Craig was filmed during Casino Royale. No sign of film crews on our visit in fact there barely signs of people at all. There were about a dozen people in the gardens and only half a dozen on our tour of the villa. The collections in the villa detailing the exploits of renowned Italian expeditionist, Guido Monzino, were definitely worth the price of the tour.

It didn't look like this in Star Wars!

It didn’t look like this in Star Wars!

Saturday night. Tremezzo is hardly buzzing but the bar is open! Musty smelling and in a tunnel. Initially we had it to ourselves, chatting with the young barman about the lack of excitement of living on Lake Como in winter! It was easy to understand the point of view of this very likeable young man. His knowledge of the wines gave us a good insight into the nearby wine regions. We were also treated to wine being poured via mini decanter the likes of which we hadn’t seen before.

Cantina Follie

Cantina Follie


We loved our time at Lake Como. It was cold, quiet and very peaceful.



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5 Responses to Alone at Lake Como

  1. Tim says:

    Sounds romantic to have to yourselves!
    Will you now get with the Season and head to Cortina?

  2. browney says:

    No, as we are not skiers we are heading south.

  3. Lena lim says:

    We are planning to stay at lake como during mid of January, is bellagio & varenna closed for winter. Any good suggestions, like what do, places to visit & good eateries as we are staying for 3 nites. Your good advice is appreciated.

    • browney says:

      We visited in late Nov which is the quietest time of the year. I gather that as it gets closer to Christmas it becomes a little more busy. I suggest that you enquire of the places you wish to visit to see if they are open and also post a question on Trip Advisor about what will be open. we have always found asking a question on Trip Advisor, the best way to get useful information.
      Our expereince of Italy in January is that it tends to quieten down a week or so after Christmas so it is definitely worth asking.

      The town of Como will be open as it is quite sizeable town and has plenty to see.

      We stayed in the town of Tremezzina which looked at Bellagio, at the Hotel La Darsena which was excellent and had a great restaurant ( we ate there 4 of the the 5 nights as it was one of the 2 restausrants open in the town – we weren’t disappointed). I know that it shuts for a month or so across the winter months, so would be wise to check. There was a good wine bar – Cantina Follie.There was also a delightful family retaurant called La Fagurida in the town.

      We found a few places open in Varenna. We had no trouble filling a day in at Bellagio and Varenna. It felt surreal to see Bellagio empty and so unlike any of the photos we’d seen of the place previously.

      Visit Villa del Balbianello and take the Green Walk – it provides great views above the Lake. Also in Como the finuncular is good.

      The ferries and buses all run on a winter timetable. less frequent services.

      All of that said we very much enjoyed our time at Lake Como eventhough it was very quiet.

      Sing out if I can be of any further assistance.

  4. Lena says:

    Thank you for valuable advice.

    Your advice is greatly appreciated.


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