In June, I was lucky enough to travel to Lake Como for five days. Before the trip, I had heard from many people how exquisite the lake region is and after visiting, I would have to agree that it truly is as picture-perfect as everyone said it would be.
Our group (this was a fully sponsored press trip) visited several towns including Como, Bellagio, Monza, Lecco and Varenna. I discuss Bellagio and many of the villas we visited in a recent article I wrote for The Huffington Post/AOL Travel, which is worth a read if you are looking to visit the glamorous aspects of Lake Como.
I didn’t discuss the other towns because they didn’t quite fit the angle I was going for in the story, but they were equally as lovely as Bellagio. To be honest, Varenna and Lecco seemed to be two places I could easily spend a summer, but I was only in each town for approximately one hour and was unable to really explore the local scene. Enchantingly beautiful in the quintessential Italian way, these towns (particularly Lecco) were bubbling with life, yet had a wonderfully laid-back feel. Lecco reminded me of the village in NYC, not in aesthetics, but rather through its hip cafes and trendy boutique shops.
I stayed at a hotel on Lecco’s outskirts called 1711 Contrada Resort & Spa that was simply perfect. The hotel is owned by a married couple (the wife bakes many of the cakes and pastries served at breakfast — yum!) and they really have an eye for design. The rooms are modern with a Zen/spa theme and have many interesting amenities (you can adjust the level of spa scents you would like released in your room throughout your stay). Most face an open courtyard where soft music is played and birds congregate to sing along.
Just around the courtyard is a tiny restaurant (it’s the only stand-alone restaurant on the property) that has fantastic pasta dishes. I ordered the basil pesto ravioli and could honestly say it was one of the best meals I had during the trip. The fresh herbs and paper-thin ravioli made for the perfect meal on a warm summer night.
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