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Exploring Como

October 4, 2022

On this rather murky morning, we hot-footed to the ferry pier to catch the 8:30 boat to Como, which sits at the southern end of the western fork of the lake. Lake Como forms a kind of inverted wishbone shape, with Bellagio taking pride of place right where the two arms separate. There we met Donatella, our lovely guide for the morning’s walk. We crossed the corner of the medieval part of the city to the funicular that took us up to Brunate, the highest point of the city, with its commanding views below. Donatella pointed out the graffiti that decorates so many homes here: not graffiti as we think of it, but graffiti — an Italian word, after all — in the form of elaborate decoration painted or etched on the outer walls of the large, mostly summer homes perched on the mountainside.

Back down at lake level we explored the medieval section of the city, including the 15th century Basilica Sant Abbondio and the Duomo, portions of which were built in the 10th century, with Donatella giving us a short art history lesson along the way, pointing out paintings executed by students of Leonardo da Vinci, who lived in Milan and visited Como frequently. The fresco at left below is an original from the 16th century, decorating a private home.

The two images directly above are of the courtyard of a medieval building not open to the public; but we were able to go in because Donatella knows the shopkeeper who owns the building. The graffiti achieves a level of artistry hard to describe, but examples are everywhere in the historic center. The map above depicts medieval Como, with its intersecting Roman roads.

Unfortunately, the light was flat and the atmosphere hazy today, so it was hard to capture the ancient beauty that is Como. A late afternoon ferry took us back to Bellagio, where the sun was shining brightly, for a rest before our last group dinner before we set off tomorrow for Lake Lugano, where we will dip our toes into Switzerland.

From → Italy, Uncategorized

One Comment
  1. Even if flat light, your images are stunning and I know they do not come close to seeing the real thing. Just looking at the photos of the courtyard and imagining the life that took place there is a stretch for this American mind!

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