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IzabellaBella May 29th, 2016 04:09 PM

Como or Bellagio
I am not sure where to stay, Como or Bellagio. We would stay for 2 nights heading in from Siena by train. After Lake Como area, we head to Florence by train. Are the areas nicer with shops and good restaurants in and around Como or in and around Bellagio?

Dukey1 May 29th, 2016 04:44 PM

Frankly, I think you need to go to Florence BEFORE you go to the lake, especially if you are coming from Siena. What IS the point of all that backtracking. AND, if you are coming from Siena by rail you are going to have to go through Florence anyway.

pookymimi May 29th, 2016 04:49 PM

I believe as Como is bigger and has the train station from there everything will more accessible for you short stay of 2 nights, you can go everywhere from there, I believe being in Bellagio will restrict you to see more of the Lake. Bellagio is more upscale than Como of course. If I remember well Bellagio it's also hilly and shops are most on stairs streets, Como it's flat. Also if you are going to be on Bellagio and take the train from Como, you need to take in mind the travel time to and from to Bellagio to the train station.

We stayed across Bellagio for 7 days, we would jump on a ferry, bus, to go to the other town across the lake or around. I loved Como and it's shops and.

IzabellaBella May 29th, 2016 05:06 PM

Dukey1, I am aware that we are backtracking. Our flight is out of Florence. We fly into Rome so don't want to endure an additional 3+hour train ride then bus ride after an 8 hour flight.

IzabellaBella May 29th, 2016 05:09 PM

Pookimimi, my thought was similar to yours. I rather be closer to the to the transportation and being in Como will save us an 1+hours when heading to Florence from that area. I just wasn't sure if Como is not as nice of a town with things to do since it is closest to the station.

Jean May 29th, 2016 05:16 PM

If it was me, I'd stay in Varenna and visit Bellagio. You can't reach Bellagio by train, and everything I'd want to try to squeeze into a single day on the lake is closer to Varenna than Como.

FYI, if you choose Varenna, buy your Varenna-Florence train ticket at the same time as the Siena-Varenna ticket. The train station at Varenna is unmanned.

IzabellaBella May 29th, 2016 05:33 PM

Jean, I thought about that, but to commute between Varenna and Bellagio, isn't it only by Ferry? I wanted to avoid being tied to the ferry schedule since it is more limited than bus and taxi options.

Jean May 29th, 2016 05:47 PM

Without a car, you're tied to the ferry and bus schedules wherever you stay. Most of the popular tourist sights are closer to the middle of the lake, and there is ferry service just among the mid-lake towns that is separate from the service that goes between Como in the south and Colico in the north.

If you prefer Bellagio over Varenna, then stay in Bellagio. But you'd have to ferry or bus to get there and again when you leave.

IMO, staying in Como does not give you the best Lake Como experience.

Here are the ferry timetables:
[mid-lake shuttle]
[Como to Colico]
[Colico to Como]

Dukey1 May 29th, 2016 06:27 PM

Thank you for that belated clarification and am sorry I was unable to be of any help to you whatsoever.

bvlenci May 30th, 2016 03:15 AM

For a short visit, I would also suggest staying in Varenna unless you're not interested in seeing the scenery further up the lake. The terrain around Como is pretty flat, so there isn't much in the way of scenery there. If you stay in Varenna, you'll already be in one of the prettiest towns on the lake. You'd need a ferry to get to Bellagio and other lakeside towns, but where wouldn't you need a ferry? What were you planning to do while in Como?

bvlenci May 30th, 2016 03:18 AM

Thinking again, and re-reading your question, if you're mainly interested in shops and restaurants, I wouldn't even make that long trip for two days. Most of the tourists visiting Lake Como are English and Americans. The restaurants cater to them, as do the shops. You could find better restaurants and shops in Florence.

vincenzo32951 May 30th, 2016 03:52 AM

What bvlenci said.

I'd stay in Varenna. Ferry service is good from there, and there's a train station. Going to Lake Como for the shops is liking going to Pompeii for the gelato stands. I'm not criticizing shopping as a tourist endeavor, but if that's your thing, you can do better elsewhere.

IzabellaBella May 30th, 2016 08:53 AM

Thanks everyone. Im not looking to go crazy shopping there. I was just looking for more one of a kind spots, pretty scenery and great restaurants. When we dine, we look for more small, authentic restaurants. I look at a menu and if I see many "Americans" or American like food, we continue looking. We are not looking to do much touring per say. I'm not a fan of all the touristy stuff. Just looking for a place where the streets and walks are pretty. Looks like my best choices are a Varenna or Bellagio. Thanks everyone.

eastenderusvi May 31st, 2016 03:36 AM

Como is a long ferry ride away from the mid-lake area. Varenna-Bellagio-Menaggio are much easier to navigate.IMHO. As a newbie to the area.

bvlenci May 31st, 2016 11:28 AM

I don't know about Como, but we didn't find any great restaurants in either Varenna or Bellagio. For the most part, the food was mediocre and overpriced. I wouldn't even expect to find great restaurants in a town where 90% of the restaurant patrons are tourists who will never be back again. How would you expect to find anything authentic in a place like that? The only Italians we saw when we were there were working in the hotels and restaurants.

At a lakeside bar, we were waited on by an American waitress, who couldn't understand our order, and asked if we could speak English.

The Cinque Terre is much the same, but at least I've seen some Italian tourists there. On Lake Como, I didn't see one. I asked the owner of our hotel, and she agreed that not many Italians visit Bellago, although she said there are some in August.

You would find some great restaurants in Milan, if that's what you want. And much better shopping as well.

Jean May 31st, 2016 12:59 PM

Disclaimer: We haven't been to the lake in a couple of years, and we are not 'foodies.' Sometimes for me, ambiance, views, service and an overall experience can be more memorable than what I ate.

We've had great dinners at Il Cavatappi in Varenna. The restaurant is very small (maybe 7-8 tables), so make reservations in advance.

There's a nice wine bar in Varenna, but the name escapes me. Perhaps someone else will remember...?

Just outside Bellagio, a bit beyond Villa Melzi, we like Ristorante Silvio, esp. for fish. The food has been good, sometimes very good, and the views are wonderful.

Near Silvio, we also liked Ristorante Darsene di Loppia. More good food, great views. We haven't seen many tourists at this one.

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