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Ligurian Coast & Lake Como: Moscardini, Missoltini and Much Else

Ligurian Coast & Lake Como: Moscardini, Missoltini and Much Else

Old Nov 6th, 2008, 02:39 PM
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hi ek,

what an idiot I am.

clearly a case of reading what I wanted to read, not what was there.

so I'm as clueless as you!

if I remember, I'll ask my italian teacher next week.

regards, ann


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Old Nov 6th, 2008, 02:55 PM
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Ann if there is one thing you are NOT it is an idiot!

If you remember, please ask your teacher (I am very impressed that you are taking Italian lessons!) and report back!
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Old Nov 7th, 2008, 06:09 AM
  #123  
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Fun to read eksc, I'm bookmarking.
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Old Nov 8th, 2008, 03:43 AM
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Here is a bit more about the last day of our trip:



The Villa d’Este is a name that has been familiar to me since I was a small child. My parents had actually stayed here for a night or two on their first trip to Europe right after WWII, when the dollar bought quite a bit in Europe, and spoke of the hotel as the quintessence of luxury.

Although we did not see the guest rooms, the gardens and the public areas certainly lived up to my image of long ago. Built by a Cardinal from Como who served under Pius IV, the original villa dates back to 1568; together with additions, it was turned into a hotel in the late 19th Century.

After parking our car, we strolled through the glorious gardens studded with intricate grottoes, the Nymphaeum, with mosaics of colored marble splinters, a neo-Classical temple, sculpted hedges, and fountains. My paltry description does not even begin to convey the grandeur and loveliness of these gardens.

http://www.grandigiardini.it/EN/scheda.php?id=23


We had originally planned to have a light lunch on the terrace, but after seeing the prices (in the range of 28 euro for a club sandwich) I was glad that those plans had fallen by the wayside! The setting, however, is divine; the outdoor restaurant overlooks the lake and the fabulous floating swimming pool…

“Palatial” is a good descriptor for the pubic rooms, lobby, and corridors that we walked through that afternoon. Several booklets available from the concierge detail the history and decorative arts of the villa. The gift shop is located in an outbuilding and features Loro Piana and other designers at prices far higher than those we encountered in Foxtown! The salesperson at the shop told us that the vast majority of guests at the hotel today are Russian and American; she said business was down quite a bit this season.

From the hotel, we walked into Cernobbio, a pretty lakeside town where many building facades and roof supports bear painted decorations both figurative and geometrical. The entire area is a paradise for architecture buffs! One entire façade is covered by a map of the Lake Como region rendered in delicate pale blues, yellows, and ivories that reaches several stories in height. Just beautiful!


From Cernobbio, we headed back to Menaggio and our hotel to begin packing and to get ready for our last dinner in Italy, which would be at La Darsena in Tremezzo.

..more soon...
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Old Nov 12th, 2008, 03:49 AM
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More great stuff, eks. I looked at the prices for Villa d'Este and have never seen anything like them !! For a random period next June, cheap rooms are c.€700pn, going up to > €2000 pn !!!

Thanks so much for the recipe website link, it does look promissing doesn't it ?

I'm assuming 'uncia' is a dialect word, but still like to think it may be related to 'unctuous' !
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Old Nov 12th, 2008, 05:57 AM
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Sorry to be so dumb technologically, but is there a way to print out this trip report easily?
Thanks!
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Old Nov 12th, 2008, 11:01 AM
  #127  
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I wish I knew the answer to that question! I am glad that you enjoyed reading..I will finish within the next few days..
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Old Nov 14th, 2008, 06:38 AM
  #128  
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LA DARSENA

Monday appears to be closing day for many restaurants in the region. Since we were scheduled to depart about 7am the following morning, we wanted to dine close to our hotel. The concierge spoke very highly of La Darsena in nearby Tremezzo ( La Darsena and the Grand Victoria are sister properties) and so we booked a table there for our last dinner in Italy.

Although the word of mouth on La Darsena is good, and the attached hotel appears to be a lovely place, I was disappointed in this restaurant. Rather than denigrate the place, I will just say that it was not my style. (I now know that there is an excellent restaurant in the Tremezzo area that we neglected to try….I have Al Veluu on my list for next time!)

I thought most of the dishes were overly complicated and the focus of the menu more pan-Italian than regional. So my quibble was not with the execution of the food, it was in the conception of the menu; I realize that the majority of diners will not share my concerns or my eccentricity when it comes to the subject of food!

At the early dinner hour of 7:30, most of the other diners were foreign tourists. Nevertheless, the airy dining room, adorned with hand-painted walls, overlooks Lake Como; there a terrace for warm weather dining and free parking in the hotel lot.

Attempting to focus on local fare and avoid the less elaborate dishes, I chose the ravioli di formaggio, which was a cheese ravioli made with gnocchi dough and topped with a generous helping of fresh porcini. For my secondi: Filet di maiale, or pork filet, with porcini. Both dishes were very good.

For the finale, I chose a Gianduja mousse draped with pistachio sauce. Like the dessert of my friends, this was scrumptious.

The total bill, with wine and water, was 100 Euro for three of us. Again, this is a very pretty restaurant on the lake; staff are fluent in English and the location on the main road makes it easily accessible. I would certainly consider the La Darsena as a hotel if I were to return to the area.

http://www.centrohotelslakecomo.com/...ake_hotels.htm



La Darsena is about a 10 minute drive from Menaggio, so we were back at the hotel shortly. Our flight was scheduled to depart Malpensa the next morning at 11:50am and our hotel agreed to have coffee ready before start of the official breakfast hour. And so to bed….

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Old Nov 14th, 2008, 08:19 AM
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Eks..I didn't "Scoop you!" We enjoyed one of the best meals on our recent trip at Alle Darsene in Loppia. www.alledarsenediloppia.com Alle Darsene is located in the small village of Loppia, right outside of the southern gate to the Bellagio's Melzi gardens,across the lake from Tremezzo.
I have really enjoyed reading this trip report and also am getting lots of information from the one you wrote on South East Asia. Thanks for all of your efforts!
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Old Nov 14th, 2008, 09:37 AM
  #130  
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Oh, Happy, I see that now! In Loppia! I will make a note of that for a return trip..

Where are you going in SE Asia and when? I left off in Hue but am "on probation" with the headmasters of the Asia board for not finishing up with Hue and Saigon..,.

I will get back to that report as soon as I finish up the last bits of this one! I am really happy that people enjoyed!
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Old Nov 15th, 2008, 02:26 PM
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Hi schnauzer and eks -- sorry for the delay in replying! I've had no end of internet trouble for 2 weeks between moving and lots of storms.

Regarding Sestri Levante, I think it is a lovely place for cocktails and/or dinner, and a great (flat!) place to stay if you have kids. It's proximity to Cinque Terre but without all the foreign tourists is also a draw for others). But if you are coming from a week in Paris and want relaxation plus "things to do", I'm not sure it will fit the bill. Beyond enjoying the charming beach and cafe scene, almost designed for spur-of-the-moment-day-trippers (in a good way), Sestri Levante, which has a lot of modern construction, is probably slightly less filled with attractions than Santa Margherita Ligure.

If you will have a car, consider getting a bit away from the beach and experience the Ligurian hills, for a real sense of adventure and great food. Do some Google searches for Varese Ligure, Ameglia and Montemarcello. Even think about some very tiny place like Velva -- which is a 30 minute drive from Sestri Levante but a world away from everything.

You might also take a look at Castelnuovo di Magra -- which is actually in Toscana but just a bit beyond La Spezia.

All of these places are small so you will want to do some day tripping and hiking. The Italian Touring Club Guide is a really good resource for Liguria. As is the Cadogan Guide for the Riviera and Piemonte. You can get both from Amazon.

If you don't want to rent a car, the town of Chiavari might keep you fascinated and extremely well fed for a couple of days, and you can enjoy short train hops to Zoagli for great walks, or a bus ride up to the Basilica of San Salvatore for some atmospheric medieval sightseeing.

But it also makes sense to simply extend your stay in Santa Margherita Ligure, and use it as a base to take a boat trip to San Fruttuoso, a funicular ride to the mountaintops above Rapallo, trips to Chiavari and Zoagli, and to Camogli.

Recently I was reading a book writtenin 1915 by a man who took a walking tour of Liguria from San Remo to La Spezia. Even then, he praised Liguria for its LACK of important tourist attractions and things to do. He said it was for people who wanted to relax and enjoy the sunshine and the sea. It's still true.

I live here because my idea of a good time is to take a boat ride, then climb up to a good restaurant, take a nice long walk after, and have a cocktail by the sea to watch the sunset. Or rent a car and drive into the empty hills and enjoy the pastel hilltowns and the quiet and lack of tourists. In between I read, write, chat, shop, etc. When I want to see art and study history, I generally go elsewhere. There are beautiful spots in Liguria to deeply relax, eat healthy food and have a little fun following your nose and discovering small pleasures.
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 07:32 AM
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Eks.. There are lots more wonderful dining options in Bellagio for your next trip!La BArchetta, Alle Darsene, and on the other side of the promontory, down the hill from Hotel Belvedere, in Pescallo, La Pergola.
Thinking of going to SE Asia either Oct/Nov 2009 or Jan/Feb 2010. I was especiallly interested in your report on Halong Bay. I hope the Asia Board lets you off of probation.
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Old Nov 18th, 2008, 04:19 AM
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Many thanks, Happy! Those restaurants are now "on my list!"

Deciding a time frame for Vietnam is difficult, as you undoubtedly know..I probably visited Halong Bay at the single worst time of the year (January). I will get back to the report soon and meanwhile, please feel free to ask any questions..

And will finish this up within a day or two..
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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 11:05 AM
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Our Delta flight from Malpensa to JFK departed the next morning at 11:50. We had considered dropping off the rental car in Como (the rental agency nearest to Menaggio) and taking a taxi. But upon hearing that the taxi would cost about 160 Euro, we opted to keep the car an extra day (no charge for this; we phoned Kemwell on their toll-free number and checked) and turn it in at Malpensa.

The Grand Hotel Victoria arranged for us to have breakfast before their official serving hour, and by 7:15 we were off on the road. With a short rest stop in Cernobbio, we reached Malpensa in about 90 minutes, give or take a few minutes; the drive was incredibly easy and we encountered little traffic. The EuropCar drop off is right outside Terminal One; follow the signs for “car hire” as you approach the terminal.

We had ample time to wander the duty-free shops, and our flight home was uneventful. And that concludes this report!

Until the next trip…..ekscrunchy

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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 11:54 AM
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And will that still be Piemonte in early spring?
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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 01:32 PM
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EKS, having also driven and enjoyed the Lakes Region, let me add a few sobering experiences:

- the joke around the northern end of Como: the water is so polluted that one shouldn't swim in it; no ristorante serving fish will tell you that
- a few years ago we watched the fishermen along Lago d'Iseo, then went into a ristorante tipico across the road; the menu featured trotta salmonata, we figured that would be good fresh fish; when two different fish arrived with different color and without taste, this Pacific Northwesterner knew it must have been frozen. I complained to the waiter, whereupon the capo appeared, assuring us how fresh the fish was: "it just arrived from Genova" -)
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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 02:02 PM
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Sobering, yes. What kind of pollutants would be entering the northern part of the Lake?

But I do not understand the part about the fish coming from from Genoa....are you thinking that fish cannot be fresh if it comes from Genoa?
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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 04:43 PM
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Sadly, the pollution issue is discussed on sites such as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Como#Pollution or http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...er-459197.html . The cities along the shores used to have little or no sewage treatment. Also the water temperature has gone up. I found "no bathing" signs in Gravedona at the northern end... in spite of the clear Alpine rivers feeding in.

The point with the trota salmonata: the fish wasn't local, they admitted getting it from the Mediterranean, but keeping appearances for the tourist business.

My own trip report http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=35167529 admits to a similar culinary experience in the Greek Islands.

Re your forum help question (on another thread): click on your own hyperlinked name, it should bring up all the posts to which you contributed.
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 01:05 AM
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Enjoy planning your next trip, eks - and I will look forward to reading about it !
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Old Nov 21st, 2008, 04:59 AM
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That is truly discouraging news about the pollution..I guess I should not be surprised.

Thanks, Caroline! We are currently thinking about Piedmont either for early spring, or possibly even late September (believe it or not, the possibility of September has arisen due to the (recently learned by me) fact that the dates for the baseball World Series will be later in 2009 than in previous years.)

Another possibility, believe it or not, is London. My brother-in-law will be directing a new play opening there in May and there is a small chance that we might plan a trip around that...I must say, however, that the possibility does not excite me as much as a week in Italy... I have to decide soon, as I am a totally obsessive trip planner...(no news there!)


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