Need Help with Lake Como

Old Aug 15th, 2005, 11:23 AM
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Need Help with Lake Como

I am trying to plan an evening trip to Bellagio for dinner. I'm starting in Monza. I want to leave around 3pm, take the train to Varenna, and then the ferry to Bellagio. After dinner, I want to either take the ferry back to Varenna, and then back to Milan; or take the ferry to Como and then back to Milan.

I am having a terrible time trying to figure out the timetables for ferries and trains to do this. It appears from my research that the ferries run late, but the trains do not.

Does anyone have any recommendations for schedules? I've exhausted trenitalia.com and navigazionelaghi.it. According to them, my evening is not doable.
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Old Aug 15th, 2005, 11:43 AM
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Is it really worth the hassle?
If yes, then make it a late lunch.
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Old Aug 15th, 2005, 11:48 AM
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LOL Bob! Probably not. Been there; done that. We are at the race track in Monza in the early afternoon, so I thought it would be a nice evening from there.
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Old Aug 15th, 2005, 02:30 PM
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What date are you hoping to do this?

As restaurants generally open for dinner at 7 p.m., you definitely have enough time to get to Bellagio (leaving Monza around 3 p.m.).

For the return journey, I checked the ferry and train schedules (Bellagio>Varenna, Varenna>Monza) and found you could travel this route as late as 11 p.m. on my random date of Oct. 1st.
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Old Aug 16th, 2005, 05:30 AM
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Jean, the date is Saturday, September 3. I saw the ferry goes that late, but I couldn't get the train that late. Which line did you check? I'd be going back to Milan that night after dinner.
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Old Aug 16th, 2005, 05:32 AM
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This sounds difficult WITH a car, and essentially impossible without one.

Maybe by taxi, with a few hundred euro to "blow".

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Aug 16th, 2005, 05:43 AM
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Rex, sadly agree with you. We are going back to Milan after the track that day unless a miracle happens.
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Old Aug 16th, 2005, 06:04 AM
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Not getting in the middle of that one! I'm a total train gal, so I'll give it one more shot. I've already been to Bellagio, so I won't be crushed if we miss it this time.
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Old Aug 16th, 2005, 07:07 AM
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<<he was too cheap to spring for First Class rail accommodations for one overnight train trip>>

You com[pletely missed the goal of the trip - - to experience Western Europe (in 2005) by way of budget lodging, helf-board meals and a specific focus on economizing. We didn't entirely stay on plan, spending 130 euro in 20 minutes with air-chateaux.com (having done the whole trip for under $1500 made that feel like an easy decision).

But I am hard pressed to believe that a 4-couchettes compartment would have been a nickel's worth less comfortable than our 6-couchette trip. I guess you could say it was all in the Ambien(ce)!

No fifth or sixth passenger(s) ever showed up to share our compartment anyhow, for what it's worth, despite the advice from the conducteur that all the couchettes were sold/reserved in out compartment. I just don't believe that it would have made any difference if they had - - with one minor exception: in the final fifteen minutes before we arrived, I did fold the middle couchettes back up against the wall to provide (more) headroom, when sitting up.


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Old Aug 16th, 2005, 04:56 PM
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Desert Sue, here's what I found.

Trains from Monza to Varenna-Esino departing at 4:27 p.m. (arrives 5:17 p.m.) and 5:18 p.m. (arrives 6:19 p.m.) The walk to the Varenna dock is downhill and would take about 15 minutes.

Ferries from Varenna to Bellagio departing at 5:55 p.m., 6:25 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. Crossing takes about 15-20 minutes.

Ferries from Bellagio to Varenna departing at 6:45 p.m., 7:20 p.m., 8:25 p.m. and 9:20 p.m.

Trains from Varenna-Esino to Milano Centrale departing at 8:20 p.m., 9:24 p.m. and 10:29 p.m.

If you decide to do this, a few things to keep in mind: Although the web site schedules for ferries and trains are usually correct, always check the return times. Buy the round-trip train ticket (and check return) when you depart Monza because you could have trouble buying a train ticket in Varenna in the evening. The walk from the dock back to the train station in Varenna is uphill and would take 15-20 minutes at a leisurely pace. (There might be a cab at the dock, but don't count on it.) Don't cut it too close as the train only stops for a couple of minutes.
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Old Aug 16th, 2005, 05:02 PM
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Jean, I am impressed by your research and skills. Just wanted to say so.

Desert Sue, where do you want to have dinner in Bellagio?
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 06:05 PM
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Well, please don't be impressed. I simply went to the sites Desert Sue mentioned (trenitalia.com and navigazionelaghi.it). The only "insider" info is knowing that Varenna is "Varenna-Esino" for the train schedule; otherwise, the sites have English options and are very understandable.

Desert Sue: Don't forget to make a reservation in advance (like NOW).
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 06:06 PM
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I meant DINNER reservation. No need to make train reservations.
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 07:04 PM
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Jean,
Thank you so much! I too discovered the Varenna-Esino trick last night. I really appreciate the detail and advice. I don't have any specific restaurant in mind. Any meal in Italy is a great meal IMO. I am open to suggestions. I ate at one restaurant there, but don't recall the name. It was fantastic.
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Old Aug 18th, 2005, 04:23 PM
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Do a search for mentions of restaurants in Bellagio. We've had many excellent and moderately priced dinners at Bilacus in Bellagio. They have a very nice terrace. Also very good is the restaurant in the Hotel Florence. Ask about their lakeside terrace.
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