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Day 3: Varenna

When we woke up on Monday morning and headed out into Lecco to get breakfast, the sky looked rather grey and overcast.


The centre of Lecco still looked very pretty though and it was quiet on a Monday morning, so we were able to walk around and admire the flower displays on the main street.


The weather forecast confirmed that it wasn't supposed to rain, so we decided to go ahead with our plan to visit Varenna. Varenna is another small town on Lake Como, on the opposite side of the lake from Bellagio, and when we visited it in 2012 we really loved it so we were keen to go back again :) It's only a 20 minute journey from Lecco on a regional train and the tickets are a bargain at €2.80 each!

After a short journey along the side of the lake we arrived in Varenna. The railway station is a little way above the town, so we walked downhill and soon had a view of the lake. We think Bellagio is over there somewhere!


Varenna is bigger than Bellagio, but it feels friendlier somehow; Bellagio is home to several very expensive hotels and feels quite upmarket.


One of the biggest selling points of Varenna is that it has an amazing promenade which enables you to walk right along the edge of the lake.


Once we had walked a little way along it, we were able to turn around and enjoy views back to the town...


...as well as views out across the lake, of course.


In some places the promenade was covered over and there were archways where you could stop to take photos :)


There is quite a steep hill behind the town, so a series of steep staircases lead up from the lakeside to the rest of the town.


We went up one of the gentler staircases...


...and climbed up to the higher level of the town, where we found the church...


... and the main square.


From here we turned along the main road, towards a place called Villa Monastero which we remembered from our 2012 visit. Specifically, we remembered that there were beautiful gardens alongside the lake, but that it was really expensive to get in and so we had walked along the road outside it, sneaking some views through the fence.  We found the entrance after walking up the road for a couple of minutes...


...and established that it actually only cost €5 each to get into the gardens xD  It definitely seemed worth paying €5 for views like this.


Having bought our tickets, we set off to explore the botanical gardens.


They were quite exotic gardens, with lots of palm trees....


...and all kinds of statues and features like in a landscape garden too.


And, of course, some stunning views of the lake :)



We've got so many beautiful photos that it's hard to choose which ones to put in the blog :)


As well as the gardens, there was also a museum that you could pay to go inside, but we decided to give that a miss.


After a while the sky began to get a bit bluer in the direction of Varenna...


...though it was still quite grey in the opposite direction.


Once we'd finished exploring the botanical garden, we decided to walk back into Varenna and find somewhere for lunch. On the way out of the gardens we passed an avenue of citrus trees where, in addition to the more normal orange and lemon trees, we spotted a couple of trees with absolutely huge fruit growing on them.  They weren't labelled unfortunately, but we wondered whether they could be grapefruit?


Back in the town, we found a lovely restaurant by the lake, where we were able to sit outside eating pizza :)


Then we had time another hour or so before we needed to be back at the train station. We had another walk along the lakeside promenade...


...explored some more of Varenna's side streets...


..went up and down some of the steeper staircases...


...and re-took some of the photos of places we'd visited earlier in the day with the background of now very blue sky!


Finally it was time to say goodbye to Varenna and begin our long journey home; firstly by regional train to Milan, then on the express train to the airport and flying back to Stansted. Luckily everything went well with the journey home and we didn't have to wait as long at passport control in Milan as we had on Saturday.  By the time we had managed to get out of Stansted, retrieve the car and drive home it was 01.30 in the morning, so Monday has been quite a tiring day at work! But it was worth it for such a wonderful weekend at Lake Como :)


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