Welcome to the lovely little town of Varenna, Italy situated on the banks of Lake Como. Varenna is in far northern Italy, quite close to Switzerland, but it still feels fully Italian. I spent several days here with my family back in 2014. Let’s take a look around and I’ll show you some of the things I loved.
First off, our hotel. We stayed at the Hotel Villa Cipressi. It’s on the edge of town so during the day it was pretty quiet. The rooms were nice and good sized. The garden behind the hotel was pretty and had lovely views of the lake and a couple other little towns. The hotel itself seems to be comprised of two buildings that were rather randomly put together. Thus finding the breakfast room feels like going through a maze. But their breakfast spread was great. There was lots of variety from cold cuts and cheese, bread, pastries, yogurt, cereal, hard boiled eggs and fruit. There was also plenty of seating which was quite nice. One thing to be aware of about this hotel is that it serves as a reception venue for destination weddings and the weekends can be packed with one reception after another. If you have a room on the back side of the hotel, as we did, it can be VERY noisy until early in the morning. Earplugs help, but only so much! However, I also heard that the front-side rooms get a lot of noise from the early-morning deliveries and trash disposal. Hotels in the city are going to have more noise anyway, but this one is definitely the noisiest (on the weekends) I’ve stayed at yet. But don’t be scared off! This is a charming little town and a great place to relax and enjoy life.
One of the most enchanting things to do in Varenna is simply to wander around. It’s also a great way to get a little exercise! Varenna is built on a hillside and there are lots of inclines and steps to get you around town. But it’s well worth the exertion. The town is filled with little passageways that are so fun to explore. You can discover all kinds of interesting architecture – windows, doors, archways – and stumble across tiny shops and restaurants. It’s great for adventure!
There are a couple places in town to enjoy the slow pace of life and people-watch. In the upper part of the city is the town square, or piazza. There you can find a couple restaurants, some churches, or some benches to sit and relax on.
In the lower part of the town along the lake are more restaurants, several Gelateria’s, some shops, and more places to sit and enjoy life. It’s fun to watch the various boats coming and going as you enjoy some tasty Gelato.
At the far end of town, you can find the boat dock. From there you can take a short ride to explore some of the other Lake Como towns like Menaggio or Bellagio.
Vacations can become a little crazy with all the sights to see and places to go. Small towns like Varenna are good because they give you a chance to slow down a little, relax and truly savor life a little more.