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Active Retirees : Active Retirees April-May 2012
Active RetireesTM | 23 TRAVEL invited to join him on his afternoon fishing trips, he says, but after such a feast I fancy the idea of a siesta in one of the lake-view rooms. All ashore My next stop is just past the charming hamlet of Cernobbio, one of 30 villages on the lake’s 220km shoreline, at the luxurious Hotel Villa d’Este. Built in 1665 and converted into a hotel in 1873, its swimming pool, ‘floating’ on the lake, was the first in Europe. Two years ago the hotel was ranked the best in the world by the Forbes group. It has played host to a parade of famous guests and was the scene of a high-society murder in 1948. As plush as Villa d’Este is, my favourite building is Villa Balbianello, a whimsical mansion built in 1787 for Cardinal Angelo Durini on the site of a former convent. It stands on a wooded promontory and its distinctive twin bell towers are all that remain of the original structure. Today’s building occupies several terraces and is crowned by a magnificent vine- covered loggia, a shady place where the cardinal liked to read. Following his death, the villa passed through noble families until, in 1974, it was purchased by explorer Count Guido Monzino, who bequeathed it to the National Trust of Italy so that it is now open to visitors. On a superb day cruising Lake Como, a visitor can take in the opulence for just under 20 euros. Board the ferry in Como city or any of the lakeside villages, hopping on and off as you please. •• TRAVEL GUIDE Trains Trains from Milan Central station travel to either Como’s San Giovanni Station or Como Lago Nord Station – just a stone’s throw from the lake – in approximately one hour. W: www.trenitalia.com Ferries Ferries depart Como wharf from 9.10am and the last boat back departs Bellagio at 5pm, or 6pm on Sundays. Different schedules operate in winter. W: www.navigazionelaghi.it Bellagio Three-star Hotel Silvio has a commanding position above the lake, and offers excellent food and rooms with balconies. Tours include fishing trips with the hotel owners. W: www.bellagiosilvio.com Q Church of San Lorenzo in Tremezzo
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