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Archive for the ‘Getting around’ Category

We went to Lake Como in September and had beautiful sunny weather all week. We discovered the the Summer ferry timetable had a couple more ferries stopping in Nesso, which was great news. It enables you to use the ferries to get to and from Como town for the afternoon and also we did a lovely trip from Nesso to Menaggio to Varenna to Bellagio and back to Nesso on the last ferry of the afternoon.
We were able to buy a pass to cover the whole trip. There isn’t a ticket office at Nesso, but you just get on the ferry and buy tickets from the little office on board.
We planned to head to Menaggio for lunch, but were able to just admire the scenery as the ferry stopped at other spots along the way.
We passed by Argegno, where you can catch the cable car up to Pigra (the cable car reopened in June 2011)

Argegno

Sala Comacina and the villa they used in the X Factor…..

Sala Comacina

The X Factor Villa

And of course Villa Balbienello, used many times as a movie location.

Villa Balbienello

Next we passed by Tremezzo for the beautiful Villa Carlotta.

Tremezzo

If you are visiting the Villa, it has its own ferry stop, just up from the main one for Tremezzo.

Villa Carlotta

A bit of a zig zag across to Bellagio, but we were planning to visit later in the day

Into Bellagio

And then we headed across to Menaggio for lunch

Menaggio

Menaggio ferry stop

Dude

We decided against the Youth Hostel and the Bistro Pub,

Things in Menaggio

but as it was obviously lunchtime, we thought we’d better find somewhere…

Lunchtime in Menaggio

The restaurant we ate in was in this street (via Carlo Camozzi) and called Bar Constantin Pizzeria. We had nice beer and pizza and there were quite a few locals in there too.

via Carlo Camozzi

Menaggio is a pleasant town, but there’s much more to see in other places and if you want to shop you need to go to Bellagio or preferably Como town. So we returned to the ferry and set forth once more.

Farewell Menaggio

Our next destination was Varenna, a very pretty town.

Arriving in Varenna

We didn’t get to the Castle of Vezio…

Castle of Vezio

But enjoyed a pleasant walk along the waterfront on a walkway and then up into the town where we explored the streets and shops.

Varenna church

By now it was time to leave for Bellagio where we explored the shops..

Bellagio silk shop

Bellagio – more silk

Bellagio shopping in the shade

Bellagio restaurant

Bellagio, more of that famous silk

And as we waited for the ferry to take us back to Nesso, eating our ice cream, we realised that we were in for a real treat as the Concordia pulled up.

Concordia arrives

Concordia is a paddle steamer originally launched in 1927 and now powered by oil.

Concordia’s engine

Concordia was built in Genoa

Inside Concordia

Inside view of Concordia’s paddles

Concordia paddle close up

Concordia – just amazing to be so close…

Inside the depths of Concordia’s engine

And I wasn’t the only one who was fascinated…

Concordia – just taking a look….

But if paddles steamer engines aren’t your bag, there’s still a very fine salon to sit in…

Concordia’s inside seating

Back to the stunning views, we pulled out of Bellagio to head back

View of Bellagio

And passed the lovely Villa Melzi, which you can visit from Bellagio

Villa Melzi

As we returned to Nesso, we had a lovely early evening view of the Roman bridge, where Hitchcock shot some scenes for his 1925 film, The Pleasure Garden.

Roman Bridge, Nesso

The Nesso ferry stop is looked after by this lovely gentleman and his sister

Home to Nesso

We were back in time to catch the sunset from the garden, with a wee glass of prosecco.

Casa del Nibbio Bruno, Nesso

For the ferry timetables, which change between Summer and Winter, this is the website link for the ferry company.

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We were staying in Lake Como last year in August, and fancied a trip to somewhere different. The Swiss border is very nearby, so we popped over and headed over to Lake Lugano to find some lunch. From Nesso you can either head down to Como and take the E35 or drive up to Bellago and take the car ferry across Lake Como and follow one of the smaller roads over to Lugano.

We went via Como, and ended up at the southern end of Lake Lugano in the village of Morcote. The area has a different feel to Como, even though it’s so close ( it took us just an hour from Nesso.

Morcote is a very attractive and quiet spot and we had a choice of places to eat, quite a few of which are right over the edge of the lake. We ate in the Ristorante della Posta, which is part of the Albergo della Poste which was lovely and we got to say that we’d been to Switzerland for lunch!

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The lovely Rachel let us know, via another post, that the cable car is open again. She also sent this very useful link  which gives the opening times and fares. It’s a bit complicated to work out, but the first column labeled ORARIO INVERNALE SCOLA operates during the school term (Sept 11th – June 10th approx) starting at 0640 and the second column, ORARIO ESTIVO, are the Summer holiday times, the first one leaves at 0830. The cable cars leave Pigra and Argengo at the same time and pass each other in the middle. By the way, there’s a gap in the service at lunchtime….molto Italiano!

The single adult fare is €2.90 and the return is €3.90. There are other prices shown including for a bicycle and also for an annual season ticket. As well as being a great way for tourists to see the lake, it’s a vital connection for the local communities.

We hope you enjoy your trip!

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C30 Bus In Nesso

C30 Bus from Como to Bellagio stopping in Nesso.

This is the C30 bus from Como to Bellagio (on Lake Como) at the stop in Nesso.

The route starts at Como San Giovanne station (trains from Milano Centrale and Switzerland), goes along the lake front past Como Lago Nord station (trains from Milano Cadorna and Malpensa via Saronno) and continues to Bellagio via Nesso.

The C32 also follows this route but does not continue on to Bellagio.

It takes about 40 minutes by bus from Como to Nesso and about 30 minutes from Nesso to Bellagio.

Timetables

Timetables for all Como area buses are available online here.

N.B.  Be careful on the weekend!  Many buses do not run on Sundays and public holidays, and some only run Monday to Friday (the school run).

I used the buses for years when I lived in Nesso.  They are usually on time.  The only frustrations are their infrequency on the weekend, and that the last bus is quite early: about 8pm.

Where to buy tickets.

Tickets can be bought at the bus station in Como (across the roundabout from Como Lago Nord station) or at shops and cafés nearby many of the bus stops.  The cost of the ticket depends upon how far you want to travel, so you need to say where you are traveling to. As Nesso is halfway between Como and Bellagio it costs the same for both journeys, so you can use the same ticket for either.

If you are arriving at Como San Giovanne station buy tickets at the station café and the stop is directly outside the door.  If you are arriving at Como Lago Nord station the stop is right outside the station as you walk towards the lake, but you’ll need to cross over the round-about to buy your tickets from the station.

In Nesso you can buy tickets at a shop below the road near to Hotel Tre Rose.  The shop keeps rather erratic hours, and is likely to be closed between midday and 4pm.

Having said all this, if the bus arrives before you’ve organised tickets you can just hop on and the driver will stop at one of the places en-route where you are able to buy them. He will wait while you pop in and do so.  It’s rather a leap of faith to leave your luggage on the bus, go into a crowded café and buy bus tickets in a foreign language, all the while worrying if the driver will get impatient and drive off.  If you’ve never done it before and don’t speak Italian this can be very confusing and uncomfortable.  Better to get your tickets in advance if you have time!

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If you want to see a stunning view like this, over Como town, but don’t fancy a long and steep walk

Como from Brunate

you can take the Funicular (funicolare, in Italian) up to Brunate from Como. This picture was taken a few years ago, but the view never fails to impress me; it feels like you could be flying!

I’ve just found this website about the Funicolare, which has lots of information about it (it was opened in 1894) Some of the info is a little out of date,  but it will give you an idea of the opening times and you can ‘enjoy’ the interesting translation into English.

Brunate is the start of the long walking trail from Como to Bellagio (this link has the all the info about it) but you can just do a short walk from the top of the funicular.

 

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This cable car is a lovely way to get up to the village of Pigra and see beautiful views of Lake Como from high up and I’ve posted a couple of times already with running times etc!

...and just look at the views you get as you go up!

Last year it had to stop running to allow for repair work, and there was even talk at one stage that it would never open again.  However I found a newspaper piece a few weeks ago and, with some Twitter translation help from @Germasino (thank you!), I can tell you what’s happening. (Of course if you speak good Italian, you can just read the piece yourself!)

There have been funding problems, but lots people including the town and regional authorities have stepped in to help. Major renovations have been done, and at the moment it us due to reopen in May 2011.  Fingers crossed for that!

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Last August we finally got around to hiring a boat on the lake, and had one of the most fun afternoons in a long while! You get a really different view of things from the water, and renting your own boat means that you get to choose what you see, how long you spend doing it and also swim from the boat. We got the boat from Rent Fun Boats in Fagetto Lario which is just down the road from Nesso. They are really helpful, and also speak English.  You pay for the boat by the hour, and also pay for the fuel that you use. We rented a 40hp boat, which is the biggest you can have without a license, but it certainly felt pretty powerful!

We spent about 3 hours pottering about in all taking a look at the bit of the lake between Bellagio down towards Como. We really can’t recommend this enough as a way to spend a few hours….
Here are some pictures from our trip.

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