We were lucky when we chose Menaggio as our destination of many towns along Lake Como.  Almost daily, we came to appreciate Menaggio’s splendid features, a living village, quiet neighborhoods away from the tourist traps, old cobblestone walks to our apartment, hillside trails with gorgeous views, and convenient ferry and bus transportation to other villages along the lake.

The first few days we explored Lake Como enthusiastically, taking ferries to Bellagio and Varenna, a bus trip to Como at the southern end of the lake, returning on the Concordia paddle wheel boat (passing by George Clooney’s villa), and hiking on trails to rural villages untouched by time.

Lake Como

George Clooney’s Lake Como villa

Stopping at Lake Como’s only island, Isola Comacina

After a few days, we settled down to explore Menaggio, strolling down ancient stone pathways into town, exploring shops on narrow streets, and swimming in the lake,.  The water was perfect temperature with few waves.  I loved swimming out a couple hundred yards to admire the picturesque mountains and watch ferries going across the lake.  It was sunny, with a few clouds floating across blue skies, and amazingly peaceful.  One of the highlights of our trip.

We enjoyed many excellent meals at sidewalk cafes, courtyard restaurants shaded with trellises, and hideaway trattorias tucked in quiet neighborhoods.  Our favorite restaurant was a fifteen minute walk from our apartment in an area known as Sonenga across from the Sonenga Hotel .  The restaurant had a feature I’d never seen before — a swimming pool!

Poolside at Sonenga trattoria

I had one of the best meals of our vacation at the Sonenga trattoria; calamari, clams, mussels, white fish, and crab served over fettucine in a delicious broth.  It was such a fabulous meal, we returned our last night in Menaggio for a second serving of the delicious seafood pasta.  It will our first stop on our next trip to Menaggio.

Best meal in Italy – seafood pasta at Sonenga trattoria

Twilight clouds over Lake Como

One evening, we went for a walk to find a neighborhood restaurant in the hills above Menaggio. We passed the castello walls, crossed a bridge over a rushing stream barely visible through dense trees, into the Loveno neighborhood, until we found a quiet restaurant with a patio looking over Lake Como.

Lake Como from restaurant patio

We ordered and while we waited for our wine to come, watched an unusual cloud formation building at the southern end of the lake. The cloud formation started flat and amorphous in the twilight, turning into a lump of white dough.  As we watched, the clouds grew a stem like a white mushroom, grew taller and spread out, until an opening appeared like someone had punched a hole in the dough.

Cloud formation forming

Lump of dough

White mushroom

Forming legs

As the sky darkened, the hole widened until it took the shape of a sheep with legs, a rump, and head.

Sheep with legs?

It was a remarkable way to close another wonderful day in Menaggio.  I was grateful I had grabbed my camera before we left our apartment.  I’d learned my lesson when I didn’t take my camera when visited  Villa Carlota in nearby Tremezzo.  Villa Carlota has one of the largest private gardens in Italy with a museum, bamboo grove, fountains, and acres of azaleas, geraniums, and a tropical sanctuary.

* * * * * 

Next:  Via Monte Grappa, our Menaggio neighborhood

In addition to writing this travel blog, I write international thrillers, mysteries, and suspense novels.

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