Italy Adventure - Lake Como | NJ Travel Photographer

My family took an epic summer vacation this July to Italy. We opted out of the popular tourist destinations of Rome, Venice and Italy and instead explored the towns in the Northern part of Italy. We rented a car and drove from Lake Como to Portofino to Cinque Terra to Parma and then to Milan. The Italian adventure was amazing and a complete feast for our eyes. Each town offered it's own story, history and beauty. 

I fell in love with Italy - the people, the culture and the food. We ate everything! Pasta - Gelato - Wine - Fish....I think my palate is forever spoiled. The trip was a huge bonding experience for my family as we connected through exploring and trying new things together. Never easy to be in a car and moving from one town to the next, but my family of five truly enjoyed. I left Italy inspired, energized and with a new zest for life.

I took hundreds of photos and am planning to share our visual adventure through a series of blog posts on each town. Each post will have LOTS of pics so be warned :) There were just so many stories to capture in every Italian corner. I will also share our favorite hotels, restaurants and things to do. I hope you enjoy our tour of Italia! #malhotrasladolcevita

First stop was LAKE COMO. This sleepy village on the lake borders the Alps and consists of pretty towns like Bellagio, Tremezzo and Varenna (these are the three we visited). It is about an hours drive from Milan and the roads are quite narrow and treacherous. Def invest in the extra car insurance because you will find yourself scraping against the walls to share the winding roads with on coming cars. Once you get there, the best way to explore and travel between each town is by ferry/boat. You will experience beautiful views from the lake perspective. And if you're lucky, you may bump into George Clooney who has a home there on the lake. 

Where we stayed? Villa Lario : small quiet boutique hotel in Pagno Lalario. We enjoyed a suite with two bedrooms and two full baths plus a magnificent view of the lake. The atmosphere is intimate so the staff is attentive, friendly and helpful. They always remembered our names and exactly how we liked our coffee. They have an infinity pool with another spectacular view that our boys loved. I can't say enough good things about this property and am counting the days until I can return.

Where we ate? We dined mostly at the hotel but we did have an amazing dinner at Vapore. It's down a steep hill full of twists and turns so be careful. Make sure to order the lake fish!

Things to do:

Villa Carlotta - Stroll the colorful botanical garden and art museum. Kids will love the freedom of running around the manicured lawns. Grab a coffee or a cocktail at the nearby Grand Hotel Tremezzo hotel for a posh experience lakeside.

Bellagio - This bustling town has many charming restaurants, shops, artists and local makers. You will love walking up and down the narrow, cobblestone streets. Make sure to keep your eyes open because there are so many funny stories everywhere, especially in the apartment balconies. Eat gelato and pizza!

Verenna - Another village on the lake but this one less hectic and more laid back. I loved the picturesque streets and the old fishermen's houses. 

What I cherished most about this particular town?  The peaceful quiet, sounds of lapping waves, church bells and the memorable views. Perfect place to relax and recharge.

The next blog post and stop on our Italy adventure is PORTOFINO! Make sure to come back to take the trip with me through photos. Arrivederci!