A field trip to Como

By Enrico Grigoletti
Photo by Martina Giammaria
Illustrations by Giacomo Bagnara

Week 39
MILANO

I’ve never been a big fan of lakes. Deep and cold water, the total absence of sand, and a string of unpleasant memories that involve Germans in socks, Teva in a drunken haze on Garda, and water snakes in Lago Maggiore. Yes, I hate snakes.
Then there is Lake Como, a small nugget between Milan and the Swiss border. Actually, it lies on the road that leads from Milan to Ticino, a road I traversed regularly for work, and so in my mind Como has always represented a passageway rather than a destination.
Therefore, it seemed necessary to settle my debt with the town by providing you all with a series of tips to enjoy a quality day out in Como. You know, just so I could refute my argument and confirm that Como really is a destination worth stopping at, and not just a place to pass by.

8:30AM
Breakfast at Poletti Cernobbio

Forget the legends – too many legends – about the fact that you may meet a VIP at Poletti. The only noteworthy things are the exquisite pastries and meringues you will find at breakfast time.

9:00AM
From Poletti to Parco di Villa D’Este

Renowned for the Ambrosetti Workshop and annual Concorso D’Elegance that assembles curious folk and lovers of vintage cars, Villa D’Este and its 25 acres of parklands are an attraction on their own. Without listing the celebs that have frequented the place, it’s enough to think about Orson Welles, intent on retrieving notebooks from the pool for The Lady from Shanghai, to confirm the enchantment of this place.

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Illustrazione © Giacomo Bagnara

11:00AM
From Villa D’Este to Villa Balbianello in Tremezzo

Is it enough to tell you that the Villa del Balbianello is one of FAI’s (Fondo Ambiente Italiano or the Italian National Trusts) protected sites? No?
Fine, here is a brief list of the movies that were filmed inside the villa to convince you. Star Wars, Casino Royale and Piccolo Mondo Antico… just to name a few.

1:00PM
Lunch at La Darsena in Tremezzina

A stone’s throw away from Villa del Balbianello, you will come across La Darsena. This peaceful oasis, looking out directly onto the lake, is the perfect place for a refined meal and sweetheart wooing.

2:30PM
Visit to Aero Club Como

If you open the website of Aero Club Como the first thing that grabs your attention is this phrase: “The oldest seaplane organisation and water flying school in the world”. An accolade approved by the Guinness World Records.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m already convinced.

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Illustrazione © Giacomo Bagnara

4:00PM

Shopping at A.Gi.Emme and Tessabit
A visit to a city cannot be complete without a serious (even if brief) shopping session. Located on Via Indipendenza, according to Monocle, A.Gi.Emme is the zenith of Italian chic. I suggest to only count on Engineered Garments, Nanamica and Salvatore Piccolo among the labels of calibre that are synonymous with excellence.
With about a dozen boutiques dispersed around Como’s centre and segmented towards a very specific target market (ready wealthy), Tessabit is able to accommodate a wide range of apparel requests, from well-established fashion brands to more independent labels.

7:00PM
Aperitivo at Pane e Tulipani

Elegant exteriors reflect the essence of this stylish dive, where the atmosphere is pleasurable and the cocktails even more so. For those who do not intend to stay in Como for dinner, Pane e Tulipani is an ideal refreshment stop.

Ore 20:30
Dinner at Antico Crotto in Porlezza

If you would like to carry on with your evening, as aperitivo has only left you wanting more, we suggest you head to Antico Crotto in Porlezza. This exclusive destination is where famed chef Sara Preceruti rattles the pans, re-interpreting local delicacies into modern art. In addition to the restaurant, the residence offers several luxury rooms for those wishing to prolong their stay.

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Illustrazione © Giacomo Bagnara

Giacomo Bagnara holds a degree in architecture, and lives and works as an illustrator in Verona. His list of clients is very long (from Corraini and the New York Times, to Mr. Porter and the Wall Street Journal). He created the illustrations for this guide.
Martina Giammaria is a photographer based in Milan. Bloomberg Businessweek, Wired, L’Officiel Italia and Vice Dossier Journal are just some of the few titles she has worked for.