Canzo – 7 days – 402 metres above sea level

Version française disponible ici. 

We arrived in advance in the little city of Canzo. We waited to meet the owner of the rent flat. During this spare time, we bought some groceries. When we left the supermarket, a big storm arrived and we heard the sirens of the city. We found a shelter under a lean-to next to the store. We met the owner there who gave us the keys of the rent flat. 

The rain stopped at the end of the afternoon. We took our sidecars and left the city to meet Alice and Bernard, Emilie’s parents at the airport of Milano-Malpensa. Due to the bad weather, their flight had a 45-min delay. But never mind, it was such a pleasure to see them (even if this meeting meant we were closer to the end of the trip) ! Once back to Canzo at around 11pm, we finished our day with some food to share and Moretti beers. 

After a good lie-on, we sat in the 7-seat car rent at the airport. We went towards the Como Lake and its treasures, between the Alps mountains, surrounded by colorful houses and beautiful villas. The wide blue-saphir colour lake was mesmerizing by its beauty. This beautiful natural place attracted dukes ans kings who built beautiful monuments. 

We strolled in the streets of the little village of Bellagio, located between the three arms of the lake. With some luck, we found a free space to park next to the historical center and we started to visit the Pescallo area and its little beach. The sun was reflecting in the water with an intense blue and shined on the little waves of the lake, shaped by the wind. 

In the ancient borough of fishermen, we saw the first ship Riva, this mythical wooden ship, revealing the Italian luxury. 

We continued our walk in the pedestrian streets of this touristic city. Colorful houses, stairs made of stones, many narrow paved streets: Bellagio was like a scenery of a movie. We arrived in front of the Basilica San Giacomo before to reach the top of Spartivento. On the Piazza Mazzini, the ferries were going back and forth from a side to the opposite one, a buzzing life on this ancient market square.

After finding the ingredients for making sandwiches in a delicatessen , we enjoyed them along the lake. We continued strolling in the streets of San Giovanni. On the little square of this port, Italian guys were playing cards. At 4pm, the bells of the church were ringing in the little streets. Bicycles were hung on the front of a house, each one with its style: the bicycle of the fireman, the florist or the carpenter. 

At the end of the afternoon, we went to the Rezzago village. During the day, curious about a sign made of cardboard and looking like an old advert, we decided to go to this village to take part in the local beer festival. We parked at the entry of the village and walked in the streets up to the church. It seemed very quiet and there was no hint about the biggest event of the year for this village. Finally, a man walking his dog showed us the location of this festival. At the entry, there was an old Fiat 500 nicely refurbished. Once inside, there was another inhabitant who gave us advice. With a beer of 1 litre per couple served with fries, we sat under the main marquee. We had a nice time at this local event, without any tourists. In the background, the local celebrity was playing classic Italian music. 

The following day, we woke up earlier to go to the West of the lake. At 10am, we left the house to go towards the hills and reach the lake next to the city of Como. We went along the riverside. The traffic was heavy during this Summer period. We were patient. 

We reached finally the village of Lenno, the place of departure of our walk. After a few manoeuvres in the little streets, we managed to find a space to park. We started to walk along a steam in the streets. We reached the main square overlooking the bay. On the water, the oars were going back and forth in front of the seawall. We continued up to the village of Tremezzo, went up to the heights, used the “GreenWay” to reach the park of Teresio Olivelli, where we had a picnic in the shadow of a big pine. On the way, we noticed many beautiful villas with garages for boats and the stairs going down to the lake. In Tremezzo, the “Grand Hotel” and the great “Villa Carlotta” were beautiful to take in photos. Back to Lenno, we enjoyed a homemade ice cream to celebrate the end of the walk. 

Milano was on the schedule of the following day. We walked up early to take the train of 9:30am at the train station of Asso-Canzo to reach the one of Milano North Cadorna in one hour and half. 

We started by crossing the medieval castle of Sforza from the name of this family who reigned on the city during the Middle-Age, after the Visconti family who built it. In spite of the outside architecture being massive and austere due to its defensive role, it was very sophisticated inside. The courtyards were decorated with little columns and walls with beautiful patterns. 

Then we went to the heart of Milano and loved the colourful buildings, the wrought-iron balconies and the vintage tramways. We arrived at the Scala square, the famous opera surprising us by its discrete architecture in spite of the reputation of this place, compared to the ones in Paris and London. 

Then, we went towards the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the true place of the Milanese fashion life. This shopping mall is made of two arcades with beautiful glass roof and the most famous fashion shops. The ground was covered of colourful mosaic with in its center a roaring bull, helping the extravagant wishes coming true. 

For lunch, we discovered the panzerotti, a local speciality similar to small calzone, before to discover the wide square where there is the majestic White Cathedral with a beautiful fine architecturale.

We finished our walk in the city in the area of Naviglio Grande and its beautiful canals with nice bridges made of stones. In one of the bars along the river, we shared an “aperitivo”, the true Milanese tradition. 

It was with a full belly that we headed to the train station to take the 9:08pm train going to Canzo.

Because the Come lake did not finish to deliver all its secrets, the next day we went to the East bank of the lake. After the town of Lecco, a numerous tunnels were hiding the view. But once passed Mandello, we took the Via Roma following the riverside. We parked at the Fiumelatte village with its narrow streets and the beautiful houses on the water.

We started the visit of Varenna by its main square, the Piazza San Giorgio before to stroll in the little streets along the lake, up to the pier. Again, we loved the colourful villas with the peaceful and romantic atmosphere, in spite of the touristic season. A storm was coming, so we went back to the car under the first drops.

The evening was special as we celebrated Emilie’s birthday in one of the restaurants of the city.

Bergamo was the destination of the next day. The specificity of this city is to be separated in two parts: the modern city, the Città Bassa, located at the bottom of the medieval part, the Città Alta surrounded by a fortified wall. Perched on a rock, the citadel open its doors after many stairs in the narrow and steep streets. In the heart of the fortress, the Piazza Vecchia was surrounded by impressive palaces including the Palazzo Nuovo, which is today the library and the ancient building of Palazzo della Regione. Under the arcades of this building, there was an ancient solar calendar. We enjoyed pizzas there that we bought for our lunch. On the right side, the Torre Civica, also named “Campanone”, had the biggest bell of Lombardy which was ringing each evening to let know the inhabitants the closure of the fortress gates.

Behind The Piazza Vecchia, the beautiful front of the Colleoni chapel was amazing before we entered in the basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, full of ornementations and old tapestries. Our walk in the small paved streets brought us though different markets (shoes, fish, hay, etc) and then to the Roca fortress. This was just before the comeback of the rain that we went down to the historical center for returning to the car.

Our last day in Canzo, was dedicated to the side-car services, before to take the road to France. We checked out and brought back Alice and Bernard to the Milano airport. Once we were sure they crossed the border without any issue, we took our sidecars for driving to the South, we bypassed Novare and reached the nice Asti area. Near Pianchiosso, at the end of a small track along the river, we went between the trees to reach a clearing. There, we setup the tent for the last night before entering in France.

Where for a break?

La Fabbrica del Gelato
Piazza 11 Febbraio , Lenno

An adresse with delicious homemade ice-creams to enjoy with a view over the Lenno bay and the Como lake.

Where to eat? 

Panzerotteria “Il Priscio”
Via Santa Tecla, 5, Milan

When you spend a day walking in the Milano streets, the discovery of the Panzerotti, is the solution. Il Prisco is the good place for it. With this only speciality on their menu, no need to hesitate. Just up the road from the cathedral, this address has only advantages.