Writing about Bellagio is not an easy task. Of course, we can start with the number of residents in the town, 3,820 to be precise; or we could note that its territory is one of the largest in the Lake Como area. But we would only be wasting time, trying (with not much success) to postpone arriving at the real truth: Bellagio is a “place of the soul”. One of those places in the world that – when you have visited even just once – will establish a bond, a dependence, a commitment. Forever. I have visited Bellagio in all seasons and in every kind of weather: in the sun and wind, under a whipping January rain, and during those blossoming days of June, when the light on the lake is at its most breathtaking beauty. It is not possible – nor would it be fair – to write about Bellagio in any neutral way. Bellagio is simply not comparable, not even with the other wonderful Lake towns such as Cernobbio, Moltrasio, Laglio, Carate Uno, Ossuccio, Sala Comacina, Lenno, Menaggio, Varenna, Torno, or Brunate… although they all contribute to making the Lake Como district absolutely unique in the world.
One does not need to be in love to fall in love with Bellagio. It is enough to have the privilege of visiting Villa Melzi d’Eril on an uncrowded day, to enjoy its beautiful gardens, this neoclassical masterpiece and botanical marvel which once provoked the admiration and deep enchantment of such a profound connoisseur of Italy as Stendhal. It is enough to spend just a few hours at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, one of the most prestigious hotels in the world, a preferred destination for European aristocracy and the jet set of political, artistic and famous sportsmen over the past hundred and fifty years. It is enough to arrive by boat on any given day, when the wind has driven away the clouds and has dried the rain from the streets of the village.
One does not have to be a member of a royal family from Spain, Romania, Albania, or Egypt; nor a political personality such as Winston Churchill, Roosevelt or J.F. Kennedy; not even a movie star such as Clark Gable, Robert Mitchum or Al Pacino; nor a financial tycoon from the Rothschild family.
To fall in passionate love with Bellagio, it is enough to absorb its beauty, its most perfect balance of nature and culture, each bestowing its own special gifts. All the rest flows naturally. And it will be an unconditioned love: it will be inevitable to visit again, as soon and as often as possible.
One last travel note: the woods-lined route from Civenna to Bellagio is among the most beautiful roads in the world.