In less than an hour on a good traffic day Milan is a short train trip or drive from the Lakes of Como and Maggiore. To live on the lake and work in the city for many must be the ideal life style.
For my tour group we spend a day on the lake and a day in the city. Obviously most people live in apartments or small multi story houses almost built on top of each other in this part of the word but for us the shear size and opulence of the villas lining the lake edge on Lake Como – some of which are surrounded with vast gardens,beautifully clipped hedges and huge mature trees, they are very impressive.Many seem to have their shutters closed and since it is now the end of summer for the Italians I presume these vast villas must be holiday houses!!
There is always movement on the water with the constant hum of ferries and the odd smaller boat. It’s easy to sit in the sun people watching and taking in the the magnificent scenery. Como is surrounded by very high hills and houses are dotted way up the slopes. Not sure how scary the access would be in the winter! Our weather is very hot and clam and dinner at my favourite La Baia was fabulous as usual – with all the doors open to the verandah above the lake and you couldn’t wish for a better night
Our day in Milan is planned around a visit to Leonardo Da Vinci’s work of the “Last Supper’. It has to be meticulously planned with only a 15 minute time to view the work, followed by a walk onto the largest castle in Italy, once owned by the the Sforza family and is now a popular tourist site and home to many galleries. It’s history is fascinating and of course was a fortress with a colourful past. Again we are in awe of the size of the buildings. You do get used to the shear size of the churches and the enormous numbers of them but walking in the Sant’Ambrogio neighbourhood with tree lined streets and large apartment blocks is fascinating. On closer inspection you can see through the huge iron gates and most of the them have inner courtyards where you can park your car and include tranquil private gardens. I think we were in the most expensive real estate in Italy !!!
So from the Lakes to the City it is all pretty impressive and life here is intertwined and connected by trains and the frenetic motorway system. Our drive in and out of Milan was painless and didn’t have to experience a traffic jam.!!