What can I say to convince you? You have to add the region of Lombardy in Northern Italy to your list of places you must visit.
I admit it, Lombardy was supposed to be just a two day stopover on our way to research Tuscany as a potential location for Easygoing. But I quickly realised that this Alp region deserves so much more attention. We ended up staying for five days and have now added Lombardy to our future destinations list.
We found ourselves in a region with the most amazing mountains, lakes and cosy small villages. In other words all you need for an active and fun vacation.
Having stayed for a few days does not make me a local guide to Lombardy. That would require much more research. Having said that, I really want to share my love for this underrated region. So let's call this blog post a short summery of my first visit, but certainly not my last.
We had booked a room in Casa Pasini Foresteria a small B&B in the village of Piuro. It turned out to be amazing, not least because of the views from our room. We had mountains all around us no matter where we looked. And that's not all. No more than a stone's throw away from our B&B we found Aquafraggia, one of Europe's largest waterfalls. More on this later.
On the first evening on our way back from dinner, we looked at the pitch black mountainside and saw some lights high up in the mountains. They seemed to reveal a small town, so the next morning at breakfast, we asked our host if that was the case. He told us, what we had seen was lights coming from the medieval village of Savogno.
What a great destination for a small hike we thought, and decided to leave as soon as the breakfast had settled in. We are both fairly fit and not first time hikers, so we though that the 932 hight meters hike to Sovogno would be perfect for a small first day hike.
Boy, we were wrong. Most hikes this high would have been fine, but this one was a straight and very steep line directly towards the village, so we had to catch our breath. We quickly realised we were walking along the water flow of the pre-mentioned waterfall, which meant we constantly encountered smaller waterfalls, giving us plenty of excuses to take way too many breaks along the way.
Those who have tried hiking in the mountains during summertime know how hot and swollen your feet get and how uncomfortable it often makes the hike down. This time, a perfect cure for hot and swollen feet awaited us at the end. After a few minutes in the ice cold water in the bassin of one of the biggest waterfalls in Europe, we were feeling great once again.
The next day, we decided to pay a visit to Lago di Como to relax our legs before heading up the mountains again the following day. We entered the lake from the north and since we didn't want to spend too much time in the car, we decided to stop at the first beach we reached near the town of Colico Piano.
Of course we had seen all the beautiful pictures of Como and we were certain that reality could not be as picture perfect. We assumed Como was nothing but a paradise for the rich and famous and probably unapproachable for "normal" people. Again our prejudice were put to shame.
The beach itself was noting speciel but that didn't matter because everywhere we looked, it was absolutely breathtaking.
We spend the day swimming and sunbathing among what seemed to be solely locals and italien tourists. The atmosphere was great and there was plenty of space and opportunities for all. Even families with kids or couples like us.
Because of our silly prejudices we hadn't initially planned to visit Como during our stay. In hindsight we wouldn't have missed it for the world. What a magical place. Even for others than George Clooney and alike.
The next day, it was time yet again for another and longer hike. We had planned a round trip with the stop over half way at a shelter.
Just like our first hike, the ascent was steep and challenging, but stunning, again passing several waterfalls. But after approximately three hours of hiking, just before we reached the shelter, the weather took a dramatic turn and it began pouring down.
Naive as we were we had not packed for rain, so we had to run as fast as we could to reach the shelter before we got too wet. Luckily we managed and as we sat there looking out on the rainy mountains, we realised how lucky we were that we had reached the shelter. Because getting wet and cold high up in the mountains would have been a disaster.
The next day, it was time to say goodbye to Lombardy and head to our next destination of Tuscany.
But Como had simply taken us by storm, so we had to spend a few hours by the lake on our way south. Not knowing what we would find, we decided to stop by tiny village of Corenno Plinio. We walked a heck of a lot of stairs down to the water, where we found the most beautiful and tranquil little harbour. Here we spend the next couple of hours all alone swimming and sunbathing. It was around here we decided that although we are not be rich and famous, we still want a house by Como some day.
I hope this little summary of our first visit to Lombardy has sparked your curiosity. Because, if you too love an active vacation and the mountains, this is the place to go. You won't have it to yourself, but you'll meet far less tourist here than many other places.
- Jakob, Co-founders of Easygoing