A Local Guide to Bellagio, Italy
“I could live here.”
We each said it over, and over, and over during our time in Bellagio. A small town, at the end of a long peninsula in Lake Como, Bellagio enjoys an absurd 270 degrees of lake views. It’s not just the strong dose of geographic beauty that makes it so appealing, but the town’s pastel architecture, lush landscape and mouth-watering Italian trattoria’s make it a worthy destination (or home) for any foodie, outdoor lover, or photographer.
By day 2 we decided that we’d buy a villa once we made it. We’re not the only tourists with this local envy mindset though, the Rockefeller’s, Madonna and Donatella Versace all have properties in the town. Fortunately during my time in Bellagio I befriended one of the lucky locals and have since kept in contact with him. Mich, from Bellagio Water Sports, runs a highly regarded kayak club on the eastern side of the peninsula. I prompted Mich to share some of his favorite spots in Bellagio, beyond just the tourist town center. I’ve also sprinkled in a few places my group loved as well.
Residence La Limonera (Bellagio Town Center) – We stumbled upon this property while strolling through town by good fortune. We stayed elsewhere (an overpriced villa) for the first 3 nights and the remainder of our stay at La Limonera, it was absolutely wonderful! Be sure to take advantage of the rooftop terrace when you stay! (The property isn’t listed on any travel booking sites so be sure to bookmark their site.)
La Filanda Apartments (Visgnola di Bellagio)
Locanda della Maria (San Giovanni di Bellagio)
Bellagio & Dintorni Apartments (multiple locations around in Bellagio area)
Bike Hotel il Perlo (Località il Perlo di Bellagio)
Trattoria Baita Belvedere (Maccale’ di Bellagio) – This place offers truly spectacular views of the peninsula and wonderful farm-to-table food. This was one of my favorite meals in Europe to do and I gabbed all about here. Complimentary pickup available in the town center.
Ristorante Mella (San Giovanni di Bellagio)
Pizzeria la Grotta (Bellagio Town Center)
Bellagio Water Sports – Mich’s awesome kayaking and SUPing tours around the point of Bellagio and beyond (read about my morning paddle here).
Tour Villa Melzi – Beautiful villa and grounds, even in foul weather! (read about my stormy visit here)
La Punta Spartivento – Stroll to the northern tip of the peninsula, not far from Bellagio town center, for scenic water views and a small cafe.
LOCAL SPECIALTY SHOPS |
PASTRY SHOP & OLIVE OIL | Pasticceria Sancassani (Visgnola di Bellagio)
DRAFT BEER | Pub il Tiglio (Visgnola di Bellagio)
WINE | Enoteca Cavaturacciolo (Bellagio Town Center)
SNACKS & BREAKFAST | Nene’ Food (San Giovanni)
NEARBY DESTINATIONS |
Varenna – A favorite of Rick Steves’, Varenna is worthy of a few hours and lots of pictures. A bit short on restaurants/nightlife compared to Bellagio, I wouldn’t recommend staying here unless you’re honeymooning! (Check out our visit to Varenna here.)
Villa del Balbianello
Many thanks to Mich for his input! When you go to Bellagio (because, you know, you’ve got to!) be sure to check out his kayak and SUPing tours! In my book, one of the best ways to experience Lake Como is to be on it.