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Golden Day Seventy-Seven: Lake Como with Sandy Cutrone

July 25, 2012

I have loved traveling in Italy with Sandy Cutrone–we’ve explored and enjoyed delicious meals together in Abruzzo and Sardinia. Sandy is the award-winning President and founder of Vista Travel Consultants, a Virtuoso leisure travel agency and European Connection, a Specialty tour operator. She travels to Europe at least 10 times a year to keep her finger on the pulse of what’s happening, so her ideas and advice for hotels, restaurants, guides, and off the beaten path experiences are always current and exciting. Sandy has a great passion for Italy (her parents were born in the southern town of Caserta), and she brings her knowledge of history, customs and cuisine to creating unique, personalized travel experiences for individuals, small groups, and corporate clients. She always adds a “WOW” factor to each trip making it a memorable experience.

I’m thrilled she’s joining in to offer advice for a Golden Day on Lake Como:

Lots of our clients enjoy exploring and relaxing in the Lake Como area when they arrive in Italy, or at the  end of their trip. We arrange deluxe transfers to the Milan airport (about a 45-minute drive), with a meet and greet service for arrivals, and then customize excursions for them. I recommend a 3-day stay there, as there is much to see.

To understand Lake Como, imagine an upside down Y–most Americans stay on  the left side.











My favorite deluxe 5-star property is the Casta Diva Resort in Blevio. It’s a luxurious base to explore the region, either via the hotel’s shuttle bus, hydrofoil, or private driver. And I recommend Ristorante Momi,  a charming, small place for delicious fish that can be enjoyed on the lakeside terrace.

For a less expensive accommodation, there is the 4-star Albergo Terminus, in the centro storico of Como. It’s a very well run property, a restored 19thcentury building, in a good location. Nearby is the elegant and charming Ristorante Lo Storico,  (Via Juvara 14, 031 260193, closed Sun and August), featuring catch of the day menus.

Or for more casual and traditional, go to Trattoria del Gesumin,  (Via 5 Giornate, 031 242873, closed Sun), or Il Solito Posto, (Via Lambertenghi 9, 031 271352), that’s been around since 1888, and serves delicious homemade pasta.

One of the prettiest towns on the lake is Tremezzo, where you can wander through the beautiful Villa Carlotta botanical gardens. Enjoy a fish lunch at the Hotel La Darsena Ristorante, (Via Regina 3, 0344 43166, Closed Wed in April-Oct).

Or, go a little south of Tremezzo and take a boat for a unique dining experience on the Isola Comacina. The restaurant there, Locanda dell’Isola Comacina, has been around for nearly 50 years, and serves a set menu of vegetables, trout, chicken, and dolce with wine. At the end of the meal, a bell is rung, and the chef appears to serve a legendary flaming-with-brandy-caffe. (0344 550831/56755, open every day in summer, closed Tues in spring and fall, closed Nov-mid-March, cash only).

My favorite restaurant in the whole area is Navedano—considered the best fine dining in the area. It’s located in an industrial area in Como (Via G. Velzi, 031 308080, Closed Tues and Wed lunch). The restaurant has been owned by a fabulous family, the Castarellis, since 1896. I’ve known the owner and his amazing wife/chef Lella, for 30 years. The food is always fabulous…a little bit of heaven…

And yes, Sandy says, you may have a George Clooney sighting at any one of the restaurants she’s mentioned, if you’re visiting while he’s around…

Grazie Sandy, for such Heavenly Advice!




*Click here for Sandy Cutrone’s company, European Connection,
if you’re looking for expert travel assistance anywhere in Italy

5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 27, 2012 5:08 pm

    Hi Susan, Congratulations on your blog. It is complete, elegant and intriguing. I am Italian and live in Como, my hometown. I love your desciption about Lake Como, so true, makes me want visit it:) Today it is raining, maybe not the best place to go right now. I have just started my blog about authentic Italian food. Cooking has always been my passion. All the best, un caro saluto Paola

  2. August 17, 2012 8:28 pm

    May I go on record to say that I was in Lake Como pre-George and, although certainly a lure, a Clooney-sighting is not necessary. The mystical beauty of this place stands on its own.

  3. July 26, 2012 11:52 am

    Thank you Sandy and Susan for letting me daydream about Lake Como!

    • susanvanallen permalink*
      July 26, 2012 11:13 pm

      Our pleasure Jann!

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