Seven Surprising Things About Lake Como, Italy
Nutshell: we loved it.
We hadn’t planned on living on Lake Como in Northern Italy.
Then again, a lot of our nomad destinations aren’t “planned” exactly: we always do our due diligence, but we also often make semi-impulsive decisions based on invitations from old travel friends.
In this case, our old friend George Clooney generously invited us to spend a month with him and his wife Amal in their $100 million villa in Laglio on Lake Como.
We actually came to Como to meet up with our friend Javier, someone we’d met on our very first nomad stop, in Miami, back in 2018. He and his girlfriend Missy had come to Lake Como to continue their efforts to become licensed floatplane pilots — and the lake was somewhere they could specialize specifically in floatplanes.
We expected Lake Como would be beautiful. And we knew that, yes, it’s home to George Clooney and other rich celebrities.
In fact, we assumed the entire area was an enclave for the rich — a sort of Italian Aspen, or maybe like Monaco, that glitzy, casino-decked city-state on the Mediterranean near the border between Italy and France .
It turns out we were wrong, mostly in ways that delighted us.
Como Isn’t Just an Enclave for the Rich
No offense to people who love Aspen and Monaco, but places like that just aren’t our beat. For one thing, as nomads, we both only own a single pair of shoes — tennis shoes, at that.
But Lake Como, especially the city of Como, isn’t nearly as posh as we expected.
To be clear: the area is fairly expensive by Italian standards (though not “Capri” or “Positano” expensive). It’s also very touristy, especially the deeper into the summer high season you go.
And, yes, if you’re looking for upscale boutiques — your Dolce & Gabbanas, your Armanis — you’ll definitely find them.
Meanwhile, Bellagio, one of the towns farther up the lake, is definitely an enclave for the rich — which is why that Las Vegas casino was named after it. But even Bellagio was a lot smaller than we expected.
In fact, unlike Aspen (which has become far too expensive for even its workers to live there), Como is filled with plenty of local Italians living regular Italian lives. We saw lots of pensioners, school kids, and a surprising number of immigrants from Africa and Southeast Asia, which gives the city a welcome amount of racial diversity.
As a result, cheap food options abound, and the city has public markets that many tourists ignore, all filled with affordable — and extremely fresh — meat, cheese, and produce.
Rich tourists can wear out their Platinum Visas. As for us, we loved the sprawling pop-up markets that frequently rise right outside the city walls of Old Town.
It’s Even More Beautiful Than They Say.
Look, we’ve all heard how beautiful Lake Como is. It is frequently cited as the most beautiful lake in the world.
Somehow it managed to exceed even our very high expectations.
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