November in Italy: The Lakes

To continue where I left off yesterday….lunch. Well, before lunch I had the pleasure of taking a tour of Villa d’Este’s kitchen with head chef Luciano Parolari, who has worked at the resort fo 39 years! Parolari, along with the resort’s Jean Salvadore, just published Tales of Risotto: 50 Recipes: Culinary Adventures from Villa d’Este. Parolari supervises 35 full-time kitchen staff, most of whom specialize in a particular area – meat, fish, pastry, pasta, etc. The chef shared his sources for the exquisite fresh food his chefs turn into masterpieces (I will share in an upcoming issue of Dream of Italy). He maintains a chef’s garden on Villa d’Este’s estate where guests are welcome to take a walk. By the way, the entire Villa d’Este experience — every good thing you have heard and more…

We took a short walk into the town of Cernobbio where we hopped on the ferry for the 15-minute ride to Como. Como is one of those towns where all of the shops are closed during lunch. So no shopping for us, but a quick lunch and return by ferry.

Next it was off to Lake Garda in the rental car (which takes Diesel fuel by the way, to the tune of 50 euros per tank) after fighting some EXCRUCIATING traffic on the A9 and A4 autostradas. Many of Lake Garda’s hotels are already closed for the season, but the Romantik Hotel Laurin in Salo (the town which declared itself a fascist republic for a short time during World War II) is open and we stayed there for the night. The hotel, housed in a yellow villas, has a decidedly old world feel andsweeping views of the lake (including the view from the curtain-less window directly across from the bathroom, interesting…). We enjoyed our stay but came to the lake to see one place in particular — Villa Feltrinelli — wow! Stay tuned, more tomorrow….

Did you know we have a special report on the Lakes? It is a must-read.