Navigating around Lago di Como is a bit trickier on Sundays. We couldn’t take the fast boat directly to Varenna, so we took it to Tremezzo (~40 minutes) first, where we wandered in and around Villa Carlotta and its tropical gardens. Then we took the slow boat (~30 minutes) over to the colorful village of Varenna tucked into the hillside with its tiny harbor facing the lake.
From the Pontile di Arrivo (arrival port), we walked along a romantic passerella (promenade) to get to the center of the village, where our first item on the agenda was to get some lunch. We found a restaurant where we could eat inside to escape the intermittent rain showers, and we started with a first course of bresaola & rucola and then went on to risotto with filets of lake fish, a local specialty. After a couple of espressos, we headed out to explore the village, with umbrellas in hand.
We spent a good amount of time dodging the rain in the 16th-century Villa Monastero and its beautiful arbored gardens and meditative outdoor temple. This ancient monastery is now used as an International Conference Center.
The return trip back to Como took the form of a slow-boat voyage all around the southwestern-most appendage of Lago di Como, which took about 2 hours and 35 minutes. Fortunately, we were able to order wine and snacks while we took in the rainy views of all the small villages which populate this part of the lake.