Bellagio, Italy: Not Quite Like Vegas

Looking back, this trip feels like a wander down the Vegas strip in so many ways. I went to Luxor (in Egypt), Paris (the France version), Venice is next week, and today… Bellagio! Yes, it’s a real place outside of Las Vegas, and yes, it’s amazing!

Though the real version didn’t have any fountains… (that I could find).

From Lecco, there are three main ways to get to Bellagio – you can drive (but I didn’t have a car), take the ferry (which is about 2+ hours), or take the train to Varenna and then the ferry from there.

I picked the last option, so I headed back up to Varenna on the train to get to Bellagio. Pulling up to Bellagio from the water made me see why it was such an inspiring place to the theme-builders in Las Vegas! It’s perfectly situated on the water, with houses and buildings nestled into the hills and painted those amazing Italian colors. I swear the oranges, yellows, greens, and pinks in Italy are different than those outside Italy!

Because Bellagio isn’t extremely easy to get to, it doesn’t have as bad of crowds as it could (especially given its reputation!). On the ferry over, I met an awesome British couple and we were chatting about how amazing it is. They told me about how their children just purchased a house on the shore of the lake and are in the process of restoring it – it apparently needs so much restoration it’s not quite live-able yet.

But, oh the dreams! To have a beautiful villa (or really any villa) on the shores of Lake Como! I have to admit I was quite jealous of hearing about this. One day…

In Bellagio, the main gardens are at Villa Melzi, and those were also stunning! I’m glad I came to Bellagio after going to Varenna and Villa Monastero. If I’m being honest, I think the gardens at Villa Melzi are even more gorgeous than the gardens at Villa Monastero.

When I was there, it was just starting to turn into fall (late September), and so the gardens were starting to change color. As a Floridian, any sort of fall color feels so special and different!

The entrance to the gardens leads you to their water gardens, which are incredibly lush and surrounded by all types of Japanese Maples and other tress. I feel like the theme for plants there was “lacy leaves” because the plants had all kinds of intricate, delicate, and beautiful leaves.

The gardens have two levels – an upper path and a lower path. I started out along the upper path, and went past the villa to the end of the gardens. Like with Villa Monastero, I wasn’t nearly as impressed with the Villa as I was with the gardens. When I think about it, it makes sense – the villa owners used Lake Como as a summer getaway in the time before air conditioning – so they needed the gardens to escape the stifling heat of the house.

The lower level is along the lake shore, and has this amazing row of trees lending an level of majesty to the path.

I read that there have been a number of political conferences at Villa Melzi, and I can just imagine it being much easier to compromise when surrounded by the level of beauty that’s at Villa Melzi! The paths are also so conducive to long walks and talks… I’m sure more than a few women were courted through those gardens!

Like Villa Monastero, I took my book with me and just spent the afternoon soaking up the gorgeous gardens and reading!

I decided to take the ferry back to Lecco. It’s always fun to vary modes of transport, and I knew it would be a gorgeous ride.

It did not disappoint! I took the last ferry from Bellagio to Lecco, and it was as the sun was setting. It was so amazing to get to see the lake and the skies changed color and the sun set. Looking back, all of Lake Como feels like something out of a dream – a perfect retreat!

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