Our next destination was famous Lake Como. It is a lovely lake surrounded by elegant villas and green mountains.
We were reminded repeatedly that George Clooney and his family live on Lake Como but we did not see them. We took a lake tour assuming we would see at least one of their three villas but we did not. That seemed odd given the hype.
We were told that the first home Clooney purchased, Villa Oleander built in 1720, is beyond this point. He then bought the adjoining Villa Margherita and later a third villa on the lake.
We did see many other elegant villas around the lake. Some remain special family residences while others are now rental venues, municipal buildings or hotels.
Each has its own history, including its origin and the variety of nobles, businessmen and celebrities that have been proprietors over the last 300-400 years.
Villa Del Grumello is one of the oldest villas on Lake Como with origins in the 15th century. It began as a rustic two story house known as Castellazzo. It has undergone major restorations several times over the centuries.
Villa Erba was built in the 19th century. It is now a premiere wedding and events site on Lake Como. It was a filming location for the movie Ocean’s Twelve.
Villa Fontanelle was built in the 19th century by Lord Charles Currie. He couldn’t find a villa to buy, so had one built. The villa was in a state of abandonment when purchased by Gianni Versace in 1977. He restored the home and the gardens. Many current celebrities were regular visitors at Villa Fontanelle until it was purchased by a Russian oligarch in 2008.
There are many villas and fancy houses around the lake. These are a mere sampling.
Returning to the town of Como, we could see the Tempio Voltiano. It was built in 1927 to honor Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the electrical battery. The museum inside holds scientific instruments and that first electric battery.
There is a statue of Alessandro Volta in a piazza named in his honor in Como. Volta was born in Como in 1745 and died there in 1827. His name is also the inspiration behind the standard unit of electric potential – the volt.
Next stop on our adventure: Pisa!