After a 9 1/2 hour non-stop flight from Toronto to Milan Malpensa Airport, we checked into our hotel in picturesque Baveno, Lake Maggiore around 3 p.m. Lake Maggiore is a long, thin lake on the south side of the Alps.
This was our "room with a view" for 2 nights!
The next morning we boarded a local ferry service to see the 3 small Borromean islands of Isola Madre, Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Bella and tour the palace and Italianate gardens of the Borromean Princes, who still live on Isola Bella.
This was the courtyard entrance to the palace; the weather was lovely during our 19-day trip.
A life-size sculpture of Sleeping Venus - carved from white marble by Giovanni Battistamonti - was in one of the elaborate cobblestone shell grottos on the lower floor of the palace.
After touring the palace, we spent an hour visiting the lovely gardens.
In the afternoon, we visited Lake Como, the third largest lake in Italy.
No, we didn't see George Clooney's villa; it's off limits to tour boats!
We had a mid-afternoon pizza at a restaurant across the square from the Como Cathedral, described as the last Gothic cathedral built in Italy.
The cathedral, started in 1396, dominates the historic centre.
Our "room with a view" didn't disappoint us after a lovely "first day" on Lakes Maggiore and Como.
(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)