I arrived in Varenna in the early afternoon and nothing I have seen in photos can compare to the beauty of Lake Como (Lago di Como). The lake is completely surrounded by mountains with small villages and towns around the shore and into the hills. It is an extremely tranquil setting, perfect for relaxing and writing, as well as awesome photo opportunities.
My hotel, the Eremo Gaudio is situated high into a hill and from my window, the view of the lake as well as the small medieval village of Varenna is breathtaking. Varenna, which is at the bottom of a steep hillside, has only has 800 people, and is not as commercialized as Bellagio across the lake. It does have a ferry boat dock, from which you can take either passenger ferries or car and passenger ferries to Bellagio, Menaggio, Como and other towns around the lake.
I went into the town and explored a little, quickly finding the main piazza, Piazza San Giorgio, named for one of the four churches in this piazza.
I had a slice of margherita pizza and found the passerella, the stone walkway close to the lake, which offers more beautiful views. I will return here for sure.
The small steep narrow alleys are called contradas, and these are what you take to reach the passerella and restaurants along the lake.
It is a beautiful little town. I checked out the farmacia, and since it was Monday, the small salumeria was closed.
When it started to rain, I went inside the Chiesa San Giorgio, which was beautiful.
Before I went back to my hotel I had some cinnamon gelato for the first time and it was really good.
On the way back, I got some extra exercise as I missed the road going to up the hillside and walked practically to the next village and had to backtrack. It was still raining lightly so I was pretty wet. Within an hour the sun was shining again.
Later, on the recommendation of the hotel, I had dinner in town at Isola Nuova, and then walked back the short way this time. I learned from this same hotel receptionist that in northern Italy, the dinner tine is earlier than in southern Italy, where Italians do not think of eating dinner before 9pm. Here the restaurants serve dinner earlier and do not stay open as long either.