December 16, 2018

UNEXPECTED VISIT TO VILLA D’ESTE

Sometimes, a wrong turn on the road would bring you to an unexpectedly pleasant place. This is what happened while driving from Milan to Bellagio in Lake Como. It was raining hard with low visibility so I missed a turn on the autostrada and ended up inside the small town of Cernobbio with its maze of narrow streets. I passed by a large gate with what looked like a grand mansion inside which piqued my interest so I backed up and parked outside the large grounds of what looked like a sprawling villa. It was Villa D’Este which is considered as one of the top 5-star luxury hotels in Italy…

December 10, 2018

COLOURFUL BURANO

Some 11 kms. north of the Grand Canal in Venice and 45 minutes by vaporetto  (water bus) lies the island of Burano which is inhabited by 3,000 people. The quiet canals that crisscross the whole island is lined by brightly-painted houses that are the main attraction of the place. The vibrant colors made it easier for returning fishermen to find their homes in the thick fog and also marked the boundary of one’s property since houses were built cheek-by-jowl beside each other. Burano is also famous for its hand-stitched lace which used to be a flourishing industry during the 17th century. There are many shops that you can visit where…

August 30, 2018

THE WALK ALONG THE WARTIME TUNNELS OF LAGAZUOI

During the First World War, there was bitter fighting here in this rugged, rocky mountains between the Austrians and Italians. Soon after war was declared, the more inferior Austro-Hungarian troop retreated into this part of the Dolomiti mountains to wage a high-altitude war at almost 3,000 meters. It soon turned into a tunnel war as both sides dug, in abandoning frontal assaults which was useless in the mountains. So the aim was to blast off the enemy from the peaks with the one occupying the higher elevation having the advantage. It must’ve been hellish for the soldiers of both sides who fought not only the enemy but also the cold,…

June 28, 2018

COUNTING SHEEP IN PASSO GIAO

During our exploration of the Italian Dolomites, we stopped for the night in Passo Giao and stayed in one rustic hotel which was located right by the side of the two-lane winding road. The Giao Pass is a high mountain pass with a rocky peak called Nuvolau (2,574 m) which has quite a large pastureland at its foot. Next morning, while having coffee on the balcony admiring the view of the mountain range, I saw this big herd of sheep – a thousand or so – heading up the hill. So I got the camera and rushed outside to catch them feeding on the grass on the slopes. It was…

June 16, 2018

BELLAGIO: THE CROWN JEWEL OF LAKE COMO

Jutting out of a promontory into Lake Como, this place is considered by many to be the most beautiful town in Italy. You will soon agree once you see the quaint scenery around you – the ubiquitous cobblestone streets, the narrow alleys full of surprises and picturesque houses as well as the grand villas around. You have to walk uphill immediately behind the narrow waterfront in order get to the top of the town center where most of the action is. Quite tiring but you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the lake. Besides, you can always stop for a cone of gelato or a cup of espresso and…