Como, my Italian happy place

December 1, 2018

Left Cernobbio in winter on the lake; middle Brunate in spring; right window art that called our souls in Como center.

 

 

Como is, geographically, my happy place. Thirty minutes by train from our home, I regularly go there for a breath of air. Italian air. Sometimes I only go as far as Cernobbio, a pre-grocery shopping treat. Directly to Como the train is convenient, and I love to park at Villa Olmo and walk along the lake into the city center.

The walk from Villa Olmo, top, to the city center is populated with my favorite tree right; beautiful lakeside view middle; and a seaplane port bottom​.

 

 

The coffee is a big draw too. In fact, the majority of the time I enjoy in Como centers around eating and drinking. Over the years I have created a few routines for my Como excursions and while I am constantly on the lookout for new places to eat, drink, and shop – my special favorites are listed here.

 

Sipping coffee by the lake may be tempting, I gravitate to my preferred place any time of year, Luisita. Inside this place still offers the old fashioned atmosphere and friendly service that many call “the Italy of la dolce vita”. Just across the street is my favorite bakery Beretta. Even before I have a coffee, I go to Beretta and purchase fresh bread, torta salata (Italian style quiche), in season Halloween cookies, chestnut cake, and whatever else catches my fancy leaving it all there while I have my walk about.

 

 Bunny with her coffee and crumbs of a finished pastry from Luisita.

 

 

When I take the train, just along the way to the city center is the Posta Design Hotel, a recent find, this place has a lovely terrace on the Piazza Volta in the good weather and the café inside on fall and winter days is a treat as well. Coffee is wonderful and their pastries are tasty too. Despite being a hotel, each time I am there (especially inside) it is filled with locals. I often write in this café surrounded by Italians. This is one of the reasons I come to Como, even though it is a seriously tourist town, people still live here. This may sound odd, and just visit the magic of Venice or the center of Florence and my meaning will become clear.

 

A few times Bunny and I have enjoyed Como with one of  our Fairy Godmothers, Elisabeth, world traveling friend, who will feature as a guest blogger. On occasion we enjoy the  creative bistro Pane e Tulipani, perfect for a coffee, a sweet treat, an apero, and the occasional ladies lunch. Elisabeth as well shared one of her local favorites, LÁngolo del Silenzio. A seriously old-fashioned place filled with Italians, especially weekends at lunch.

 

On my last visit there with Elisabeth, we shared a terrine of foie gras with brioche bread as a starter, followed by the best elephants ear (orecchio degli elefanti) I have ever eaten. This spectacular little gem of a restaurant is a precious reminder of the best of Italy. Tucked away just outside the city center, it is worth wandering a bit astray.

Center Elisabeth and Bunny at Pane & Tulipani; top left elephants ear at Angolo d’Silenzio; middle entrance to our favorite clothing shop gianoli and me trying on one of their original creations.

 

My go to place in Como for lunch or dinner, anytime of the year, is Numero Nove. For special occasions, once for our meeting anniversary with Claudio; alone with a book, or with a friend, this is the place I enjoy bubbles, their style of focaccia served with walnuts, pizza, and any plate that catches my fancy. Their garden is like a fairytale and inside is as well warm and cozy. Once I was walking down the street on my own in Como and learned that my dear friend Diana had just married, I went to Numernove and had bubbles for lunch in her honor. Most recently we were also there with Elisabeth.

Numeronove center with Bearli & Bunny gazing on at our anniversary lunch; top left Claudio is wowed with his Milanese; below Elisabeth shares her opinions over our lunch; bottom features our dishes; left corner the ceiling inside the refurbished old building which is Numeronove.

 

 

The most touristic place I enjoy in Como is da Pietro. At this writing it is managed by a cosmopolitan hipster named Nathan. With English, German, and Italian roots, this ginger haired young man has turned this café in front of the Duomo into something worth visiting for more than the view. Service can be spotty, and the dishes are not a value AND the view, the menu, and the ambiance are all worth it.

Enjoying a birthday meal midday in the shade of a warm day with Bunny center, bottom right gazing at the Duomo in the cold December air while the lights dance off the Duomo in early evening with a glass of fizz, all other photos views of the Duomo on random days when I’ve enjoyed at daPietro.

 

 

Marie Jeanne is one of the finest cooks I have ever met and sharing a meal with her is always a heavenly experience, in her home or out. When she suggests a place, I am ready to go. For a special occasion, something like celebrating the joy to be alive, we splashed out for dinner at a chic place just outside the city center in Como, The Market Place.

Center Mariejeanne and I enjoying cocktails at Vespers, bottom left me with my exotic cocktail all to to start Mariejeanne’s birthday celebration. All other photos are creative dishes from The Marketplace.

 

A seasonal favorite, a short scenic ride up the funiculore, the Belvedere in Brunate. Just as the season began I shared this place with two fellow adventurers, Angela and Francesca. The entire journey, to Como, up the funicuore, the lunch itself, the view, and especially the company were a day full of joyous miracles.

A dazzling day in Como, center Angela, Francesca, and I strike a post over lake Como; top left Francesca and I on the funicular up; middle left fennel and orange salad with fresh cheese; bottom left mouthwatering lard with walnuts, pomegranates, and local honey; bottom middle Francesca & Angela always lovely; bottom right toasting the view and the miracle of our day.

 

 

Always more to come on the Como front. Watch this space, meanwhile, go enjoy Como!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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