We arrived in Milan on United via Newark on time or near to it and we were easily able to figure out how to get to the airport’s rail station and take the train from Milan MXP to Milan Centrale. The journey takes about 45mins and stops at several stations along the way to pick up locals heading into Milan, as Centrale is the end station for the airport train.
Café Recommendation: Mignon – Eccellense Napoletane, in Centrale.
This is a wonderful café inside the station, and locals had lines out the door of the café. Great for people watching, and they have delightful coffee, tea, pastries and sandwiches to choose from. We enjoyed a light lunch here and were extremely pleased with it, and we are foodies. I do not always remember everywhere we snack and eat at when on trips. But when something sticks out to me, I will never forget it.
We then caught the TreNord out of Centrale on the Lake Como eastern route. Which travels up the lakes eastern coast before heading up into the outer Italian Alps and ends its journey in Tirano. We got off at Varenna Esino a very small station, but with easy taxi access right off the station to anywhere in the area. Our hotel was within walking distance of the station, but with luggage in tow, we opted for a quick 5min taxi to the hotel. We arranged with our taxi driver to meet us again the next morning for pickup at the hotel and she was there for us exactly as expected the next morning.
Hotel: Villa Cipressi, Varenna – 4 Star Superior Boutique Semi Luxury - 1 Night
What a charming little hotel villa, with beautiful gardens and terrace overlooking the lakefront.
They do not have a pool. The hotel is renowned for holding destination weddings and celebrations. The location is perfect and lake view rooms are available at the hotel. We were assigned a duplex lakeview room. Though we really did not get any use of the upper level of our duplex during our stay. It was nice and featured a sofa (bed), and table and two chairs and looked down on the main level of the room. Usually in duplex like these the bedroom is on 2nd floor. Which I do not like, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the bedroom and bathroom on the main level. Our room had a clear frontal view of the lake and had modern amenities & comforts. The hotel has a small spa, and a nice restaurant and bar, with access off the bar to the garden terrace. The hotel offers Classic Rooms, Lake View Rooms and a few suites and private apartments. You can expect in season prices for lake view rooms to be around 350-400 Euro p/night. The hotel is within easy walking distance to everything in town in just minutes.
Varenna is a lovely little quiet village on Lake Como’s eastern shores. It is as far north as Bellagio and looking across the lake from the promenade, you can see Bellagio and Tremezzo. It is also on the ferry line that runs the route of Bellagio/Varenna/Tremezzo. Giving clientele easy inexpensive access to these towns all day long. With our time very short on Lake Como, we pre-arranged for a private water taxi service. The driver was right on time and met us just down by the water near the Villa Cipressi. We enjoyed a wonderful half day private service which really helped us live it up on Lake Como for an afternoon. We enjoyed our afternoon visiting Bellagio at leisure, Tremezzo, Lenno and we even stop to walk in the gardens of the famous Villa del Balbianello. This is the villa where Daniel Craig and Eva Green recovered on the James Bond film Casino Royale. We walked and visited those same gardens, views and terraces as they did. A phenomenal stop on Lake Como if your clients have the time. Entry onto the villa’s ground is not free though, just be aware.
Osteria Quatro Pass, Varenna: https://quattropass.com/
Being the foodies we are, we see to it we dine at the best places if we can. We requested and got in for dinner at this very popular Osteria in Varenna. We dined on a fish mixed antipasti platter, lobster and veal pasta. When it was all said and done, we were very happy with our choice of establishment and loved the food, wine and local atmosphere Quatro Pass exudes. A very small spot, and very difficult to get into without a reservation on any night. It can be a bit loud as tables are close together and we always found ourselves talking with others on either side of us. Speaking to a nice couple who were in Varenna for a week from London and informed us it was their 3rd time enjoying Quatro Pass while on this trip and they would come back again and again if they could.