After the sexy excesses of Milan, where could I go but up? Lake Como is the shimmering jewel of the Italian lakes district, and the Swiss Alps rise majestically on the horizon, like Claudia Cardinale reclining in a blue satin dress. If Milan is where the rich people work, in Como they play. And they’ve brought some interesting friends along the way. Winston Churchill, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears and George Lucas do not often get mentioned in the same sentence. Which is a surprise, really, since they have all at one time lived on Lago di Como, along with a list of fellow celebrities too long to recall.
Como’s favourite adopted son is, however, a certain Mr. George Clooney. Visit Bellagio, the poshest town on the lake, and everything has been Clooneyfied, with most bars claiming him as their number one customer. Which either makes them all liars, or Clooney a heavy drinker. One bar had even framed Clooney’s official letter of apology to Bellagio because of all the additional interest he had brought to the area, particularly when he invited Matt Damon and his pals to stay during the filming of Ocean’s Twelve. As if there was any additional interest Matt Damon could add to one of the most beautiful lakes in the world…
I didn’t see a single celebrity in Bellagio, but I did love Como. Despite its posh “I think I spotted Natalie Portman” reputation, it still retains (in Como Town itself) a cheerful student crowd, that reminded me more of home than any place I had been in a while, and when the weather was fine, the lake dazzled like … oh, did I mention Claudia Cardinale?