Bellagio, Italy, complete tour

Bellagio, Italy, complete tour

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Italy has so many beautiful towns, it's hard to  pick among them and rank the best. But very often,   Bellagio sits on top of that list. Located in the  Lake District in the north of Italy on Lake Como,   it is one of the world's most beautiful  destinations that you would really enjoy visiting.   The poet Shelley called it "the loveliest town  in the world." And Mark Twain described it as a  

"beauty out of heaven itself." It is a picturesque  wonderland, most famous for its staircase streets,   and they lead up to an upper-level shopping  street. So you can go up, across, back down again,   just wander at will. It's a little bit of  effort, but the steps are pretty shallow,   quite easy to climb these steps. You'll find many  scenic places for those all-important selfies.  

It's a small village just 200 meters from one  end to the other. But within that area, there are   many little lanes to go wandering on. Bellagio is  considered one of the most picturesque places in   Italy, often referred to as the "Pearl of Lake  Como," due to its stunning natural beauty and   charming atmosphere. The old town is characterized  by narrow streets and picturesque, winding alleys,   most of them staircases lined with charming  shops, cafes and restaurants. It's a great  

place to wander and explore. The town's layout  is reminiscent of a typical medieval village   with steep and irregularly shaped streets  that climb up the hillside, with the rounded   cobblestone paving that is quite easy to walk on.   The Bellagio waterfront promenade offers stunning   views of Lake Como and is lined with more of  these charming shops, hotels and restaurants.   There are these lovely cafes along the arcades the  Bellagio. You want to sit down and have a snack,   maybe have lunch right here. Here's a great  place to take a break. Adding to the allure,   biology of town is this scenic location and along  the shores of Lake Como, surrounded by mountains.   

You can get here by a boat, and the boat can take  you to other villages around the lake as well. But   certainly you want to spend a lot of time here in  Bellagio. The lakefront promenade through these   porticos is one of the most important streets,  with many shops and restaurants. If Bellagio   was only another typical Italian town with a  pedestrian zone, with pretty pastel colored   buildings, and a flat terrain, it would be  just another picturesque village. However,   with the staircase lanes going up the hill,  it makes it something very special magical,   unique. You do have to put in a little  effort to climb those steps, but it's easy.  

If you cannot climb, there are some streets  that will take you gradually around to the top.   On the map, we see the two main streets, one along  the waterfront and a parallel street inland. We'll   walk along them during the program. But for now, a  quick preview. The porticos along the waterfront,   and the upper lane, Garibaldi, the main street  of town. These two lanes are connected by nine   pedestrian lanes that are mostly staircases.  Salita Serbelloni is the busiest and most   picturesque, so if you only have time or energy  for one staircase, make it this one. And there  

are two more of the main staircase streets Salita  Mella and Monastero, both of them quite lovely to   walk on. That's five main lanes altogether. So if  you don't have enough time in your visit to see   everything, focus on those main streets. However,  you'll find that all of those lanes are a lot of   fun to walk on. If you cannot handle staircases,  then take via Roma for a more gentle route that   will bring you up the hill. And then you could  easily walk down one of those scenic staircases.  

These winding hillside lanes are so beautiful, you  would probably enjoy walking every bit of them,   with a complete route covering about two  kilometers. And the hill is not very steep.    However, to take full advantage of your visit, I  suggest that you walk each of those major lanes   round-trip. Yes. Back and forth, uphill and  downhill. That way you'll have twice as much   fun. And after all the sights that you'll find  along a street always look a little different   when you return back in the opposite direction,  making it a round-trip. If you walk back and  

forth on each staircase, it doubles your distance  to four kilometers or two and a half miles, which   means you could see all of town in about 2 hours  in this wonderfully complete route. In that way,   you are getting the most out of this opportunity  to explore such a magical place. Of course,   you'll want to add in some more time for popping  into the shops and having snacks and then maybe   having lunch, so you can look forward to a  wonderful half-day at least to discover Bellagio.    We are now walking along that upper lane, via  Garibaldi, with those staircases coming up to   it from down by the lakeshore. And this street is  really the longest and most important commercial   street in town. It has the most shops and  restaurants, and it's quite level easy to walk.   From here, you can plunge down any of those little  side lanes back to the lakefront. Let's take a  

stroll down Selita Mella, one of those three main  staircase streets pointed out earlier. And here we   see the upper level, rather than a staircase, it's  a gentle ramp. You've got cobbles on the sides and   nice flagstones in the middle for very secure  footing, with outdoor cafes offering food and   wine. And just ahead, a little shopping alcove  showcasing the boutique, Pierangelo Masciadri,   featuring scarves, ties, accessories with fashion  as a vehicle to transmit cultural messages. There   are a few more shops scattered along Selita Mella,  and some private homes and apartments, some of   which are available for rent on a short-term  basis. And now, towards the bottom of Selita   Mella, we've got steps. It's become that staircase  street, and it's still very easy to walk on with  

excellent cobblestone paving. If we're following  my advice, we could turn around and walk back up   Selita Mella, gaining that reverse perspective,  which we'll do a little bit later. But first   we're heading back down to the promenade along  the lake, and then up the main staircase street.   I imagine there are some timid visitors who  only stay down here at the lake level along the   porticos. They'll take a look up at the staircases  and go, "Oh, no, I'm not climbing that." But one   of the main reasons to come here is to enjoy  these wonderful staircases. When you arrived in  

Bellagio the first staircase street you're going  to see is the biggest and best of all of them,   Salita Serbelloni. If you're only going to walk  one staircase, let this be the one. The town's   layout is reminiscent of a typical medieval  village with steep and irregularly shaped   streets that climb up the hillside. But here it's  somewhat unique with that lakefront setting and   the large number of staircase streets, it makes  a great place to just wander and explore.    The Lake Como area is famous for silk. Production  of silk has a long and storied history in the city   of Como, located nearby on the other side  of the lake. It has been a center of silk  

production since the early Middle Ages, when  Silk was introduced to Europe via the Silk Road   from China. The legend says that silkworms  were smuggled out of China and brought to   the eastern Mediterranean by two merchants who  were disguised as priests. However, it was not   until the 16th century that silk production in  Como began to flourish. The Duke of Milan had  

planted vast amounts of mulberry trees to feed  those hungry worms, and there was abundant lake   water to help in the processing, making Como, the  silk capital of Italy and one of the world's major   producers. Salita Serbelloni is just 125 meters  long, so you'll soon arrive at the top -- a good   place for pictures and a nice view looking back  down the steps. Here we have a typical scene,   with a wine bar on the left and a restaurant  across the street from it, Trattoria San Giacomo,   perched right at the top of the staircase, with  a nice view looking out. The restaurant gets   good ratings in social media and it's very  popular, but they don't take reservations,   so you might have to wait a while, maybe over  at that wine bar, or go in a non-peak time,   or just pick one of the many other restaurants  available. This lady and her dog must be   experienced staircase walkers, otherwise it could  be a bit of a itangle and a trip with that leash.   As we walked down that same Salita Serbelloni in  the opposite direction, we can test my proposal   that streets look different when you're returning  along that same route, and the passing parade of   people is always filled with variety, as you walk  along. For the devoted shoppers, you might want  

to walk up and down the same street several  times to make sure you didn't miss anything.   You might notice the cobblestones are wet after  a brief passing shower, but they're not slippery.   They're so well made, you'll have great traction  even after the rain, with smooth round surfaces,   very comfortable underfoot. You can get to  Bellagio on your own by driving, or from the city   of nearby Como, you could take a boat or a bus.  They each take about 45 minutes with a price under   10 euro. Or you could take a one-hour train ride  from Milan to Varrena on the shores of Lake Como,  

and then a 15-minute ferry ride to Bellagio, as  we'll show you in our other video about Varrena,   another beautiful Lake Como village, but  much smaller than Bellagio. In our case,   we came with my group in a private tour, coming  here on a day trip from Milan with our guide   taking us for an orientation walk. "What we do  now is to make a tour in Bellagio. So follow me   and we make the circle. We are right in front  of the town now. And now I am in the lake.   Oh, no. Sorry. I'm no more in the lake. But until  a couple of centuries ago, here we had the lake.   Because we are right in front of the portico.  You see this long tunnel here? This is the   famous portico of Bellagio. A portico  was the center of the life of the town.  

In the portico, the fishermen, they were  collecting their boats here, the fishing boats,   they were selling the fish to the people, and they  were repairing the nets, the boats and everything.   So they would spend the whole day here. So the  portico is being always the center part of every   town, not just of Bellagio, every single town,  every single village we have on our lakes have   a portico or had the portico. In many towns now  it's disappeared. In Bellagio, it's still there,   but as you can see now is full with shops. But  originally, maybe they had the small rooms where  

they were living, or they had their tools for the  fishing, and so on. Maybe they had the animals.   Donkeys were very popular here, and they  still had cows until about one century ago."    We walked along with our guide from the boat  and bus station area into the town. So these   are some of the first sights you'll see  upon arriving in Bellagio, rows of shops,   with a few hotels and restaurants along the  waterfront promenade. "So as you can see,  

we have steps, many steps, step steps. The people  here live on steps from the cradle to the grave,   we say. And maybe that's one of the reasons why  the people have got this longevity here. People   live longer, or maybe because we drink a  lot of extra virgin olive oil. We put it   everywhere you know." We came across one of  the smaller staircase streets, Salita Grandi,  

not many shops on this one, but there's the Hotel  Bellagio, a boutique property with 30 rooms,   no connection with the giant Hotel Bellagio in  Vegas that has 3500 rooms. And that Vegas property   has no resemblance to the town of Bellagio  whatsoever. At the end of the promenade, you'll   reach the Grand Hotel villa Serbelloni,  one of the most prestigious, historic hotels in   the area and the only five-star luxury hotel in  Bellagio, now celebrating 150 years in business,   first constructed as a private villa in 1850  and converted to hotel in 1873. Just next to it,   you'll find Via Roma, that easier, more gentle  way to walk up the hill mentioned earlier,   bypassing the staircases, and leading up to one of  the main piazzas of town, the Piazza della Chiesa,   with the main church of Bellagio, Basilica  di San Giacomo. "So in the main square we   have the fountain, that was originally the  wall of the town, and now it's the fountain.   You see that it's a church from the 11th century  following this architectural style that's called   Romanesque or Romanico in Italian, or Spanish.  And it's an architectural style that developed  

and spread everywhere in Europe. Of course,  this one has been modified many times during   the centuries. So now you may see inside some  baroque elements. You will see some side altars.   This is a huge church. Why? Because we are in  Bellagio. Bellagio in the 11 century was already   the most important economic and fishing center on  the lake, the most important town on the lake. So   that's why they needed a big church." Because of  the importance of the church and large size of the   open area, this is generally considered the most  important piazza in town, with a medieval tower   on the other side that was once part of Bellagio's  now-disappeared defenses, and at the base of the   tower is a very popular restaurant. People line up  to get in here. The piazza also has a casual cafe,  

and there's a few shops around it and some  vacation rental apartments are also available   right here on the piazza. The town's busiest  commercial street extends out from here, the Via   Giuseppe Garibaldi, extending for 300 meters, with  shops, cafes and restaurants along both sides of   it, on a path with beautiful cobblestone paving  and a level terrain to enjoy a casual stroll.   Notice up in front of us, just ahead of that  dog, there is a little restaurant called "Dai   Viga fresh pasta and," a delightful place to  have lunch -- homemade noodles with friendly   service and an efficient system where you go to  the counter and choose from the different types   of pasta and sauces, all made fresh this day  right in that little kitchen. Place your order,  

then sit down and they will bring it to you  pretty quickly. Mmm. I had the rigatoni Bolognese,   still steaming with express service right from the  kitchen counter. It's a casual, friendly place,   and they also serve wine, beer or a spritz.  You can eat in or take the food away. Open from   11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Another food option right  across the street is this deli-type, traditional   Salumeria. There you'll find all sorts of  cheeses and cold cuts, and beverages to go, hams,   mushrooms, truffles, all in this traditional food  store that's been here for more than 50 years.  

Continuing along via Garibaldi, also called  Il Borgo as the main street of downtown,   with numerous stores and boutiques selling  local merchandise, with apparel and perfumes,   food and leather goods. Beware of the tiny cars  coming at you on this narrow street, and sometimes   you'll notice a little side alley leading into a  courtyard with more shops. This same street name,   Via Garibaldi is found in nearly every town in  Italy because Giuseppe Garibaldi was the great   military leader who unified the country during the  second Italian War of Independence. And in 1859,   Garibaldi's troops actually arrived in Bellagio,  and at that point it became part of the Kingdom   of Italy. We've reached the effective end  of this street, having arrived back at the  

staircase called Salita Serbelloni, which we've  already walked up and down. So at this point   I'm turning around and walking back along the  same via Garibaldi in the opposite direction,   following those suggestions that I had earlier,  that the street will look a little bit different   when you walk back the same way. And it's so  nice, you don't want to just come through here   once and that's the end of it. By this point we  have seen most of town and you might be getting  

a little bit tired after all this walking, like  this dog wants to just take a break. But it's an   easy glide along this smooth paving and we find  ourselves back towards the Piazza della Chiesa.    If you wanted the easy route going back down  the hill without dealing with a staircase,   just keep going through the piazza around  that via Roma where we came up earlier.  

Or maybe you're still tired. Do you  want another break like this dog?   Since we're now on the upper side of town, it  should be quite effortless to pick a lane and   walk downhill. We're going down Selita Monastero,  which has that lovely, smooth cobblestone and   flagstone paving typical of the town. You'll  see it's sometimes a staircase and other times   a gentle ramp, depending on the terrain. About  halfway down Monastero, there is a cross street  

called via Centrale, and this has a few more  restaurants, and it connects over to the adjacent   staircase lanes on both sides, called Centrale  because it's right in the middle of the town.    At one end of this little lane, you'll find  Hotel Centrale, which dates back to 1922 and was   completely restored in 2005 by the same family  that founded it. It has 18 elegantly furnished   guestrooms and a breakfast room and a small  garden. Via Centrale does make a few zigzags as it  

cuts across town, and it actually connects seven  of those staircase streets that run perpendicular   to it. The green line shows the route that you  could take if you really wanted to walk every   one of those staircase streets up, down and around  in a complete exploration of Bellagio. Now we're   continuing our walk down Selita Monastero,  and then we've got one more hill to climb,   up Selita Mella. These have to be some of the  nicest outdoor staircases you've ever seen. They   are so well-made and easy to walk on. There are  no elevators in town and no escalators, so it's   all muscle power. You walk up and down. It's the  challenge and the fun. It's a good feeling when  

you see the bottom of the staircase is not far  away. You're almost back down to ground level.   Some people looking up wondering if they  should make the climb -- go for it.    Connecting through the porticos to get to our  final staircase, climb up Selita Mella, which   we saw briefly earlier. Now we'll climb it to the  top, as we walk along. I'm going to share with you  

a brief summary of the history of the area to put  everything in context. It's such a beautiful place   that it's believed that humans have lived here  from as far back as the Paleolithic 30,000 years   ago. But the first known human settlement was  about 500 B.C., a Celtic tribe, perhaps living   in huts, held up on stilts over the lake, as  was common in this northern Italy Lake district.   Next came the Gauls, and by 200 B.C., the  territory was occupied by the Romans and then   fully absorbed as a Roman province in the year  80 B.C. They brought thousands of fellow Romans   to colonize the area, which became a mixture  of races and cultures. They introduced many  

Mediterranean food crops, including the olive  and chestnut and planted cypress tree forests.   After the Romans, the Barbarians invaded,  and after that the Lombards came in,   settling in what is now Lombardy. Following them,  the Franks arrived in the year 773. We've made it   to the top of Selita Mella at via Garibaldi, and  now we're going back down to the promenade and   stroll through the porticos to finish up our quick  history. Because of Lake Como's strategic location   in the north of Italy, near France, Germany and  Austria, it was a place of contention that was   fought over for many centuries, including invasion  and domination from the nearby city of Como. Then   Milan took over in the 13th century, and during  the 16th century, the Spanish took control and   dominated for more than 100 years. Then came  the brief rule of Napoleon, and years later,  

the arrival of Garibaldi to unite Bellagio with  the Kingdom of Italy in 1859. Throughout the   centuries, Bellagio's culture and economy actually  thrived, with its ideal location giving it a   military and strategic importance, and various  industries flourished, notably candle-making and   silk weaving. The romantic discovery of landscape  was changing how the Italian lakes were seen.    Stendhal wrote "The sky is pure, the air mild, a  land beloved of the gods. I lift my gaze to the   most beautiful view in the world." In the early  19th-century, the noble families of Milan began   constructing elegant villas and gardens. Luxury  shops opened in the village and tourists began  

arriving. The golden age of tourism had begun.  Bellagio Hotel was the first to open in 1825,   and several more splendid hotels sprang up in a  short time, many of which are still open today   run by the founding families, such as Hotel  du Lac, Hotel de la Grande Britannia and that   Grand Hotel villa Serbelloni. Today, there are  more than a dozen hotels operating here and many   more vacation rentals. Our visit to Bellagio  is coming to an end. It's time to get on board   and continue our journey. We're going to be  crossing Lake Como, heading over to Varrena,  

in another video. These ferryboats are a  wonderful way to get around the lake and not   expensive. It's so easy to travel this way. You  can purchase your ticket right on the dock before   departure. You'll have a grand view looking back  at the town with that sweet sorrow of departing,   knowing that you have experienced such an  incredibly magical and wonderful place.   There is nothing exactly like Bellagio in the  entire world. We'll share more explorations of  

the Italian lakes in our other videos, be sure  to tune in. We frequently upload new movies,   so please subscribe to our channel and click that  little alarm bell so you'll be notified. And if   you enjoyed the movie, how about a thumbs up?  And we always welcome comments down below. Or  

if you have questions about the destination, make  note and we'll answer them. Thanks for watching.

2023-04-30 06:19

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