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Northern ITALY 9/22, part 8 #290039
10/27/2022 06:08 AM
10/27/2022 06:08 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
B
BEERMAN Offline OP
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BEERMAN  Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
Northern Italy 2022, (September 3-14)


Today is bittersweet, Guarene and the many towns around it deserve much more time, sad to leave. However, we did pack a lot into our 3 night stay , especially memories. As I mentioned before my wine knowledge is fairly limited, but certainly was enhanced greatly during our visit here. We've enjoyed Piemonte wines many times before but never really appreciated them the way we do now. The Nebbiolo grape, it's a wonderful gift and at least at this moment, is our favorite grape! No disrespect to Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir or Sangiovese, we'll always stay friends!

Sunrise would not disappoint, but would this gorgeous weather continue? I went to the kitchen early to start my wife's kettle for tea and made coffee. The ladies joined me earlier than usual and we enjoyed some time in Luisa's Smiles magical garden.


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Our check out time was 11am and packing didn't take much time. We usually would see the owners on their balcony around 10am, unfortunately not this morning, so I wrote them a thank you note and left it on a table. We had time to take a morning walk in a direction we had yet taken, it's so calm and peaceful walking here. As we returned to grab our bags we see the owners Flaminia and Dario walking out of church, ciao!!. They had a friend with them who spoke a little English and translated how wonderful a time we had in their lovely home, wishing we could communicate better with these very nice people! We loaded up the car and unfortunately had to leave the key inside when we closed the door one last time and said goodbye to Luisa.


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We had to stop in at Mira Langhe. Over late night Genepi and Vermouth I kept asking who was the "Mayor" or "Head Goat" and everyone always pointed at each other laughing. As we said our goodbyes in walks an older man and Chiara leans to me and says "here comes the Mayor"... Annalisa's father!! He was as warm and gracious as his family and certainly deserving of the title. Maurizio asks my daughter what year she was born then disappears, he returns with a bottle of wine. Looking perplexed and shaking his head he puts the bottle down and opens a large cabinet, reaching high up he retrieves a 1974 Gaja Barbaresco , dusting it off he hands it to my daughter. I say that's way too generous and they reply it probably wasn't stored properly but wanted us to display it in our cave. We are absolutely floored. After thank you I said now I have to construct a cave! We exchanged contact info in case they ever made it across the pond, hope they do. We are already talking about a return visit to lovely Guarene! The entire Mira Langhe gang joined us for a photo and gave me permission to post. Here is our extended Guarene family!


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Waving "until we meet again" I stopped in the bakery and grabbed some warm focaccia for the drive. We were heading to Nesso on Lake Lure, we laughed saying this focaccia is so damn good! We didn't go the most direct route, instead choosing to avoid Milano and drove due north. The snow capped Alps were so close it was tempting to find a little town at its base, but opted for a break in Sesto Calenda on the southern most shore of beautiful Lake Maggiore. Took 1.5 hours to get here. We've stayed in Stresa before and this lake was one of our home base options. It was a fairly quick stop for pizza and to stretch our legs a bit on the busy waterfront. Sesto Calenda had a modern feel with a little old charm mixed in, homes and communities we saw had a familiar suburb feel.


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We texted our greeter and told her we would arrive around 3pm. Remember when travel required you to find a pay phone?! The hour drive to Como was easy. From Como it was another 20 minutes to Nesso. The road along the picturesque lake is very narrow in sections. It was a Sunday and there was a lot of traffic, especially outbound at 2:30pm. Now, I am not a timid driver, I actually trained at a few US racing schools, including Formula. My concern is always the other driver and many were overdriving the conditions. On a tight turn we actually struck side mirrors with another car! I was as far right as possible, my daughter saw a stone wall inches from her passenger door! I understood that an F1 race was running today at Autodromo Monza, but I didn't appreciate the wanna be Max Verstappen's we encountered!


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Safely in Nesso we met our greeter in our convenient parking space near Chiesa Senti Pietro e Paolo. FYI the mirror survived. She said traffic would lessen on Monday, thank goodness! We grabbed our bags and strolled the beautiful narrow stone walkways down to Villa Lombardi. Arriving at the entrance we knew we found what we were looking for. Once through the main entrance we were taken back by the incredible views.


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With the sound of old vintage hardware creaking we entered the front/side door. Oh my, we just walked into old world luxury. Very tall ceilings with exposed beams, glorious light filled the rooms through huge stained glass windows. The main level contained a large living room, large master, two smaller bedrooms and 2 baths. Before I forget, the 2 small bedrooms are small, great for a family but couples looking for equal bedrooms would not be satisfied. Our daughter spent the first night in a small back bedroom then switched to the pull out sofa in the spacious great room, said it was way more comfortable there.


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Down a flight of internal stairs, watch your head! is the amazing kitchen with dining area, very well equipped. There's a kitchen door that leads out to the 4 amazing terraced gardens. The main terrace includes table/chairs, grill and a separate convenient building on the far end with bathroom and laundry room.


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Continued walking down the outside stone walkways and you have access to a pier, boathouse and a door to the Piazza Vecchia, a small local swimming area that we would certainly take advantage of. Greeter walked us back to the pier and said her ride was waiting, they motored in to grab her bag and handed me a cold birra!! We were told that the lake is about 4 feet lower than normal due to this summer's historic drought. She also told us the depth on the edge is about 80 meters and said it's easier to just jump in and swim to the boat, ciao SPLASH! What a great job!!


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This property is absolutely beautiful. The ladies wanted our final villa to be a place we could just chill out and not be on the move so much, well they found the right place! I had researched great hiking trails around the lake, one was just up the hill behind us, but that activity will have to wait for another trip. After familiarizing ourselves with our beautiful surroundings we walked up the hill to see what we could see. The town of Nesso is.... TINY! There is a small grocery 2 minutes away that had enough to get by including wine, which we brought plenty! Their hours are kinda hit or miss, if you miss come back in an hour and it's open. There are also 2 bars and one restaurant within a 10 minute walk. At the top of the well worn cobble stone walkway we made a dinner reservation at the Tre Rose for 8:30 then grabbed some birra and headed back down.


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As I took some picks near a villa a gentleman pokes his head through a gate and says ciao! waving us in? Back home I don't think I'd enter the gate ha! His wife was having wine on their incredible terrace and they spoke very very little English . I said we were staying at Villa Lombardi and he replied "si, Lombardi amico!", sort of figured out our owner was diving in Corsica? We toured their amazing garden with large cypress, boxwoods and ornate statues while he pointed out things. I had trouble tracking most of what he was saying but we enjoyed trying to figure it out! His wife sat quietly smiling when we said we needed to get ready for dinner...strange encounter, but not uncomfortable. I must learn a little Italian. We laughed on our way to the villa, wondering why is everyone we're meeting so nice and generous? Back in our private little slice of paradise we opened a bottle and watched the sun disappear.


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The sun drops early and quickly behind the steep mountain across the lake, however there's still an hour or so of twilight that offered us a pleasant walk back up the hill for dinner. The Hotel Tre Rose has a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Our outdoor table with views of the lake was perfect, felt great to be here. We were starving and ordered 2 appetizers, grilled vegetables and caprese salad, delicious HUGE portions!


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Limited English spoken here as well, but the menu was straight forward. Surprising we hadn't had a lot of pasta up to this point, just small apps. We each ordered different pasta dishes, mine was "lake fish ragu", my first ever fish ragu was excellent. The food was generous, hearty , tasty and exactly what we needed. Service was extremely good and fast considering the waiter had to cross the road to access the kitchen.


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We had gotten used to 3 hour dinner events, I think we were walking down the path in half that time, which was perfect because we were tired. One thing that I really enjoy about travel is not wanting or even thinking about turning on a TV. This villa does not have a/c and I was concerned about that from the moment we booked, the ladies don't require a/c. It actually wasn't needed at this time of year, night temps were in the low 60's and with the large windows open it was very comfortable, no mosquitoes! We went to bed happy, thinking about what this place will look like at sunrise. Ciao!


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Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, part 8 [Re: BEERMAN] #290046
10/27/2022 09:08 AM
10/27/2022 09:08 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline
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TomB  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
Quote
The Nebbiolo grape, it's a wonderful gift and at least at this moment, is our favorite grape! No disrespect to Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir or Sangiovese, we'll always stay friends!


Welcome to the wonderful of wine! The libation has a magical characteristic in that it will stimulate memories of time and place.
You will have a glass of Pommard one day and have flashbacks to a wonderful bike ride through the vineyards of Beaune.
Long meals, quality time with family and friends... of course with food, a bottle of Barolo is sure to appear.

Great stories and pictures.

Got home late last night... I need to start typing... siempre mañana


“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, part 8 [Re: BEERMAN] #290047
10/27/2022 09:44 AM
10/27/2022 09:44 AM
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 209
Maryland
S
ScottW Offline
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ScottW  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 209
Maryland
As usual, your reports and pictures are fabulous. I've never been to Italy. You have certainly provided an incentive to go.
Scott

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, part 8 [Re: BEERMAN] #290055
10/27/2022 12:10 PM
10/27/2022 12:10 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 82,933
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 82,933
Central Florida!
What beautiful pictures and beautiful memories! You are much more courageous than I am, so really enjoying the tales of your trip!


Carol Hill
Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, part 8 [Re: Carol_Hill] #290063
10/27/2022 06:21 PM
10/27/2022 06:21 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
B
BEERMAN Offline OP
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BEERMAN  Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
Tom, your trip looked amazing, even the bruises added to the story! Hope you healed quickly. I always enjoyed a "little" red wine, but I'm appreciating it more especially with advice and information from you, thanks again for the wine links you sent us before our trip. FYI, we are having friends over for pasta making night tomorrow, Barbaresco and Barolo will make the scene!

ScottW....GO! I'm not sure of all your travels, but I know you enjoy SXM and the BVI's. There's a place we have yet to venture to and that's Sardinia, has Caribbean feel times 10. My daughter discovered in her DNA that we are connected, We actually almost caught an hour flight there this trip from Milan, less than $100 from there. Glad we didn't because it's going to be in a southern Italy experience sooner than later. I don't think the south can disappoint, but Northern Italy has us hooked right now.

Carol "Courageous" really. You always say you can't do this type of travel, I say yes you can! You manage to go to SXM every year, an extra couple of hours on a plane and you are somewhere in Europe. For you, I suggest flying into Paris and spend a couple days enjoying the incredible city then hop a quick flight to beautiful Nice, stay near the beach, walk the flat promenade at sunset, enjoy the food!!!! You know you want to!

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, part 8 [Re: BEERMAN] #290064
10/27/2022 07:34 PM
10/27/2022 07:34 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 82,933
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 82,933
Central Florida!
Beerman--my challenges are physical, in terms of walking, etc.. I would love to go to France, yes...


Carol Hill
Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, part 8 [Re: BEERMAN] #290069
10/27/2022 09:26 PM
10/27/2022 09:26 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline
Traveler
TomB  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
Hate to see this adventure come to and end...
great job 👏 again 😊!!!!


Last edited by TomB; 10/27/2022 09:31 PM.

“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, part 8 [Re: BEERMAN] #290072
10/28/2022 08:37 AM
10/28/2022 08:37 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 4,006
U.K. and Spain
Jeannius Offline
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Jeannius  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 4,006
U.K. and Spain
Just love Lake Como and the surrounding towns. If you make it to southern Italy, try and get across to Lipari ( https://www.italyheaven.co.uk/sicily/aeolian-islands/lipari.html ) I just spent one night there this year on a sailing delivery from Spain to Turkey. The Aeolian islands are magnificent although I suspect I'd need to take out a second mortgage to be able to afford a proper stay there. yikes

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, part 8 [Re: Jeannius] #290076
10/28/2022 09:08 AM
10/28/2022 09:08 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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BEERMAN  Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
Next Lake Como report in progress. We haven't decided on where in the south yet, but Sardinia is currently on top of list. Lipiri looks amazing!

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, part 8 [Re: BEERMAN] #290086
10/28/2022 12:44 PM
10/28/2022 12:44 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,989
Connecticut
The_Lurker Offline
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The_Lurker  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,989
Connecticut
We love all of Italy and are enjoying your reports and Pictures!!!

My first trip was at 10 years old, for the summer, and were based in Jelsi, Campobasso,
where my father was born.
Then, you could really say, "off the beaten track" !! LOL

Hopefully we will make it back soon.

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, part 8 [Re: BEERMAN] #290117
10/29/2022 12:58 PM
10/29/2022 12:58 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,614
originally Long Island, NY/now...
irish1223 Offline
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irish1223  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,614
originally Long Island, NY/now...
I am absolutely loving your reports and your photos. Lake Como! My favorite place on earth. love Fell in love with Italy and Lake Como during our visit in 2019. We are going back for our second trip there in May 2023 and I simply cannot wait. Friendly people, wonderful food, and some of the most beautiful scenery. Looking forward to your next installment.


Robin & Ed

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. - Henry Miller

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, part 8 [Re: Carol_Hill] #290118
10/29/2022 01:01 PM
10/29/2022 01:01 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,614
originally Long Island, NY/now...
irish1223 Offline
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irish1223  Offline
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Posts: 1,614
originally Long Island, NY/now...
Carol, I agree with Beerman. If you can do SXM, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with Paris or Nice. I adore Paris, such an amazing city. Everyone should visit at least once in a lifetime. I think you’d love it.


Robin & Ed

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. - Henry Miller

Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, part 8 [Re: irish1223] #290119
10/29/2022 01:13 PM
10/29/2022 01:13 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 82,933
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 82,933
Central Florida!
irish--I should look into it more, thanks.


Carol Hill
Re: Northern ITALY 9/22, part 8 [Re: BEERMAN] #290141
10/30/2022 01:14 AM
10/30/2022 01:14 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,493
VIRGINIA
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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BEERMAN  Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2011
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VIRGINIA
Lurker.....Jelsi, Campobasso, I've never heard of it and googled! TINY, which in my opinion is good! It does seem to be off the beaten path, but how cool to visit your fathers birthplace!! must be a great story there....

Irish, Italy has a way of grabbing you! We've been to other beautiful places, but each trip to Italy there just seems to be something different, I think it's mostly the people we've met there. I've never been to a place where I've felt more welcome.

Just walked home from a neighbors Halloween costume party, many friends asking about our trip and seemed very interested, hopefully I'll have energy to post the next report tomorrow or is it today ha?!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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