Lake Como in Northern Italy's Lombardy region is set against the foothills of the Alps, and has some of the most beautiful scenery in Italy.
It's been 20 years since I was there, and all I can say is that it still is truly one of the most magical places on earth.
When Jeanne Oliver and Renee Mueller gave me the nudge to sign up for a Lake Como retreat that Daune from Cottage Table Experience was organizing - it didn't take me long to say - Yes, Please!
Instead of an "art" retreat like I am used to attending, this one was all about exploring the towns, culture, art, and all the richness this area has to offer! It was one of the BEST decisions I made to go on this trip.
During these next few blog posts, I'll share some of the highlights from Lake Como as I hope you add this place to your travel bucket list! It is worth it, and I can't wait to go back.
Daune picked out the most gorgeous place for 20 of us to stay for the week - Villa Camilla near Menaggio, an incredible villa overlooking the lake and the mountains. First-class accommodations, private boat drivers, house chef, beautiful botanical grounds and heated pool, cleaning service and I could go on and on! Check out the link at the bottom of this post to see a quick YouTube video on this villa (I didn't shoot it - it's a fancy one, haha).
A little internet research "The Villa was built in the nineteenth century and is still exclusively managed by the same noble family, the Marchesi di Rozzano. The surrounding English garden, which was designed in the mid-nineteenth century, features many ancient trees such as cork oaks, redwood pines, cedars, Japanese bamboo, acers and Chilean monkey-puzzle trees."
But the best? The elegant pink room Renee and I stayed in had a veranda on either side, which had THE MOST INCREDIBLE VIEWS.
Sketching, journaling, sipping tea, drinking wine, laughing, and dreaming new ideas all happened here. I think we pinched ourselves a few times a day! Out of the ten bedrooms (which were all gorgeous), I think we got the best one!
When we arrived at the Villa we were welcomed to a long table dinner cooked by a local chef with all the courses of yumminess and conversation, stories, and laughs. A perfect way to start a week-long experience together. Daune is known for her long table dinners - "We seek to intentionally savor meals, moments, and people wherever we find ourselves."
May was the perfect time to visit Lake Como. The rambling roses and the sweet scent of jasmine climbing up the walls were incredible. The weather all week was in the 80's, sunny and no rain! Thank you Universe!The hidden alleys, beautiful flowers, cobblestone paths, color everywhere, delicious food, and did I mention our private boats with handsome drivers to get us to and fro?
I am still trying to process how extraordinary this Italy trip was for me, and my mind is swirling with new memories and inspiration. In fact the minute I got home my latest class, Bella Flora, was created. She poured out of me like no other painting I've ever made. I spent most of the time looking at my hands, wondering who actually was painting her?
Here are few amazing links for you to check out too:
Also, if you want to read Jeanne's beautiful blog post on her highlights from the week we spent in Lake Como. It made me cry - it's so wonderfully written.
Villa Camilla - a short YouTube video on this beautiful villa
Daune's has a Free Long Table Class which is so great for getting inspired to set up your long table dinner at home!
Bella Flora class - open for early registration pricing!