James Bond's Italy: Lake Como
During my two week Northern Italy adventure, I spent several nights in Lake Como. This was easily one of my favorite places. I had the gist of Como... but wasn't aware I would fall in love with it so much! Lake Como is known for classy, tasteful, European opulence, and majestic mountains along the Swiss Alps that plunge straight into the water. I was hoping I might spot some James Bond set locations, and if I was extra lucky I might see the handsome, George Clooney gallivanting around. Well... my husband and I DID spot a villa from Casino Royale... and we did eat dinner at a couple restaurants George and Amal Clooney are known to hang out... but unfortunately no Ocean's Eleven sighting! If you're interested in the ins and outs from an American travel writer's perspective, click on this link.
I would postiviely recommend eating dinner, or at least having a cocktail, coffee, or tea at Villa d'esme. Sitting there having my tea (it would have been a dirty martini-extra dirty if I wasn't pregnant) I felt like a princess merely by being there! Click on this link to see what I mean... and I need not say more! You also ought to consider dining at Il Gato Nero. This is another spot the Clooney's are known to frequent. I had the most delicious onion soup to start, followed by scallops with pine nut cream. The server brings your own personal bread basket with about a half dozen choices (good bread is my weakness... more than chocolate cake for sure!). in Cernobbio describes itself like this: "The Gatto Nero restaurant, with its wonderful view over lake Como, is located along the road that leads up towards Monte Bisbino, perched over the lake in a position that affords our dinners an unparalled panorama of the local scenery. Ideal for romantic encounters, as well as business and group dinners. The Gatto Nero restaurant is a popular destination for visiting celebrities, including George Clooney and other well-known Hollywood stars, Italian and international politicians, world-famous sportsmen and women, in addition to a large, local clientele."
After wandering around Como for a day or two... shopping, eating pasta and gelato, and seeing the sites like the Gothic Como Cathedral, my husband and I took a ferry to Bellagio, which is sometimes called Europe's prettiest town. We had lunch at an elegant outdoor eatery, Bilacus Ristorante, and explored the famous gardens of the Villa Melzi. Bellagio was incredible- but I must say the ferry ride out there was equally as tantalizing! We opted to take the slow ferry out, and the fast ferry back. This was a great way to see all the sites... including Casino Royale's, Villa del Balbianello! According to JamesBondLifestyle.com, "Villa del Balbianello is located next to Lake Como, Italy. In the spring of 2006, the movie Casino Royale was filmed in front of the villa. The villa doubles as a hospital where James Bond (Daniel Craig) is recovering, together with Vesper (Eva Green) and where the Swiss banker comes to get the code to transfer the money."