Villa Monastero, Varenna, Lake Como, Italy

Ciao from Varenna! We’ve been here for a week and it’s been quite the change after being in Rome for six weeks. We are staying in an incredible Airbnb in Fiumelatte, just outside of Varenna. It’s up the mountain a bit so it has incredible views. The trade off is that the wifi isn’t great. It works, but uploading photos gets a little annoying, so most of the posts will have to wait until we get to Milan next week.

I also finished the first draft of my novel, Letting You Go, our last day in Rome, so I’ve had plenty of time to start the first round of edits.

We have found some time to be tourists, and the first thing on our list was Villa Monastero. It’s the result of the transformation of an ancient Cistercian women’s monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary, built at the end of the 12th century. It’s passed through many owners but was donated to the state n 1939, with an obligation to preserve it and use it for public benefit.

The botanical gardens were the only part open the day went, as they are doing renovations throughout the estate. But the gardens were what we wanted to see anyway.

The gardens run along Lake Como, on a thin strip of land between the lake and the road above it. Everywhere you look is magnificent. The views, the trees, the flowers, the sculptures, they are all worth going just to see.

Villa Monastero is definitely a must-do visit when in Lake Como!