One of the most important places of the original Grand Tour with its collection of Art and its fascinating romantic garden was Villa Carlotta – a place where masterpieces of nature and art live in perfect harmony. The beautiful Villa was built at the end of the 17th century. The 70,000 square metres of gardens and Museum lie in a natural basin between mountains and lake; between the dolomitic Grignas and the peninsula of Bellagio. After catching the bus into Bellagio, I purchased a ticket for the 11:40 ferry to take me across the lake to the landing at Villa Carlotta. Suddenly the weather changed and down came the rain in sheets. I made my way, along with a few others, to the ticket office and was instantly in a beautiful garden with no shelter other than my umbrella and natural beauty crying out to have its photograph taken. What a dilemma! I did my best under the circumstances but forgot to take one on my ‘phone so I have cheated. After climbing many slippery cobbled steps, I was inside the Villa where photos are not allowed, but I took the opportunity to photograph the garden from the windows. It was amazing to wander in such a magnificent place and encounter no more than six other tourists as the end of the tourist season is fast approaching and many places close for the Winter months. Although the gardens are best appreciated in the Spring when azaleas and rhododendrons flourish and put on a dazzling display, Autumn captures its own beauty. The rain did not cease at any stage and water was pouring down the steps and flooding the paths and I had a ten minute walk to the Ferry at Cadenabbia. I don’t remember ever being so wet. On reaching the waiting room I was dripping from head to toe. My feet were squelching in my shoes and my back pack was wet through. Thankfully my Rainbird jacket had done its job well and I had everything important in inside pockets. This was an excursion that I won’t forget in a hurry. I returned to Bellagio on a Car Ferry and was soon enjoying a very welcome cup of coffee before catching the bus back to the apartment in Visgnola.




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