WP blogger Krista says ~ write a post inspired by a response to the “Threes” photo challenge or based on three photos you supply.


Bellagio, Italy ~ si tratta di una fantasia dolce.

It’s a sweet fantasy.

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In Bellagio, the lights of Villa Serbelloni shimmer on the surface of Lake Como, turning it into a theater of the sky. A waltz plays. Laughter from the terrace sweeps across the water. Napoleon, Liszt, Roosevelt, and Valentino once gazed at the sunset and wandered in these gardens where I stand. Isadora Duncan fingered the heavy velvet drapes. Susan Sontag relaxed with the Herald-Tribune.  Counts, stars, and heiresses walked on the Persian carpets; Mussolini burned the floors for firewood. Today a cherry-red Ferrari waits for a tow truck near the statue of Pan.

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Hordes of tourists barrel down the streets of Bellaggio and art lovers stand cheek-by-jowl at Villa Carlotta.  But just a stone’s throw from the crowded ferries and busy roads is a trail that begins in Cadenabbia, a village of mosaics and chapels. Sheltered by trees and marked by a slender bell tower, bouquets of chestnut and wild cherries linger on its stony parapets and marbled stairs. The waters of Lake Como ring with the floating bells of fishermens’ nets.  Sweeping up from the shore, the trail leads to a mountain church glued to the hill and the voice of the goat woman echoes near the Stelvio Pass.

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The alpine path leads to an ancient Roman fortress of the Middle Ages. Castello di Vezio, a group of stony houses home to twenty families, perhaps fifty people, who live in the restored buildings first occupied by the Etruscans.  An hour’s steep climb from Varenna, the hamlet of Vescia hides its past near the trail to the castle. In the fourteenth century, falconers and winemakers labored inside the embattled tower walls and in underground passages. Locals tell me that Queen Teoldolinda, who wore an iron crown of jewels embedded with a nail from Christ’s cross, slept here.  Now, it’s an osteria where a mother and daughter serve panini, guffaw over The Simpsons and never miss an episode of CSI: Miami dubbed in Italian. Mama works at her laptop while daughter cooks. I think Queen Teodolinda would like it here.


I ask myself, Is this a dream? 

Will it all vanish into air? 

Is there a land of such supreme 

And perfect beauty anywhere? 


Toni 2/5/14 

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    1. Ronnie, you’d probably have to boot out his sweetie.There’s a plaque in the town to commemorate the visit of Franz Liszt and his mistress, Marie d’Agoult, in 1837. Imagine, the good Catholics of Bellagio honoring adultery. He must have been a like a rock star to them. 🙂


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