Varenna: A Tiny Town to Remember

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I have always been a hoarder of memories: writing in journals, crafting scrapbooks, compiling photo books, and maintaining (more or less) this very blog. I’m not sure where this obsessive drive comes from, exactly, but if I were to psychoanalyze myself – a dicey proposition – I might guess that it boils down to a fear of forgetting, a need to create some record of the fact that I was here (cue Queen Bey).

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What, then, don’t I want to forget about Varenna, that colorful little enclave on the shores of Lake Como? Well, for starters, the things I’ve already written about: the serene boat ride around the lake and the sublime food at Il Caminetto. But there are other moments, too.

I wouldn’t want to forget Varenna’s waterside promenade, a path I trod many times during my two days in town. The path itself – flower-lined, well-maintained – was lovely, but lovelier still were the views of crystal clear Lake Como, its skies blue and its waters dotted with sailboats.

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I wouldn’t want to forget the tiny, narrow, and, above all, steep streets of town. I got my cardio in while in Varenna, but it was worth it: colorful buildings, cute little balconies, friendly piazzas, and flowers dangling everywhere.

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I wouldn’t want to forget the kindest B&B owner in the world, who enthusiastically offered recommendations about all his favorite restaurants in Varenna, or the gorgeous view from said B&B, looking up into the mountains, dotted with skinny, tall pine trees, just beyond Varenna.

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I wouldn’t want to forget the feeling of utter relaxation that overcame me while sipping an aperol spritz as I sat overlooking the water. After months of bar prep, sitting by the sea in sleepy Varenna was exactly what I needed. Drinking cocktails in Italy, at sunset, when you have literally no other responsibilities and no place else to be? The best.

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And I definitely wouldn’t want to forget the sunsets in Varenna – oh, the sunsets. The stunning colors of the sky and the rich hues of the harbor at dusk were nothing short of magical. When something looks like a painting but is actually 100% real life, that’s when you know you have hit the jackpot.

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Most of all, I wouldn’t want to forget one of my very favorite travel feelings: what it is like to arrive in a place with almost zero expectations – outside a vain hope of glimpsing George and Amal – and be completely delighted with what I find. Varenna is not the most exciting, action-packed destination, but if you’re looking to unwind? It’s damn near perfect.

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