Thursday, May 17, 2018

Bellagio: A FULL Day in a Famous Tourist Zone But More Importantly on a Farm With Friends

Wednesday, 16 May, 2018

The search for George Clooney in the greater Lake Como area took up again today in the beautiful resort city of Bellagio.

One of our two Skorpions Defensive Line Coaches, Pacio Cranchi, and his wonderful wife Teresa live in Bellagio which is about a 90 minute drive north of Venegono Superiore.

They had asked us to come up for the day so that they could show us around the city from a locals' perspective.


Laurie picked out a small
rose from  garden and away
we went!

We saw lots of green fields
and woodlands on our drive

And a pony too!

Eventually we arrived on the
shores of Lake Como

We were two happy campers

We had made it to Bellagio
unscathed through some extremely
narrow mountain roads

Now all we needed to do was find a parking space and then hook up with Teresa and Pacio.

We found a good parking spot by sheer luck but would have to pay a hefty fee to legally keep it all day.

Then we found Pacio . . .

Not to worry he said, as I was about to put my credit card into the automated parking ticket machine to legally pay for my prime spot. I got back into our car and followed him in his van to his Super Secret free parking spot.

That task finished, we joined Teresa and Laurie on the Bellagio waterfront where Pacio had a stand selling his incredible hand crafted woodworked items.

I should add that Pacio parked his van in the absolute closest parking spot to the start of the pedestrian only streets.

It was more than just good karma, we would soon come to realize.     

With Pacio, a bottle of Prosecco
and a 50+ year old, wooden
shared drinking bowl

To hell with the Germ Theory of Disease! This is the way we drink Prosecco in Bellagio with friends.

It tasted pretty damn good I must add.

I should point out that all that we were missing to make this photo perfect was Shrek.

With Teresa, Pacio
and just a hint of his art
More Prosecco while shopping
seemed like the right thing to do

The proper rules of Bellagio shopping must be adhered to, a nearby sign declared and we certainly did not want to run afoul of the law!

After Laurie purchased roughly 70% of Pacio's inventory at, thankfully, a discount, we were off on our guided tour of Bellagio's beautiful city center.

Pacio leading the way

Pacio, a gentle giant if ever there was one, has deep, deep roots in Bellagio. He, his Father and his Grandfather were all born here.

Nice ties but NO GRAZIE,
I'm retired

Pacio and Teresa can only
make slow progress walking
in Bellagio

It turns out that they are on a long standing, first name basis with everyone in the city. Thus we stopped repeatedly to exchange greetings with their friends.

It was so much fun to see these genuine exchanges of love and admiration.

One gentleman who spoke very good English even pulled me aside and said, "Your friend Pacio is one Bellagio's most symbolic people and such a positive force in our town."

High praise indeed and we did not doubt this praise for a minute!

Teresa took the point while
the unofficial Mayor of Bellagio
kissed a few babies

The narrow lanes in
Bellagio are quaint

Getting hungry

Since 1964?

That means that it is still brand new by Italian standards.

Should they be trusted?

Interesting Bottle of ?

In my wheelhouse now!

Pacio made these signs years ago

A large church in Bellagio
but definitely not the only one

I've got to get a scooter
some day

Nearer to the church also meant . . .

. . . We had arrived at our lunch spot

Of course everyone including the chef came out to talk to Pacio and Teresa.

Pacio and Laurie had the
Lake Fish and Risotto

Teresa and I had the
gnocchi in an amazing
gorgonzola cheese sauce

We were now four happy people in need of a stroll.

A big GRAZIE to Pacio for picking up the tab today!

But we entered
Chiesa San Giacomo first

A Tribute to Bellagio's WWI dead

I'll need my Latin to English
Google Translate app for this one

San Giacomo's Main Altar


Onward we walked to the lake shore.

You have to wonder what this looked 
like a few hundred years ago

Our path to the lake front

Lots of flora growing out
of the walls

Is Laurie getting smaller?

No, Pacio is a BIG MAN!

From what all of the old time players tell me, in his prime, Pacio was easily the best native Defensive Lineman in Italy.

If it wasn't for that mandatory retirement age rule in the Italian league, I still think he could give us at least one more great series on the Goal Line.

The traditional Lake Como boat

Pacio rows them for exercise occasionally.

He probably builds then too in his spare time.

A Tribute of some sort
from 1913, I believe

A beautiful villa overlooking
Lake Como

As we reached the shore, a vintage car show was in progress on the grounds of a ritzy ristorante.

This green Austin Healey
made me think of my
old 1965 MG Midget sports car

It was the car, also green, that I drove when first dating Laurie back in 1965.

That was 53 years ago now.


Laurie likes the lines of this
classic Porsche

This one won my
Best in Show Trophy

Such a serene lake today

We ambled back to the city center to shop a bit more.

Do you recall the scene in the movie Casablanca where Ilsa is shopping in the bazaar looking at linens and, in the middle of a sales pitch, Rick joins her and starts a conversation with her?

When the salesman realizes that Ilsa and Rick are friends, he says "Ah, for friends of Rick, a special discount."

As Rick and Ilsa continue to talk it becomes apparent to the salesman that Ilsa and Rick are more than just friends and and chimes in with "Ah, for special friends of Rick's, a special discount!"

Well that was exactly what it was like at the three stores in which Laurie purchased items. Being a friend of Pacio's was quite helpful today to say the least. 

One view of an old café bar . . .

. . . and another

Traditional Headpiece for women
worn during a big festival in July

Laurie in the nearby village
of Pescallo facing the Lago di Lecco
Possible 2018 Christmas Card photo
in Pescallo's little harbor

We now headed towards Pacio's workshop or laboratory as he liked to call it.

So many tools

The wonderful smell of sawdust was everywhere. 

More tools and works in progress

Pacio at his lathe making Laurie . . .

. . . a beautiful olive wood top

High above Lake Como

This gnome in a tree
was carved by . . .

. . . GUESS WHO?

Yes, this is one of Pacio's earlier works dating back about 20 years he thought.

The mushrooms are newer.

On to Pacio's Zio Siro and Zia Augusta's farm.

The barn on the left was built in 1860,
the farmhouse on the right in 1864

On a working farm, the livestock has priority at all times.

By the way, Zio and Zia are Italian for uncle and aunt. 


Colors are good

Tools of the farm

Construct with materials that
are handy to find in 1860

More colors

Far end of the barn

Lots of piglets in the barn,
about 15 in all I would say
for the two sows to feed

A newborn calf

May's Flower of the Month
Lillie of the Valley

Laurie's birth month flower made them even more special.

Teresa, Zia Augusta and Laurie

Laurie, Zio Siro, Zia Augusta and me

The half hour that we spent sitting around their kitchen table just inside that doorway will be a long remembered moment for the two of us.

It is so much fun to be included in these type of impromptu family gatherings.

We stopped at the cheese
store for some needed supplies

Back in the village of Loppia . . .

. . . To Teresa and Pacio's home

Great wood burning stove

Colorful kitchen wall

Wooden spoons from
Ireland and Scotland

They were originally made to show a young lass that this man had woodworking skills and could thus support her when they got married.

Pacio with Arthur

Of course, Pacio owns chickens

Doesn't everybody?

What a GREAT day in Italy!



Anonymous said...

Drinking bowl!!!
#2 Son

George said...

COMMUNITY drinking bowl!