So here is my first travel and photo report about our round trip in Italy. Como. More reports are in progress: Lago di Como and Bellagio (which is actually on Lago di Como, but I decided to make a separate post about Lago di Como and Bellagio), Milan, Florence, Fiesole, Greve in Chianti, Siena, Cinque Terre (Riomaggiore and Manarola), Parma and Domodossola. I have about 5000 shots and nearly all of them are useable. The ‘problem’ with Italy is that there is so much to see and at a certain point you just keep shooting. These days, storage is not an issue anymore, I brought about a 100GB on SD cards… 🙂 Another ‘problem’ is the light. The light can be so beautiful, especially in Tuscany, and changes all the time. You want to keep shooting. But the light can also be a disaster. Ok, bright sun, blue sky, all nice, but very very hard light. You want to shoot but you can’t !!! All in all: challenging conditions for shooting photos.
Nightshot, 15,0 sec; f/10; ISO 100; 18,0 mm (in 35 mm: 36,0 mm).
Como is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy. Its proximity to Lake Como and to the Alps has made Como a tourist destination and the city contains numerous works of art, churches, gardens, museums, theatres, parks and palaces: the Duomo (seat of Diocese of Como), the Basilica of Sant’Abbondio, the Villa Olmo, the public gardens with the Tempio Voltiano, the Teatro Sociale, the Broletto (the city’s medieval town hall) and the 20th century Casa del Fascio.
Como, seen from the panoramic view point at Brunate. 1/90 sec; f/16; ISO 200. 16,0 mm (in 35 mm: 24,0 mm).
So we arrived by train. At the train station there are a shit load of refugees trying to make it to Switzerland and/or Germany. And that is the very first thing you see when arriving by train. The scene on the train station is close to inhuman. People sleep under blankets in the open air, it was smelly and there are nearly no utilities (like bathrooms, etc.). Also they flock around the city, starting to beg, gather in the public park for bathing in the Lake, etc. We were pointed out, straight in the face, how large the refugee problem actually is.
So enough about that. Sorry but I had to mention it. So, Let’s go ! From the train station you can walk to the city center and that is where the fun starts. Tons of lovely little streets, nicely decorated shops, a lot of old buildings and of course the Duomo. But there is more… yes. There is a funicolare (small train that goes up the mountain) to Brunate. From there you can hike over the mountain (there is a good map at the funicolare station on top) and you can see some very nice panoramas of Como and the landscape. When the weather is clear you can see some spectacular landscape. I didn’t had time to do some night shots from there, but consider that a tip to do. (check the time schedule of the funicolare before).
Brunate is nice. It’s very quiet up there. Some nice old buildings and great views over the city, Lago di Como and the landscape. If you can, hike all the way to the Lighthouse but check before if it is open. There are walking/hiking trails up to 1 hour. At the viewpoint at Brunate, there is a great little Trattoria (restaurant) serving tasty food with a great view.
A bit outside the city center there is Villa Olmo. Villa Olmo is the most celebrated and sumptuous of the historic homes of Como and one that made Como one of the driving forces of the Enlightenment in Italy. More info about Villa Olmo click here.
In the city center there is the Duomo, which is worth a visit. The ceiling is very nice. While I was there, they were shooting a Chinese movie so the square and places behind were filled with movie gear and crew. Not to good for shooting photos…..
At the Lake side, there is plenty to do. You can relax in the public park (Giardini del Tempio Voltiano). The park got a pier leading to an art sculpture called the ‘Life Electric’. At evening/night time a very good place to do night shots. (i tried, check the photos).
For me, the most interesting part is/was the old city. You can walk for hours and enjoy the small streets that are so typical for Italy. But, ‘Ryan, once you have seen one, you have seen them all’… No, that attitude doesn’t fly with me. Every street got its own character, it’s own style, it’s own atmosphere. Those things makes all the small streets so special to me. And don’t forget the light. Even with straight hard sunlight, it is still a joy to see and a challenge to shoot these streets.
My stay in Como was not long due to the travel plans. With only 2 days, we spend one day on Lago di Como, visiting Bellagio. My next travel report will be about that. The other day we were walking around in the city. We stayed in Riva al Lago a hotel (B&B more likely) in the city center and the highlight is the breakfast. Yes. The rooms are also good, but they serve a FANTASTIC breakfast. Second highlight is Robert. Robert ? Yes… Robert works at Riva al Lago at the reception and explained us all the things that you can do and see in and around the city. Very friendly man. Also he gave us good info about Italy in general. He is also a photographer and gave me some tips about Como. All in all: a great experience and very friendly service that you don’t see so much anymore. Here is a link to Robert’s Facebook page so you can see some of his photography.
So my thoughts about Como. I like Como, but it is mostly the Lake that I like. The villages at Lake Como are very scenic and the landscape is just stunning. Como Town it self got nice things, but not nice enough to compete with what you can find on Lake Como. Still, some people and some places made my stay in Como a memorable one. 🙂
Cold cuts (very tasty) at the viewpoint at Brunate. A lovely place to have lunch with a great view. 1/40 sec; f/11; ISO 200; 50,0 mm (in 35 mm: 75,0 mm)
Below some links which lead to more info about Como and Lago di Como.
Click to enlarge.