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Matteo and Clotilde: elegant, beautiful and discreet, the two feathered stars of Lake Como

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“When you write the story of two happy lovers, let the story be set on the banks of Lake Como” Franz Liszt

Matteo and ClotildeThat’s exactly a love story the one we are telling you about…the love story between Matteo and Clotilde, the new stars of Lake Como. No, they are not Hollywood stars but two marvelous and elegant swans, characterized by white, soft plumage, a lofty beauty and a long, limber neck.

They were given this names by the taxi boats drivers Tasell and in 2014 for the first time they decided to crown their love building their nest just exactly in front of Piazza Cavour, one of the main squares of Como.

Since then, they meet themselves each year at the beginning of Spring to build their nest, twig by twig, and lay their eggs. Day by day, they have become a real attraction for all the tourists in Como: when walking along the lakefront, indeed, is impossible not to see groups of people taking photos to the tender couple.

Mother Clotilde is brooding with love their 5 eggs, while father Matteo is standing guard on his sweetheart and the nest.Matteo and Clotilde_1

Unfortunately, last year and two years ago, due to continuous rain, the lake flooded and the nest and all the eggs were destroyed. So, there was no happy ending for Matteo and Clotilde and people who heard them remembers their lament, a gloomy and painful soundsomeone even says that tears came streaming from their big black eyes!

So, this year locals and tourists are waiting with bated breath….hoping that there will be happy ending!Matteo and Clotilde_2


Dark, hot, scented, tasteful and especially…produced near Lake Como: happy 80th birthday, Caffè Milani!

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This year is Caffè Milani 80th  birthday.

“To those who do not just drink a coffee quickly, but take their time to really taste and savor it. To them we dedicate our labors and with them we share our secrets and our passion.” Pierluigi Milani

From a small workshop, which emanated magical aromas through the streets in the historic city center of Como, to a modern factory where past and future meet and blend to obtain high-quality products. Caffè Milani was born in 1937, thanks to the passion of the actual owner’s father, and nowadays has 80 years of activity and experience on importing and roasting coffee.

The careful selection of the best varieties, directly imported from their places of origin, the skillful in roasting and blending procedures and the constant control on each production stage, give this coffee impassable scent and body, which are peculiar characteristics of the real Italian Espresso.




It was 1937, and in the historic center of Como was impossible to resist the charm of coffee’s scent coming from a workshop. We are talking about Celestino Milani’s workshop, where was a small coffee bar and a discontinuous roaster producing high-quality coffee. Not far from the breathtaking view of Lake Como, the workshop soon became a popular destination: residents went there to have a pleasant break and tourists to seek a good, authentic, Italian-style coffee. Celestino’s coffee soon became a landmark throughout and beyond, and the reason for this well-deserved success is very simple: Celestino’s endless passion.

This passion was expressed, day by day, through the careful selection of the finest coffee varieties (directly imported from its origin places), through the meticulous attention to roasting and, of course, to the skillful blending. That is why Celestino soon became a real “Master roaster”, among the most attentive and competent of his time. Unavoidably, this endless passion involved even his youngest son, Pierluigi. Celestino taught him the secrets of roasting and the blend recipes, a precious treasure that he has jealously kept until today.

In the following years, Pierluigi Milani continued to transfer to the company in Lipomo the extreme attention to the production process that his father had taught him.


  1. HISTORY: History means family, wisdom and culture; culture of a profession that has been developing and evolving year by year. Neither school nor any other learning methodology can compete with this: years and years of passion, transmitted from father to son have create such a unique and special roasting style.
  2. HEART: Heart means pure love.  Heart means caring for the product, following and cuddling it, getting passionate by its growth. That’s a passion which arises spontaneously in people’s heart and which is not for sale: either you have it or you will never have it. Heart is the heart Milani has always had for coffee.
  3. STRENGTH: Milani believes that its strength, as well as its determination can be found in its coffee. That’s the energy used in the years by Milani to reach specific goals and which will be the key to keep going on. That’s the courage to go ahead.
  4. SOUL: The soul of coffee is its core, it’s something which goes beyond the bean. Is the emotion it recalls, is fascinating scent, is that element which converts the coffee cup into a unique experience. Milani has always wanted to respect the deepest soul of the coffee.
  5. IDEAS: Milani has never been afraid of new ideas. Indeed, they have always welcomed them and looked for them. Because ideas can change the world: ideas to follow and forestall customers’ tastes; ideas to ride new technologies respecting the past and choosing the best for the future.
  6. HARMONY: Harmony is all in a blend; harmony is the perfect marriage between strength and softness, as well as the balance in life. Finding the perfect balance is a difficult art, but Milani has achieved to understand and manage it wisely, to always be in harmony with customers.
  7. CHARACTER: a coffee of character has a strong personality which distinguish it from the others. Each Milani blend has a different character and it is also appreciated for that. Because…coffee is like a friend, something unique and irreplaceable which gives you the right thing at the right time.


Lake Como legends: how was Grigna mount born?

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Grigna mount_Lake Como

Grigna mount legend:

A long time ago, nearby Lake Como, lived a warrior as pretty, as ruthless. One day, a brave and valiant knight saw her walking, in all her shining and proud majesty; and he couldn’t do nothing but desperately fall in love with that woman.

The knight couldn’t live without that marvelous and haughty creature, who bewitched him with her beauty and stole his soul; that is why he wanted to reach her, offering her his heart.

While on the road, the man was more and more determined to conquer her love: if he couldn’t, he would have preferred to die rather than a life without her.

So, he reached a hill where there was the lady’s castle: unfortunately, she saw him arriving and, when he went down the street to the fortress, she ordered a sentinel to kill him.

And so, it was…the poor lover fell, killed by the sentinel’s arrow.

God, after seeing what occurred, turned the cruel woman into a mountain (which was given the name of Grignone), and the sentinel into another mountain, Grignetta.

Despite everything, Grigna lovers keep to being attracted by the beautiful warrior and, in order to escape from the cruel fate she could reserve them, the climbers cross themselves before leaving for an excursion on the top.

Sweet, delicate and colorful: wisteria blooming on Lake Como

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Wisteria on Lake Como:

A sweet and lasting fragrance, a centuries-old life and the ability to grow everywhere: do you know which plant are we talking about? Sure, it’s the wisteria! It celebrates spring with its enchanting blooming and you can admire it also on Lake Como.

First, do you know its history? It carries the name of the scientist Caspar Wister, which moved from Scotland to Philadelphia to work in a hospital. When he died, his friend Thomas Nuttall decided to dedicate him this wonderful plant.

The wisteria sinensis is wide spread thanks to its violet-lilac, gently scented flowers; it can be 40 meters high and it blooms in April-May but if the winter was very cold, it may bloom 15 days later…and someone says that it was exactly a wisteria which cursed George Clooney, convincing him to buy his renowned villa on Lake Como. Do you believe it?

If you want to admire the wonderful blooming of wisteria on Lake Como, here are some places:Wisteria on Lake Como

-Como: there are majestic, beautiful wisterias along the so-called passeggiata Villa Olmo. Let yourself guide by their sweet scent!





-Bellagio: a majestic wisteria, which seems to dive into the blue of the lake, is located exactly in the city center.

© hotel florence bellagio

© hotel florence bellagio

-Varenna: there is a sort of “wisteria walk

-Menaggio: there is a wonderful wisteria along the lakefront


-Villa Carlotta

-Villa del Balbianello




The holy grail and Val Codera: Lake Como legends

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The Holy Grail and Val Codera

The Holy Grail and Val CoderaThe Holy Grail has been object of desire for theologians, archaeologists and so on. There are several histories about it, but the question is: if the grail really existed, where is it?

There is a place in Italy where this precious relic could be hidden: we are talking about Val Codera, and more precisely the small town of Novate Mezzola.

According to the legend, the Holy Grail was guarded for five centuries in the Aquae Silus church, in Britannia. At mid-VI century, because of the advance by the heathen army, the keepers decided to safe it by giving it to the Pope in Rome.

Among the keepers there was a priest who, during the trip, was forced to stop on Lake Como because of the invasion by the Langobards: the Grail was got to safety together with the Byzantines on Isola Comacina, formerly called Cristopolis, Time later, the Langobards prevailed against the Byzantines and gave them the island with its treasures…but not the Grail, obviously.

It started a long journey around Lake Como. In 589 it was brought to Piona abbey where it remained until 603; then a keeper moved it towards the mountains, in order to snatch it to the Queen Teodolinda; and then again brought to Colico, into an impassable valet which looks on the lake, the Val Codera, more specifically the so-called Saas Carlash, among the most evocative of the valley.The Holy Grail and Val Codera_1

When the Pope ordered the keepers to get the Grail back, all they found was a stone sweep: a landslide had made the passage unrecognizable and the Grail could not be found.

Nowadays, several people think that it is hidden in the valley.

The Holy Grail and Val Codera: truth or legend? You only have to go and look for it!


Risotto by Enrico Derflingher

A dish of “risotto” from Lake Como that conquered the taste of Queen Elizabeth II

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Risotto by Enrico Derflingher


Queen Victoria…not only the queen but also a risotto, a masterpiece by a prestigious chef. What makes it so important? Well, it was presented for the first time in the occasion of the first meeting between Ronald Reagan and Michail Gorbačëv at the end of the Cold War, at the presence of heads of state and royals. And that’s not all: Queen Elizabeth II in person said she has just eaten the best risotto in her life!




Which chef are we talking about? Chef Enrico Derflingher, who was born in Lecco, Lake Como, and is, nowadays, one of the most renowned Italian chefs in the world.

Grown up in the main Michelin-rated restaurants, at 25 he was chosen as the personal chef of Charles and Diana, bringing the Italian cuisine to Buckingham Palace. So, he became the first and only Italian ever to be employed as Personal Chef to the British Royal Family after a long tradition of French cuisine. Then he literally crossed the ocean to arrive directly to the White House: there, he cooked each Sunday meat, pasta, lasagne, cannelloni and ravioli for George W. Bush Snr. and family, mixing up perfectly the Italian taste and ingredients with the American ones.

He was nominated four times among the top ten chefs for the “Five Star Diamond Award” as “One of the World’s Best Chefs”, he worked in Rome, St. Moritz and Japan (there he opened and managed more than thirty Italian restaurants, including the Armani Ginza Tower in Tokyo). He cooked at the official opening ceremonies at the Beijing and London Olympics and has also represented Italy at two G8s and the G20.

He also won several prizes and awards and now he is ready to come back to his roots: he will be by the side of Massimiliano Mandozzi at CastaDiva Resort, in Blevio.

bel_carnevale di schignano

Carnevale di Schignano, a folkloristic carnival which gives you unforgettable emotions

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Schignano, a small village of Val d’Intelvi where the green of the mountains seems to dive into the blue of Lake Como, is renowned for its picturesque and folkloristic carnival: Carnevale di Schignano.

It plays each year on Saturday and Mardi Gras and is, without doubt, one of the most famous carnival in the province of Como. You can taste the splendor of this event only if you watch it personally, since it is a real show…the atmosphere is an unforgettable mix of sounds: the concert played by hundreds of bells, now silvery, now off-key; overlapping to the sounds played by the band and, icing on the cake, the chatter by the Ciocia.

Carnevale di Schignano is based on the juxtaposition of two main characters, the Bel (beautiful) and the Brut (ugly). Noteworthy are the wooden masks, precisely hand-sculpted and jealously preserved and guarded…some of them date back to more than 200 years ago!

The masks:

Brut_carnevale di schignano


  • The Brut (ugly): hidden by mysterious, hand-sculpted masks, they capture the attention with jumps, falls and clothes recalling for a humble life; covered with rags, animal’s leather and heavy cowbells, they represent poor people, forced to live on pastoralism and agriculture. The neglected clothes, lined with straw, and the farmer tools integrate the costume.
  • The Bell or Mascarun (beautiful): the calm and straight stride, laces, crochets and the belly (the so-called butasc) empower elegance and royalty to the Mascarun. Accompanied by luxurious canes, umbrellas and gaudy fans, they exhort the Brut to stand up.bel_carnevale di schignano
  • The Ciocia: only one, shrill voice is allowed to speak during the carnival parades, the one of the Ciocia (wife and servant of the Mascarun). Know-it-all and critical, she is represented by a man who has the face dirty of smut and wears traditional clothes and wooden clogs; she wanders complaining about her husband’s vexations.
  • The Sapeur: with black-painted face and wearing clothes made of sheep’s leather, they are charged to open and guard the parade, carrying an axe in their hands.
  • The Sigurtà: it’s the mask representing the authorities.
  • The Carlisepp: it’s the puppet representing the carnival. Hung in the main square during festive days, it is intended to be burnt on Mardi Gras…but not before trying to escape, in a dramatic and incredible run between the crowd.

The parade is accompanied by the cheerful, tuneful sound played by the fugheta, and by the numerous participants.

In occasion of the parades, you can visit the costumes exhibition, set up in the center of Schignano.

All these elements contribute to make Carnevale di Schignano a unique event, a tradition jealously guarded an imparted from father to son.

So, when arriving to Schignano, don’t expect an aseptic and ordinary parade since you will find a captivating and merry mess of sounds, colors and magical atmosphere!

For more information, visit

The blaze of the Giubiana, a blend of history and tradition

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giubianaThe last Thursday night of January will be enlightened by several, small fires: in some areas of Piedmont and Lombardy (among which the Brianza), indeed, it is the night of the Giubiana.

There are several legends about this tradition, and they are different from town to town. The first tells that the Giubiana was a witch living in a wood; she was very tall, very thin and had long legs allowing her to move from tree to tree to scare anyone entering her territory. On the last Thursday of January, she looked for a child to eat, that is why a mother set her a trap: she prepared a big pot of risotto with saffron, a typical dish from Lombardy, added some sausages and put it out of the window. The witch, attracted by the smell, started to eat that delicious, tasteful dish…but, as everyone knows, witches cannot live in broad daylight. As soon as a ray of light touched her back, the Giubiana started to burn in a big fire. From that day, all the kids were saved, but to not forget this history, each year the people burn a puppet impersonating the Giubiana and eat a dish of risotto with sausage.

This celebration, however, has its roots to ancient worships: from Juno or Jupiter; from the Romans or from the Celts, in which the fire propitiated the new season.

The Giubiana in Cantù, not a witch but a beautiful lady.

According to the tradition, here the Giubiana was a young and beautiful lady who deceived the city. In 12th century Como and Milan were at war each other and Canturium (the ancient name of Cantù) was resisting from months to a siege. One night in January a priest received the visit of a young lady asking for a shelter: her face was so angelic and tender that the man exchanged her for the Virgin Mary and let her enter. Unfortunately, he made a big mistake: the lady, as beautiful as an angel but as terrible as a devil, used her charm to obtain the keys of the city and gave them to the enemy. Canturium was defeated from Como, but Milan won the war and condemned the lady to the blaze. This terrible judgment is renewed each year: a puppet is conducted with a parade to the main square of Cantù and burned.

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