Hiking, cruising on the ferries, wine tastings, Carnevale and seeing beautiful villas. Given our close proximity to Lake Como we have the fortune of visiting whenever the mood hits, but it is precisely this lack of distance that makes it easy to put things off for another tomorrow. I can count on both hands how many times we’ve been to the Como province in almost 9 years, and not once did it ever occur to me that picnicking should be near the top of the list and running into Mr. Clooney in Laglio somewhere at the bottom. Ok, well maybe in the middle. If the Prussian princess – for which Villa Carlotta was named after – were alive today, I’d like to think that she would’ve approved of my wild and colorful spread.
Wanting to celebrate St. Joseph’s Day on a weekend, we visited the villa on Saturday since March 17th marked the reopening for the new season. Unfortunately it wasn’t the best time to see the gardens ablaze with color as the camelias and tree rhododendrons were not yet in bloom (April/May are the suggested months).
As of this date, admission to museum and garden is 9€ adults and kids under 6 get in free; no reservations necessary. Dogs allowed (gardens only) but must be on a leash. Wheelchair access for the handicapped. We were given a map along with our ticket purchase and it has a numbered list of botanical specimens which I found helpful when there was no identifying sign for a particular tree. The museum of agricultural tools has some cool vintage stuff! Bring a paperback and take a seat at one of the benches scattered about. There are two designated picnic areas (we like the location near the bamboo gardens) and restrooms also available. I could seriously spend all day here and my favorite area is to the right side of the villa when facing it from the lake. Villa Carlotta hosts several interesting events for 2012, among which includes a whimsical day for all ages.