One of my favorite rides is going from Milano to Bellagio on Lake Como.
It has all the elements of that perfect ride; not too far (about an hour and a half from Milano), two thirds of the distance is dual carriage-way followed by a twisty, 22 km section from Lecco to Bellagio along the shore of Lake Como. The destination too, Bellagio, is as fulfilling as the ride to get there. Having done this trip three or four times now, I make a habit of stopping at this parking lot just outside the centre of Lecco to take in the view. My bike certainly isn’t uncomfortable but stopping here also serves as a nice break from the hour long ride from the city.
The video, below, starts from this look out point and ends when I reach Bellagio. I’m riding my Ducati Monster S2R with a GoPro mounted to the handlebar. A word on the road: there aren’t very many straight sections which means the speeds usually stay below 80 km/h. However, it’s narrow – very narrow in some spots but not treacherous. There are more than a few blind corners where it’s best to honk the horn as you approach the turn. With no lane markings, motorists, bikers mainly, take the liberty/risk of passing at will. Although, as you’re sharing the road with cyclists, scooters of all shapes and sizes, pedestrians (no sidewalks), and of course, other motorcycles, you rarely see anyone getting silly with the overtaking. Of the times I’ve ridden it, I’ve never seen any close calls as it’s mostly families and couples out for a nice leisurely drive to Bellagio. Just a quick burst of acceleration then and you’re through. The ride takes about 20-25 minutes depending on traffic. The video is much shorter though, 6 minutes.
Making your way down the hillside to Bellagio, you pass the Gardini di Villa Melzi before being greeted by one of the nicest driveways leading to the centre of town. The gardens, designed by architect Luigi Canonica, better known for his designs of Foro Buonaparte in Milano (the area surrounding the Castello Sforzesco) and Milano’s civic Arena, surround Villa Melzi and are must see tourist attraction for anyone who’s visiting Bellagio. Spanning from the entrance of the gardens to the centre of town is perhaps one of the loveliest driveways you’ll find anywhere. Flanking this driveway is a tree-lined, pebbled pathway featuring perfectly curated floral gardens. It certainly sets a tone which blends harmoniously with its surroundings.
Bellagio is not unlike many other desperately pretty Italian sea-side towns, chock-full of bars and restaurants down by the water. However, Bellagio is also built up on a hillside which means it has a number of “salite” or stairways, running up from its center. One in particular, the Salita Serbelloni, is the largest of these stairways hosting a slew of shops and restaurants from top to bottom.
How to get there:
From the tangenziale (ring road around Milano) you exit at Cinisello Balsamo then follow the signs to state road SS36. It’s roughly 45 km trom Cinisello Balsamo to Lecco. From there, follow the signs to Bellagio, another 22 km. See the route maps below.