Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Hotels Lake Region’ Category

eurosThe fees began in 2011 in Venice and within one year city hotels in Rome, Florence, Milan and Naples had followed La Serenissima’s example. Now, nearly every city, town and village hotel, B&B and self catered accommodation in Italy charges these fees to guests. As of the date of this blog post, AirBNB property owners in Italy are fighting the requirement to collect these duties.

Over the course of many years of travel in Italy, there has never been anyone at any hotel who has been able to clearly tell me (1) why it has to be paid, (2) for what purposes are the taxes collected (3) who distributes the taxes and (4) where, physically, are they paid in each city or province.

Keep in mind, also, that most of these payments are collected in cash from guests at the time of check out.

Below is a table of the amount of taxes collected for most major cities by region in Italy, including Sardinia.

You would be wise to double check the web site for the places you will be visiting to confirm that these rates, current as of June 2016, are still correct.

Remember to keep these numbers in mind when you calculate the cost of a hotel stay in Italia!

 Region/City 5-star 4-star 3-star

B&B and

Self Catered

Tariff
Tuscany
Lucca € 3 € 3 € 2.50 For a maximum of 3 nights
Florence € 5.50 € 4.50 € 3.50 € 2.50 For a maximum of 7 nights
Cortona € 3 € 2 € 2 For a maximum of 4 nights
Siena € 5 € 2.50 € 2.50 € 1.50 For a maximum of 6 nights
Montepulciano € 5 € 2.50 € 2.50 € 1.50 For a maximum of 6 nights
San Gimignano € 3 € 2.50 € 2 € 1.50 For a maximum of 5 nights
Chianti €4 € 2.50 €1.50 €1.50 For a maximum of 5 nights
Veneto 
Bardolino €2 €1.50 €1 For a maximum of 20 nights between 01/04 and 30/09
Sirmione € 2.50 € 1.80 € 1 Per night
Desenzano del Garda € 2 € 1 € 0.80 Per night
Peschiera del Garda € 2 € 1 € 0.80 For a maximum of 5 nights between 01/05 and 31/10
Venice € 5 € 4.50 € 3.50 For a maximum of 5 nights
Verona € 3 € 2 € 1.50 For a maximum of 5 nights
Valeggio sul Mincio € 1.50 € 1.50 € 0.80 Per night betwen 01/04 and 31/12
Padova € 3 € 3 € 2 For a maximum of 5 nights
Vicenza € 3 € 2.50 € 2.50 Per night
Campania 
Positano €5 € 3 € 1.50 € 1.50 50% discount from the 4th night
Sorrento € 2 € 1.50 € 1 € 1 For a maximum of 7 nights
Ravello € 4 € 3 € 2 € 2 For a maximum of 6 nights
Praiano € 2.50 € 2 € 1.50 € 1.50 For a maximum of 7 nights
Amalfi € 5 € 3 € 1.50 € 1.50 50% discount from the 4th night
Massa Lubrense € 2 € 1.50 € 1 € 1.50 For a maximum of 7 nights
Naples € 5 € 3 € 2 For a maximum of 10 nights
Ischia € 2 € 1.50 € 1 For a maximum of 7 nights
Rome
Rome € 7 € 6 € 4 For a maximum of 10 nights
Marche
Numana €1.50 €1 €0.50 Per night
Ascoli Piceno €1 €1 € 0.50 For a maximum of 6 nights
Basilicata
Matera € 2 € 2 €1 €1 For a maximum of 3 nights
Maratea €4 €2.50 €2 For a maximum of 5 nights
Puglia
Ostuni € 2 € 2 € 1.50 For a maximum of 5 nights
Lecce € 3 € 2 € 2 For a maximum of 5 nights
Fasano € 2.50 € 2 € 1.50 For a maximum of 3 nights between 01/05 to 30/06 and 01/09 to 31/10
Fasano €4 €2.50 €2 For a maximum of 5 nights between 01/07 and 31/08
Monopoli €2 €2 €1 For a maximum of 14 nights
Alberobello €1 €1 €1 For a maximum of 3 nights
Vieste €1 €1 €0.80 For maximum one night between 15/05 and 15/09
Otranto €2 €2 €1.50 For a maximum of 7 nights between 01/04 and 30/09
Lombardia
Milan € 5 € 4 € 3 Per night
Varenna € 1 € 1 Per night
Como €2.50 €2 Per night
Bellagio €2 €1.50 For a maximum of 7 nights
Emilia Romagna
Ravenna € 4 € 3 € 2 Per night
Bologna € 4 € 4 € 3 For a maximum of 5 nights
Umbria
Perugia € 2.50 € 2 € 1.50 For a maximum of 10 nights
Orvieto € 2.50 € 2.30 For a maximum of 10 nights
Sicily
Syracuse € 2.50 € 2 € 2 For a maximum of 4 nights
Catania € 2.50 € 1.50 € 1.50 € 1 For a maximum of 3 nights
Cefalu € 1 € 1 € 1 € 1 For a maximum of 10 nights
Aeolian islands € 1.50 One off charge
Modica € 2 € 1.50 € 1.50 For a maximum of 7 nights
Palermo € 3 € 2 € 1.50 For a maximum of 4 nights
Taormina € 2.50 € 2 € 1.50 For a maximum of 10 nights
Sardinia
Alghero € 2 € 2 € 1 For a maximum of 7 nights
Villasimius € 2 € 2 € 1 Per night
Piedmont
Cannobio € 1.20 € 1.20 € 0.80 For a maximum of 7 nights
Arona € 3 € 2 € 1.50 Per night
Baveno and Stresa € 2.50 € 1.50 € 1 For a maximum of 7 nights
Verbania € 2.50 € 1.50 € 1 For a maximum of 15 nights
Turin € 5 € 3.70 € 2.80 For a maximum of 4 nights

 

Read Full Post »

Villa Balbianello
Lenno Lago Como

Italians have always been passionate about gardens. Whether their hands work the soil for their kitchen or if the ground is meant to produce places of retreat and beauty, the Lake Region offers within a relatively small geographic area more gorgeous gardens than any other comparable region in bella Italia.

Many years ago, I was privileged to make the acquaintance of Alessandro Tombelli who is both a garden historian and a landscape designer. From the city of his birth, Florence, he has traveled the world to work in gardens as far flung as Chicago and Sicily. His passion for the lush verdant land is unquenchable.

In the years we have worked together, he has proudly shared his incredible knowledge of gardens, particularly those in the lake region. His 2008 book, The Garden Connection, tells the story of his life, lived amongst the beauty of Italian gardens.

Over many seasons, I have had the opportunity to return to many of the gardens Alessandro first shared with me. While what follows is hardly a complete list of the gardens in the lake region, these are the ones I know and love the best.

Cernobbio-Villa de’Este

As visitors take in the ravishing beauty of the coast road north of Como toward Tremezzo, they can hardly believe the stunning beauty of the Villa d’Este. To use the words ‘awe inspiring’ seem futile. Originally named the Villa Garrovo, its name was changed by the wife of George IV’s wife. This now famous five-star luxury hotel maintains a gorgeous garden. You can visit the gardens by parking at the hotel and asking at the desk. Inquiries are always welcomed.

In the event you are intimidated by the luxurious surroundings of the lobby, keep a mind this story a friend once told me.

In the early 1950’s a young newlywed couple from England were making their way, late at night, in a small sports car along the lake. As they left Como, they decided to stop at the first hotel they saw. They approached the front desk at Villa de’Este and, with few coins in hand, explained to the manager that they were just married and hoped to pay for a room at the hotel. The manager took a long look at them, called the porter to the front and the couple was courteously escorted to the Bridal Suite of the hotel. The couple returned every year that health allowed, and were always treated with the utmost courtesy. Such service remains a hallmark of a hotel known for an incredible garden.

Tremezzo-Villa Carlotta

Further north along the western shore of Lago Como, near Tremezzo, is the Villa Carlotta. This stunning villa ascends the steep flanks of alpine foothills from lake to garden. Constructed between 1690 and 1745.  Owned by one Marquis Clerici, the gardens have become a well visited botanical garden. There are, during high season, hoards of tourists, yet this is a space of green and flowers well worth the visit.

Chapel Villa Melzi
Bellaggio, Lago Como

Bellagio – Villa Melzi 

Ah, Bellagio. The approach by ferry from the docks at Cadenabbia is breathtaking. Deep glacial depths of the lake, the reflection of a rainbow of colored stucco palazzi on the surface of the water, the haze shrouded alps in the distance all conspire to move visitors into a dream. As you disembark at the ferry dock, and walk to the right, you are quickly guided to the entrance of the gardens at Villa Melzi, yet another treasure of a garden, this time on the eastern shore of Lago Como.

The villa was constructed as the residence for Francesco Meli d’Eril, who was the Duke of Lodi and, later, the Vice President of the Italian Republic under Napoleon.  He retired to the villa and devoted his energies to the English garden. Subsequent owners have added to the complexity and beauty of the estate. Stendhal wrote of the garden’s beauty, and of the villa’s extraordinary location along the lake, in his book  “Rome, Naples, Florence.”

Lenno -Villa Balbianello

Garden view -Villa Balbianello
Lenno – Lago Como

(The photo at the beginning of this post is a view of Balbianello ).

I have saved the most beautiful villa and gardens for last. Villa Balbianello was built in the lake side village of Lenno. Located not far from Tremezzo, the villa occupies a promontory that thrusts itself out into the cerulean waters of the lake, the golden stucco towers and emerald green Italian cypress sentinels along the shore. This villa was built in 1787 on the grounds of a Franciscan Monastery. The church towers of that monastery still stand. It was after decades of neglect that an American Army office by the name of Butler Ames purchased and restored the property. The first man to lead an Italian team to the summit of Mount Everest, Guido Monzino, purchased the property in 1974 and lived there until his will donated the property, in perpetuity, to the National Trust of Italy.

I now head west to the shores and islands of Lago Maggiore.

Lago Maggiore

Isola Bella – Gardens of the Borromeo Villa

View of Isola Bella and Gardens
Lago Maggiore, Lake Region

It was in 1632 that Carlos III of the House of Borromeo began to build a villa dedicated to his wife, Isabella D’Adda. The island, originally named l’isola inferiore or isola di sotto,  is named in Isabella’s honor.

The completion of the villa and gardens was delayed by  epidemics  of Plague and political power plays.It was not until the latter part of the 18th Century, under Gilberto V Borromeo, that the villa and its gorgeous gardens were finally completed.

The gardens and villa were designed by the Milanese architect Angelo Crivelli. In 2008 the gardens reopened after detailed three year restoration and the results show. From the upper level garden terrace with its multilevel grotto to the views of the lake and villages along the lower steps of the south garden, this is one of the finest and most beautiful gardens in Italy.

Please see, also, the July 2012 blog post Borromeo Islands-Isola Bella.

Verbania – Villa Taranto

As visitors continue east from Isola Bella across Lago Maggiore, they will have the opportunity to disembark at Villa Taranto. From the dock, little can be seen of the spectacular gardens above. It was in 1931 that a Scottish Captain, Neil McEacharn, came across the property and decided, within hours, to purchase it. The previous owner, the Marquise of Sant’Elia, was thrilled to be rid of something he considered a monumental responsibility.

McEacharn went to work, first naming the villa after a distant relative who was awarded the Dukedom of Taranto by Napoleon.The results of the Scottish Captain’s, and of the estate’s administrator Antonio Cappelletto’s, efforts show an extraordinary level of dedication. The gardens now contain one of the finest botanical collections found anywhere. The entrance gate to the estate is easily reached from the ferry landing in about three minutes.

Lago Orta-Orto San Giulio and the island of San Giulio

Tiny Lake Orta lies west of Lago Maggiore, an easy forty minute drive from the lakeside village of Stresa on the western shore of Maggiore. Not known for a large number of gardens, many consider the lake ‘the jewel of the Lake Region’ in and of itself. Here are two places you will enjoy visiting as time allows.

Villa Bossi
Orto San Giulio
Lago Orta

Villa Bossi

The village of Orto San Giulio uses Villa Bossi as the municipalities town hall. The gardens, known for their extraordinary compact beauty, run from the stunning rear facade of the villa to the lake.

The gardens are open every day and, on frequent occasions, are closed for private weddings and receptions. The views over to the island of San Giulio from these gardens is unforgettable.
Isola San Giulio

I have included the island of San Giulio, located about 100 meters from the shores of the village of San Giulio, as it is a lovely island. Cobblestone walkways ring the ancient convent and church, yet the views between villas, the glimpses of the lake and alps create the sense that visitors are surrounded by the gardens of Italy’s Lake Region. An earlier post on our blog, Lake Orta-Jewel of Italy’s Lake Region, has more details for those who are interested.

IF YOU GO:

LAGO COMO:

Villa d’Este

Via Regina, 40

22012 Cernobbio

Tel: +39 031 3481

No ticket required for garden visit.

Tremezzo-Villa Carlotta

Villa Carlotta

Vila Regina, 2

Tremezzo, Provinica di Como

Tel: +39 (0)344 40405

Entrance tickets: Euro 9.00 per person (check at desk if over 65 years of age for possible discount)

Season: Mid March to end of October (Check web site for details about season schedules)

Bellagio-Villa Melzi

Villa Melzi

Via Lunolario Manzoni

Bellagio

Tel: +39 339 4573838

Entrance Tickets: Euro 6.00 per person

Season: Late March to end of October (Check web site to confirm when gardens are open)

Lenno-Villa Balbianello

Vila Balbianello

Lenno, Como

Tel: +39 (0)344 56110

LAGO MAGGIORE:

Isola Bella

Isola Bella-Gardens of the Villa Borromeo

Tel: +39 (0)323.30556

Entrance tickets: Euro 13.00 per person (check on ticket prices for multiple islands when you purchase your tickets at Isola Bella)

Season: End March to end September. Daily. Open 9am to 12 noon and 1.30pm to 5pm. (Check web site for details about season opening times)

Verbania-Villa Taranto

Villa Taranto

Via Vittorio Veneto, 111

28922 Verbania

Tel: +39 (0)323 404555

Entrance Tickets: Euro 9.50 per person

Season: Mid March to end of October (Check web site for details about season dates)

LAGO ORTA

Orta San Giulio-Villa Bossi

Villa Bossi

Open year round, no admission cost

Isola San Giulio
Lago Orta

Isola San Giulio

For ferry schedules to the island from the village of Orto San Giulio, check with the Navigazione del Lago Orta

You can also talk directly to the many boat owners who play their trade on the lake. They can make arrangements to take you to and from the island.

Read Full Post »

Where Italy and Switzerland Meet

Lugano, with its temperate climate, is a city with an incredible history and musical heritage. Sited on the northern shore of a crystal clear alpine lake, this is the largest Italian speaking city in Switzerland.

Lago Lugano, the city that gave its name to the lake, clings to the shore and hills above the water like the icing on a delicate Swiss pastry. Along the impeccably clean promenade, couples stroll as ferries come and go from the dock.  In the distance, the Casino beckons with visions of James Bond, tux and all.

When I have the opportunity I plan at least a two day visit to Lugano.

The first day is spent on the lake enjoying lunch served aboard a special ferry that calls on various towns along the shore of the lake. I have always found this to be a wonderful way to experience the pace of life in this region of Italy. Spectacular views of the alps from the comfort of my table or from the open air seating on deck are always memorable.

The midday cruise boats leave from the Lugano Paradiso dock at 11:50AM each morning, early April through late October. Lunch is served shortly after heading across the lake. A  fixed menu is served offering excellent food (not fancy). With five stops along the lake in each direction, the pace of enjoying the meal moves at the pace of the boat. The boat returns to Lugano Paradiso at 1:50PM. You can also board/return from the main Lugano Ferry Building. For further details, see “If You Go”.

Piazza della Riforma
Lugano

When I return to the city, I usually choose a table at one the lovely small cafes in the Pizza Riforma. Directly off of the waterfront park, this is great place to relax with an afternoon coffee or aperitif.  The main shopping streets of the city lead away from the square and there is no denying that window shopping in this country of watchmakers offers temptations aplenty.

My evening meal is usually enjoyed at Bistro Cyrano. Located an easy walk from the central city square, the small space, while not fancy, offers delicious meals at a reasonable price, especially in Switzerland. The chef uses only the freshest ingredients and there is everything about the Italian table to enjoy. Great wine list, as well!

On the second day, I take time to visit two of the most beautiful churches in this area of Switzerland, Santa Maria degli Angioli and San Rocco.

The church of Santa Maria was originally part of a Franciscan Monastery. The buildings were started in the late 15thCentury, with subsequent improvements and additions made over the centuries. What makes Santa Maria so very special is Bernardino Luini’s masterpiece, and the largest fresco in Switzerland, The Passion and Crucifixion of Christ. The fresco covers the main part of the interior wall that separates the nave from the altar. The intricacy and detail are amazing, and to be able to spend time studying an incredible art treasure without the usual crowds is a gift. The church is easily located on the western size of the city, not far from Piazza della Riforma.

The other church, San Rocco, is on the opposite edge of the main city center and only steps from the Giardini and Piazza della Riforma. The 17th Century structure has a very plain façade, yet the interior offers gorgeous frescoes depicting the life of San Rocco di Montpellier, a venerated saint in the Catholic Church. During the summer months, there are a number of world famous music festivals in the city. Last year, I walked into San Rocco and enjoyed hearing a young pianist practice a Rachmaninoff piano concerto.  Unforgettable.

Sunrise on Lugano

This is a city for those less inclined to the busy day to day bustle of tourist sites. An easy drive from Milan or Lago Maggiore or Lago Como, the lanes and byways of this lovely city offer time for contemplation and relaxation. A city more known to the European visitor, fewer Americans are encountered here especially after the day buses depart. Evening offer well lit streets, the quiet of a Swiss town and time to enjoy yet another jewel of the Lake Region.

IF YOU GO:

Lugano Tourism offers plentiful resources.

Navigazione del Lago Lugano (Lugano Ferry System information and timetables) For lunch cruise information, click on “Midday Cruise” on the left side of the home page.

Hotels:

There are plenty to choose from. I’ve stayed at each of these over the years. They offer clean rooms for a fair price. Nothing fancy, mind you, but for a clean bed and a great location, they are difficult to equal.

Hotel Aquarello

This lovely hotel is located within the arcades of shops in the center of Lugano. Easy access to the lake and sites right outside your door. The town is usually very quiet after 8:30PM and you need not worry about traffic noise. The Balmelli family offer attentive service.

www.acquarello.ch

Piazza Cioccaro 9 – 6900 Lugano

Tel: +41 (0)91 911 68 68

Hotel Delfino

Due to its position south of city center and in a more residential area, the Delfino is both a bit higher in price, yet offers lovely rooms with balconies and lake views (request such when reserving). It takes about ten minutes to walk to the center of Lugano from the Delfino.

www.delfinolugano.ch

Via Cassarinetta 6  6900 Lugano, Switzerland
Tel: +41 (0)91 985 99 99

Restaurants:

Bistro Cyrano

Corso Enrico Pestalozzi 27

6900 Lugano

Tel: +41 (0)91 922 21 82

www.bistrocyrano.ch

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: