On Como, one should certainly be able to dance tango, even in silk pajamas, but even better without it at all. Como is a lake of idle aristocrats, magnificent revelers and all lovers and spouses of all stripes in the world. Here, in local parks, chestnuts always seem to bloom, dropping their small flowers on travelers’ heads. The baroque towers of tiny towns and fertile villages past every timetable ring with a life-affirming battle of the old clock. Small helicopters and white-winged hang-gliders hover over Como, skirting the mountains carefully. And most importantly, it seems that in any weather on Como summer. Especially if you are sitting on the terrace of the Villa d`Este hotel in company with its famous director, the highly respected European hotelier Jacques Drulley – lover of nature in the lake, Swan Lake performed by the Mariinsky Theater, 12-year-old Scotch whiskey, Argentine tango and old British cars. Monsieur Drule takes a sip, waves his hand, and his musicians begin the tango. Piazzolla, of course.
Lake Iseo is the home of the magnificent foursome lake. Italians themselves rest here, so there are few visitors on the banks of Iseo. Many birds nest on the waters of Iseo, great Riva boats are built here, a lot of big and small fish live here, which sooner or later ends up in the kitchens of popular fish restaurants. There, in the ancient fish osterias, a foreigner is offered the most expensive, the rarest dish – a piece of veal. But you are aggressively asking for fish. Italians will be very surprised by such a request, because they believe that only they themselves are familiar with this famous local fish.
“Fish ?! Our signora wants our fish? Mario! Mario! But the rash is more like a rudd on a griddle!” According to our data, the rudd from Iseo does not even compare with the legendary rudd from the Lake Le Mans (in the restaurants of Geneva, this fish is affectionately called the “gun”). The rudd from Iseo is fatter for a hundred times. By the way, carp and trout, spotted, fried in small peas of pepper, are also highly recommended by us.
Even on Iseo, a rare foreigner in these parts, that is, you will be offered the most expensive wine. For example, the great Tuscan. Wine from Umbria, Piedmont or from the province of Veneto. But you persistently ask only franchacort. The district of Franciacorta – and this is the best Italian sparkling wine – is located right here, on one of the banks of Iseo. The plateaus of the vineyards descend almost to the water itself, the brown grape hooks protrude from the ground like some tops of wormholes. And what are the cheeses here! Tasting pieces of local cheeses – soft and hard, with a greasy yellow crust (this is a separate local dessert) – you can cover our Red Square.
And then, finally, it was the turn of Lake Maggiore. This code, a triumph, is the last chord of a lake trip. Maggiore is a ghost lake with the most complex coastal architecture. This is the deepest lake of all the great four. Here is the coldest water, even in summer she has some kind of ice taste.
The strongly extended Maggiore is a lake-theater full of shadows and highlights, playing in the water in the morning and in the evening. This lake wandered more than once, changed hands, changed state borders. Maggiore was located in different countries, it was conquered, subjugated, then returned again, again subjugated. Now Maggiore is located in the very north of Italy.
The most baroque, otherworldly, the most mystical. Its banks are carved by steep, unstable cliffs, to which small villages of fishermen, restaurants and houses of pretty local flower girls clung. In Maggiore are islands with neglected baroque villas (many of them, however, are excellent romantic hotels with ghosts in their rooms), surrounded by fragrant lemon orchards, in which you don’t even want to smoke (and in other people special people simply forbid smoking).
Of these same lemons make “Limoncello” and “Limoncino”, the most famous Italian dessert liqueurs, which say they prolong life. Maggiore – the magnificent end of the journey along the shores of the great Italian lakes.