Bellagio, Italy

 

Under the northern Italian sun, sapphire water meets lush mountainside to cradle cobblestone stairways that wind between pastel-colored villas and flower-adorned windowsills. The cobbled steps climb toward cafés and gelaterie, and descend along tree-lined avenues. They even pose in photographs, lending more charm to the already photogenic landscape.

Beautiful Bellagio, aptly named with a prefix of bella (Italian for “beautiful”), lounges glamorously on the riverbank Como. With centuries-old villas and the Swiss Alps lending to the backdrop, who could resist the lure of this effortlessly romantic town?

 

 

You might not think it, but this picturesque beauty has been a strategic military vantage point throughout history – the ancient Romans, the medieval Spaniards, and the Napoleonic army have all laid claim to this coastal real estate. Scan the surroundings, however, and a battleground is the furthest thing from mind.

 

 

Despite the Italian Bellagio welcoming tourists from across the globe, an online search engine might prefer to present you with results for Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas.

 

 

While the hotel features a sizable (artificial) lake and dancing fountains, there’s no confusing it with Como’s “Pearl of the Lake.” After paddling across the blue pearl and cycling its winding mountain roads, you can afford to indulge in some dessert with a view.

 

 

Colors appear to shift across the panorama of water and sky, and you briefly chuckle at the idea that certain shades of blue could have been inspired by this scenery. Look up! Wouldn’t you agree?

 

 

This is Caroline, signing off under a cerulean blue sky over aquamarine waters.