For the last stop of our month-long holiday in Germany, Switzerland and Italy, we (I was travelling with my wife and teenage son) spent three nights in mid-July at the Beautiful House in Como. It is a century-old, four-storey building just a little bit up the mountain on Via Torno on the eastern side of the city. From the Como Lago train station, you can walk up there in about 15-20 minutes (though the road was rather narrow, the drivers that we ran into were all very polite), or you can take the bus and get off at the first stop.
The owner, Vittoria, is a nice and charming lady who works in Milan but lives in Como, commuting every day. She picked us up at the main station, San Giovanni, on a Friday afternoon and showed us around our beautiful penthouse. The entrance was at the second floor, and we had to walk up with our suitcases because there was no elevator. The apartment was actually quite big, more than enough for three persons. It was clean and nicely decorated, and we were required to take off our shoes outside the studio (not a problem at all given the spacious landing at the top of the staircase) because Vittoria wanted to preserve the hundred-year old floor tiles in the kitchen. Its only shortcoming was that there were only three small windows, but they offered a great view of the city and the lake. Luckily, the air conditioning worked well in the simmering Italian summer.
The long and narrow studio flat can be divided into four sections. First, there was a big kitchen with all the facilities and utensils needed, including oil, salt and a range of other condiments. Vittoria was also kind enough to supply us with some bread, a basket of fruits, milk and a glass of white wine. Most important to my wife, the non-stick frying pan was quite new and well maintained with only a few scratches (most other pans that we had come across during our holidays tended to be full of scratches), and she put it to good use over the next few days.
Beyond the kitchen was a sizeable sitting room with a big sofa, a couple of armchairs, a desk, plus a single bed for my son. There was also a desktop computer, apparently used mainly for surfing the Internet and games, but we didn’t use it as I had my iPad and my son his own laptop. Next to the sitting room, a wall and a bookcase (filled with Italian, German and English fiction, magazines and children’s books) helped create a bedroom where there was a double bed for me and my wife. At the end of the place was a roomy bathroom with a bathtub.
We could also use the balcony on the third floor (where Vittoria lived, right below us), but we were too busy sight-seeing and didn’t really have time for it. On our last night, Vittoria invited us to her daughter’s birthday drinks on the balcony, and we had a great time talking to her, her friends and neighbours. Unfortunately, something tragic happened to her daughter’s dear friend that day, and the young girl only spent a short time with us.
All in all, it was not just a great apartment. The important point was that it had a great owner who was pleasant and beautiful.