Finding Family at Lake Como

My great grandfather, Vincent Domencetti, was originally from Dongo, Italy on Lake Como.

I had debated whether this was the right trip to visit Lake Como and the surrounding cities due to the amount of things that we were trying to see around Italy. In the end, I was too excited to visit where my family was from that I couldn’t pass it up.

We ended up staying one night in a hotel in Como- Borgo Antico Hotel. The hotel was nice but nothing particularly special. There was a nice free breakfast, but because we had to leave for the train very early in the morning, we couldn’t take advantage of it. The Airbnb options weren’t the best either so we decided against that.

When we arrived, we got our boat passes and took the ferry around Lake Como. There are two ferry options the faster only goes to the major towns, while the slower stops at each small town along the way. Lake Como was absolutely gorgeous though as it is in the Italian Alps.

On a trip my great Uncle Bob took to Italy, he found out that our family had a palace in the city of Dongo which is a smaller city on Lake Como. This was a palace belonging to the Manzi family which is the family of my great, great grandmother – Theresa Manzi.

The city was mostly residential with a few restaurants and a city hall. The city hall used to be the Manzi Palace. The family gifted it to the city to use as a city hall. It is currently still used as a city hall, a tourist office, and a World War 2 museum. Dongo was one of the cities that Mussolini stopped at during his attempted escape from Italy.

Unfortunately, we got there at lunch time so weren’t able to enter the museum and the next tour wasn’t for a few hours. We decided to just try to explore the building on our own and to head back to the ferry.

We then stopped at Bellagio, which is a bit touristy for my taste but also a lovely small Italian town.

Finally, we were back in Como for dinner and a ride up the mountain in a funicular which is similar to the inclines in Pittsburgh. The views from the top were gorgeous!

Here are some additional pictures from around Como:

Our one day at Lake Como was so relaxing. I could definitely come back for a week or two for a nice Italian lake vacation.

Upcoming Posts:
  • That one day in Verona
  • Ljubljana – City of Dragons
  • Roadtrip to Budapest
  • Living on the Beach in Croatia
  • Spontaneous trip around the Balkans

A very quick stop in Milan for the 2015 Expo

The first World’s fair was held at Hyde Park in London in 1851. There is some debate as to if this was really the first exhibition but it is certainly the most famous ‘first’. Over the years, we have begun to refer to the fair as an expo. When I found out that the Expo was going on in Milan, I knew that we had to stop and experience it. I mean how often do you just happen to be passing through Italy and get a chance to attend one of the world fairs?!

The event was massive! It was really quite overwhelming. There were two options on tickets for the events – a day pass for about $40 and a night pass for about $5. Since we were planning to spend the entire day there, we opted for the more expensive option. If we would have had more time in Milan, maybe we would have gone with the evening pass and attended multiple times.

The Expo was featured around the city as well. I was particularly impressed with the light show featured at the Duomo in the City Center. Even though, we were being surrounded by mosquitoes, it was a great way to end the evening.

Again, we had an excellent stay at an Airbnb. This one also had a piano!! 🙂

The theme for the year was “Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life”. My mom and I were able to try some excellent food from various countries.

I was very impressed with the beautiful pavilions designed for each country represented at the event. Each had it’s own personality and tried to provide some meaningful insight into the values of that country. Here are some pictures of my favorites:

If you plan to visit one of the World’s fair in the future, start planning your trip to Kazakhstan in 2017 or Dubai in 2020.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a ton of time to explore Milan this time. I absolutely plan to be back! 🙂