Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

Closer than Croatia, and the views are breathtaking. The Como area can be easily explored by car

. Colorful tenement houses, cobblestone streets bathed in sunlight, majestic villas and adjacent picturesque terraced gardens make the area around the popular lake a favorite not only among filmmakers (e.g. Bond and “Star Wars” were shot here), but also among stars and celebrities. Suffice it to mention that Mick Jagger, Jennifer Lopez with her husband Ben Affleck, and Brad Pitt have been seen in Como, and Madonna and Sylvester Stallone have or had their residences here.

However, the most famous star couple, permanently settled in the town of Laglio in the Italian Como, are George Clooney and his wife Amal, whose villa is currently worth over $100 million. However, anyone who thinks that this company was able to change the character of the richest region of Italy would be wrong. After all, it is located just over 40 kilometers from the Italian fashion capital of Milan, .

In addition to exorbitantly expensive hotels and exclusive villas, you will find budget accommodation options in charming guesthouses, and next to elegant restaurants, pocket-friendly places with delicious home-made Italian cuisine. — it is easy to get here from the airports in Milan or Bergamo by public transport, there is also water transport available – ferries run between most of the towns located around the lake. However, the greatest fun and freedom comes from traveling by car – in these beautiful natural surroundings I drove the smallest and fastest Volvo model in the history of the brand – EX30.

The choice of place was not accidental, although at first glance the brand from the cold North has little in common with the hot temperament of the South, but as one of the stylists cooperating with the Swedish brand said about the new electric car, “it's an espresso shot of Volvo style”. Indeed, EX30, like the most popular Italian coffee, is small, strong, condensed and can give a kick. The austere, although for a Volvo quite sophisticated and at the same time designer style of the body, the minimalist interior finish, for the production of which mainly recycled materials were used, including plastic PET bottles and old fishing nets, and gray jeans upholstery, make the manufacturer's smallest model with Gothenburg attracts attention and evokes positive emotions. However, I somewhat suspect that it is also, or perhaps primarily, due to the two blonde-haired girls who accompany me on this trip.

The towns on the Como River and the narrow streets running through them with numerous, often ridiculously sharp turns are a perfect place to test this agile and small car packed with safety systems. Italians can drive quite carelessly, and they rarely use the brake pedal, especially when driving downhill or cutting corners in such a way that more sensitive hearts are exposed to a heart attack when they do not expect that a vehicle will suddenly jump out from behind a rock at the speed of light, At first glance, its glory days were behind it in the last century.

Maneuverability and small size also help when suddenly on a road that, according to all rules, should be one-way, and which, in addition, is separated from a steep mountain slope only by a poor barrier, a truck appears and you have no right to pass it, and yet despite the beeping warning systems that detect obstacles in front and on the sides, you maneuver so smoothly that you pass the giant by millimeters without any damage, but still with your heart on your sleeve.

After such experiences, you can find a moment of respite in the charming pubs that dot the towns on Como. One such place that is stunning not only with its food but also with its view is Il Gatto Nero in Cernobbio. The panorama of the Alps and the lake from the restaurant windows is as breathtaking as driving along the narrow provincial roads.

. According to gossip portals, the popular actor rarely leaves his villa, wanting to avoid crowds and protect his privacy. Additionally, as he admitted in one of the interviews, he cooks at home and he likes it very much, so the chances of meeting him are rather slim, but he is certainly one of the reasons why this beautifully situated restaurant is popular.

located on a headland and surrounded by water on three sides. A beautiful resort with elegant boutique hotels and luxury brand stores tempts you at any time of the year, although residents claim that it is in spring that it shows its most beautiful face, when rows of camellias and rhododendrons begin to bloom profusely.

I also travel between atmospheric towns by ferry adapted to transport cars – this way I can visit selected places in an easy and accessible way if our time is limited. When visiting other places on a single charge, you can travel over 300 kilometers while using the “one pedal driving” option and significantly recovering energy. The battery is so capacious that it would easily last for an additional 100 hours and another day of riding.

In nearby Milan, the electric Volvo also works great. Adaptive cruise control and driving assistance systems, as well as the agility of this compact SUV, are very helpful not only in narrow, crowded streets, but especially in situations when you suddenly need to quickly change lanes, because the built-in Google Maps navigation, although useful, sometimes indicates a slightly “non-obvious” direction. way.

Parking between the vehicles densely parked along the sidewalk is also not a problem thanks to the cameras. When I go out for dinner and leave Limoncello, as I affectionately call my travel companion, at a nearby charging station whose ceiling emits light imitating the northern lights, it turns out that Milanese teenagers also appreciate Swedish design combined with original lighting and take photos in front of the car, and their sophisticated poses would probably put to shame many models walking along the famous via Monte Napoleone.

The Como region has a wide gastronomic and tourist offer to suit virtually every budget. Beautiful views, atmospheric towns, historic cathedrals and excellent Lombardy cuisine will bring solace to all those looking for peace. And for fans of thrilling experiences, I can recommend a drive on Italian highways in the EX30 Twin version. 428 horses and 3.9 seconds to 100 km/h are performance worthy of the best sports models. It is true that they also expose us to as quick as close encounters with the Italian police, but that is a completely different story…

PS. These uniforms are truly enchanting!