Varenna, Italy – Photos, Video Screencaps, and the Art of George Guzzi

Recently I picked up the July issue of International Artist magazine because I was immediately able to identify the cover image (which is on the right –>). It was an artistic rendition of the harbor view of Varenna, which is a small lakeside town on Lake Como, Italy, by the American painter, George Guzzi.

I recognized it because a) I’d seen it in a Rick Steves travel video, b) because of that video, I traveled there myself just last fall, and c) because I like the work of the artist George Guzzi who paints with acrylics and who uses a palette knife.

It’s not often that I can illustrate one of my columns with images captured from a video, artwork, and my own photographs all of which are about the same topic, or in this case, same place. It makes for an interesting three way look at beautiful travel destination. As I hear on TV all the time – it’s all good.

But this was not my first exposure to Lago di Como. I first took notice of it with the works of artist Howard Behrens. So much so, that I wrote an article about his artistic works which you can glance at here.

In the world of cinema – A Month by the Lake, Ocean’s Twelve, and Casino Royale were amongst the most prominent films shot in the Lake Como region. It has also been said that American actor George Clooney has a home in the area. They say that he has a villa in Menaggio, which is directly across the lake from Varenna.

But I have to say that the clincher for me to decide to visit Lake Como, came from the Rick Steves’ DVD: Italy’s Cities which included a separate 1/2 hour segment called Milan and Lake Como. For Como, the specialty, or focus was Varenna and Bellagio. I stayed in both of them, as well as Milan.

You reach Varenna-Esino by train in a few minutes more than 1 hour from the Central Station in Milano. When you arrive you are above the town of Varenna which numbers between 800 and 900 permanent residents. Walk down the hill towards the lake. Go around a few turns and in about 10 minutes you’ll come to this small harbor.

Below – from the Rick Steves’ video:

Below – my own photo:

Below – and another by George Guzzi entitled August in Varenna:

There’s plenty to see when you are in Varenna besides the waterfront. This next painting by George Guzzi is called Above Varenna.

Right below are my own photographs of the same location.

Let’s have another look at that small harbor, this time with a few closer looks. First, a couple of my own photographs.

Then one from the Rick Steves DVD – featuring Rick Steves himself.

Finally, another by that creative artist George Guzzi called September in Varenna.

One more by Guzzi? Thought you’d never ask. This one (below) is entitled Mezzogiorno Varenna, and isn’t it fabulous.

Of course there is more to Varenna than just this small cove. But this cove is so beautiful – there’s the waterfront restaurant, from the Steves DVD  below – take note of the three sail boats.

You can see the same or similar sail boats in the same cove in this next one from the Steves DVD –

We can again see these boats from my balcony above the cove, but first, the steps up to my apartment. My entrance is just above those yellow flowers which are fourteen steps up.

The balcony view followed by the late afternoon view from the waterside restaurant and a restaurant view.

Finally – our last image is the George Guzzi painting looking back towards the restaurant from the water’s edge.

Ristorante Buca by George Guzzi

In my view, Varenna was a marvelous destination. As you can see from all of these images – it is a very picturesque and romantic place.


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