My Italian Grand Tour: Lake Maggiore


My time in Italy has rapidly drawn to a close. I’ve had wonderful Autumnal weather and in the short time I was here I’ve seen just a glimpse of the very many beautiful Villas and Gardens.  It’s a place you can easily do on your own (as in not needing a tour guide), however it is really convenient (and relaxing) to have someone else organise travel and other matters….

So my last few days/nights were spent in Pallanza on Lake Maggiore.  Our garden visits concentrated on the western edge of Lake Maggiore, with the first day on the Borromean Islands, between Stresa and Pallanza.

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My Italian Grand Tour: Villas of Lombardy


We left Lake Como and travelled through Lombardy into Piedmont to Lake Maggiore; visiting some special villas along the way. Our first stop was Villa Cicogna Mozzino, in a village north of Varese. It was a home originally built as a hunting lodge for the Mozzoni family in 1400!. It has remained with the Mozzoni family until this day.

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My Italian Grand Tour: Lake Como


Hello Everyone from Italy! I am now in Bellagio, Lake Como starting a Gardens & Villas tour with Martin Randall Travel (MRT). The weather was mild and warm, with misty mornings across the lake. I visited Lake Como many years ago, in another life, during a work/supplier meeting. I always remembered a wonderful Villa I saw on a boat trip then that perched on a peninsula strutting out onto Lake Como.  This time I got to visit it – Villa Balbianello…

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Netherlands: Amsterdam and North Holland


After many recent trips to Europe, I am finally visiting Netherlands again, arriving and departing via the lovely Amsterdam Centraal Station. Two of my de Gooyer cousins now live in Amsterdam, which allowed for easy exploration of Amsterdam and beyond. I also visited my Mother’s (de Jong) side of the family in Den Haag. We had a lovely dinner at my cousins there, along with the obligatory bicycle ride around the city to see places where my parents lived. It was wonderful to re-acquaint myself with them and especially 2 of my Tantes – now 95 and 94! Continue reading “Netherlands: Amsterdam and North Holland”