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Worldwide known as the “pearl of Lake Como”, Bellagio is suspended like a pendant on the promontory where the lake’s western and eastern arms split and head south.

It’s impossible not to be smitten by Bellagio’s waterfront of bobbing boats, its maze of steep stone staircases, red-roofed and green-shuttered buildings, dark cypress groves and rhododendron-filled gardens. It sits at the crux of the inverted Y that is Lake Como; the Como and Lecco arms of the Lake wash off to port and starboard.

Wandering out of the old town centre it is possible to reach the breathtaking Punta Spartivento, a privileged place to gaze north up the third arm towards the Alps.

Garden lovers can also stroll the magnificent grounds of neoclassical Villa Melzi, built in 1808 for one of Napoleon’s associates, and coloured by flowering azaleas and rhododendrons in spring. The gardens, adorned with statues scattered about, were the first Englishstyle park on Lake Como.