After breakfast at the hotel we headed for a ruined castle that sits on the top of a hill high above Varenna. It’s a considerable hike and climb to get to it, but well worth the effort. As ruins go, it’s nicely maintained and reasonably accessible. (There’s a road that goes to it on the other side of the mountain, but not from the lake side.)
The castle, which is really more of a fortress has a small bailey in picturesque ruins with a couple of towers, including a four-story guard tower in the center, accessed by a stone staircase along the wall and then crossing a wooden drawbridge to the first story.
Within the center guard tower is a display of a fossil that has been found in the area, of a dinosaur that has been found only one other place in the world: China. Climbing to the top of the tower offers a truly astonishing view of the surrounding countryside, no doubt the reason for its placement there in the first place.
Coming back down involved another fairly long steep hike. Stopped in at a little ceramics shop where the young lady made amazing ceramics. Bought a few things for gifts. Then down and down some more to the town on the harbor. Delightful place. We had a drink and lunch on a patio overlooking the lake.
Steph and Joe took Freya down to the minimal beach on the lake to dabble her feet. She wasn’t impressed by the water, but enjoyed playing with pebbles. We walked along the lakefront promenade past many other bar/restaurants, boat landings, and little shops.
The day was Steph’s birthday, and we celebrated it with dinner at another fantastic restaurant, Quattro Cento, where we feasted on more fabulous food and amazing desserts.