The title is a mixture of American English and Italian, so I will give it some context. Lake Como is the third largest of all the Italian lakes and, as you will see from the map, the lakes are situated at the southern side of the Alps. Indeed, two of the lakes have an international border between Switzerland and Italy in the middle of them.
This Greenway (public footpath) is six miles long and has been constructed on the west side of Lake Como’s central area. It was funded by the EU and would not have been cheap to commission. Many sections have newly laid pavements, and there are circular metal path markers every fifty yards or so. Finding decent walks along any of the Italian lakes is often very problematic as many have sheer cliffs down to the water. Overcrowded roads which follow the contours of the lakesides are no place for tourists; especially when stopping to take photographs.
My wife and I have enjoyed five holidays in the Italian lakes, each of one week: one at Lake Garda, one at Lake Maggiore and three at Lake Como. At Lake Como we stayed in Bellagio once and in Lenno twice.
All the lakes have their own character and charm. I would suggest Lake Como has the most gentile and aristocratic atmosphere; whilst Maggiore is more bustling and developed. Maggiore, though, would really need a separate article to describe all its attractions and allure.
We have been fortunate enough to visit all of the Italian Lakes (except Lake Iseo) as we hired a car on four occasions and on the fifth occasion we took a package holiday which introduced us to Lake Orta: The town of Orta San Giulio and its island are certainly worth seeing.
In all our visits to the area, we were impressed by the stunning scenery, picturesque lakeside towns, grand villas, historic gardens and steamer rides. Of course, one can simply relax at lakeside cafes and watch the world go by. Although all this may seem idyllic, the weather is not always predictable, and it can rain very heavily in the Italian lakes. It even snowed in May on the nearby hills at Lenno one year.
One of the other great joys of holidaying for me is the opportunity to try and take some decent “snaps”.
So let me move onto the subject of photography. For many years I have had an interest in photography and, for my 50th birthday some 22 years ago, I treated myself to a week’s landscape photography course in Tuscany with two tutors and ten participants. Whether you, the reader, when viewing these photographs would say the money was well-spent is yet another matter.
It was during the course of our series of holidays to the Italian lakes that I changed from film to digital photography. In 2012, I had bought a bunch of pre-paid slide processing vouchers from Jessop’s photographic company, and then they went bust and so I wasn’t able to use them. That was the trigger for me to use my digital camera full time. I still have some Velvia film in my freezer, though I doubt I will ever use it.
This article aims to recommend the Greenway del Lago di Como as a delightful walk which also presents a wide variety of photographic opportunities: expansive vistas, narrow alleyways, historic villas or perhaps the tourists themselves. This lakeside footpath is probably unrivalled in the Italian Lakes.
Additionally, the image quality of my Sony RX100 Mk 1 can be assessed. Do later RX100 iterations have that much better image quality, if at all?
Rather than using Google Earth, I would like to use three photographs I took 16 years previously to set out the geography of the central section of Lake Como. My photographs also show about half of the Greenway route as seen from the opposite side of the lake. They were taken from our panoramic accommodation south of Bellagio.
I used a Minolta Dynax 700si camera loaded with Fuji Velvia film. The slides were later scanned using a Plustek scanner and SilverFast software.
The above photograph of Menaggio lakeside and all subsequent photographs were taken with my RX100 compact camera.
Would you agree that there is a difference in the crispness of this digital photograph as compared with my previous three scanned photographs? Velvia film, however, was always a landscape photographers’ choice as it had a “punch” in its colours. So my RX100 images may have more crispness than scanned Velvia but do they in the readers’ mind lack “punch” which perhaps would be preferable for landscape and travel photography?
As an aside, when my Velvia slides were viewed through my Leica projector on a large screen, they are very acceptable; though I admit my large screen hasn’t been put up for the last few years.
Also, I find scanning slides challenging as I never seem to get the colours exactly right.
However, let’s move onto the subject of the Greenway itself.
There is an excellent website giving full details of the Greenway del Lago del Como; so please click the link and read what you want and perhaps watch the video. The “walker” covers the six miles in 3 minutes 44 seconds!
Also, here is a link to the helpful interactive map.
My 15 photographs shown below are taken on the Greenway from north to south; though the eagle-eyed reader will gather we did not walk the full six miles and indeed, the picture immediately below was taken from a steamer.
I remember several years ago lugging a heavy tripod, camera case and a big telephoto lens up and down mountains. A particular trip to the Mannlichen in the Swiss Alps comes to mind. Although the images of the north face of the Eiger and the Silberhorn were worth the effort, I wouldn’t do it again as I am 20 years older. Fortunately, modern compact cameras can produce a very pleasing image quality without heavy equipment. My RX100 is ideal for me at the moment, though I am tempted to upgrade as I feel a viewfinder might be useful.
As to which model if at all; I can also be guided by the excellent articles below:
- Sony RX100 VI Review: The teeniest with the mostest – Macfilos
- Sony RX100 VII brings Alpha 9 speed – Macfilos
- Sony RX100V: Is it the travel camera for me? – Macfilos
I was interested to read in the article: “Is it the travel camera for me?”, that “Babsky tweaks” were made to the creative style menu to give the RX100 photographs more life. I experimented on a recent walk near Felixstowe docks and I agree the vivid setting is over the top. As for tweaking the standard setting, I’m not sure.
So for those readers who are thinking of different holiday destinations once borders are opened once again, I thoroughly recommend the Italian Lakes and Lake Como in particular as a holiday destination. Don’t forget to take your camera.