Lake Como welcomes Tenaya Hurst

Tenaya Hurst shares her story about working at Arduino headquarters and visiting lake Como in Italy.
I turn the giant 4-inch long key to unlock the door of my new apartment, the “Art and Love suite”, then glance back at the lovely switchback street that took me up here before I step inside.  With a view from high on the hill, I can now call Lake Como Italy, my new home!  That’s right Arduino community, I’ve moved to Italy to work more closely with the team on very important educational projects.  Easter weekend has been the perfect time for me to get to know Como as a tourist and alpinista! 

The first bread I bought from the grocery store, warm, on the shelf.  The first cappuccino I ordered from the caffe, made me focused and light headed - all at the same time!  The first gelato I acquired, creamy and cool for a treat in Italian spring.  The first pasta I boiled in my apartment, best and most fresh I’ve ever had!  Anything tastes better after a 15 minute hike up the hill to my Art and Love suite. 

My routine begins each morning by walking down the switchback road and into town.  From here, I can visit museums, archaeological landmarks, and go on hikes.  The original downtown is a walled city, mostly just for foot traffic, the narrow streets make a wavy grid of 3 story buildings.  Como has been an international city for centuries, now tourists from Italy, Europe, and beyond are all happily shopping or strolling with gelato. 

In any new town, I like to get up on a hill to see the view.  In Como, there are mountains everywhere to explore, so first I visited the Castello Baradello.  The site has been occupied since B.C. by Celtic tribes, Romans and Byzantines, being a very good location to see South towards Milan, as well as all of Como.  The castle standing today was constructed in medieval times and Federico Barbarossa restored the complex in the twelfth century (and made the tower a little taller!)  The other side of the Como valley has a funicular to ride up to the town of Brunate.  Since 1894, this steep railway has helped people go between Como and the heavens of Brunate, in just 7 minutes!  From the top “train station,” there are many trails, so I hiked as high as I could go, to the top of Monte Boletto, 1235m!  From the top, you can see more of the lake towards the North and you can even see where George Clooney’s Villa is! 

Follow my experience living in Italy this summer on our Arduino blog and on social media!

Here are my tips if you’re visiting Europe or Italy this summer!

1 Bring and wear comfortable shoes!! Cobblestones, unpaved roads, rocks are sharp!  If you’re like me, bring two different pairs of shoes you like, wear one in the morning, one in the evening, switch often so you’re feet don’t know they’re tired.

2 Bring your own toiletries!  Just easier to have what you like.  Pharmacies are sometimes closed, only an express pharmacy, or items even like floss can sometimes be unrecognizable even if you find them!  (but don’t worry, I found some filo!)

3 Pedestrian right of way is something we mainly have in California.  Be very careful crossing any street, wave and hold out your hand so drivers see you.  Giving a thankful smile should work in any country.

4 Italians love to give receipts, it must be a law or something…appease them by taking the receipt, even if you don’t need to keep a record on file of how many gelatos you buy…

5 Beware of maps made for tourists, they may not show the topography lines, so a quick little walk in reality is a very steep sloped hike!



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