Our Anniversary to Italy: Part 12 – Hotel Eremo Gaudio in Varenna, Italy

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Emily Jablon:  Daraius and I went to Europe in September to celebrate our 2nd anniversary for ~2 weeks.  It was my first time in Italy so I was very excited!  In Italy, we visited Varenna on Lake Como, Milan, Venice, and Rome.

Since we were in Europe, we visited a friend in Strasbourg, France and also spent a night in Zurich.  We started our trip with a one day layover in Chicago to see friends!

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Emily at Hotel Eremo Gaudio Overlooking Lake Como

Our Anniversary To Italy – Trip Report Index:

Getting From Milan to Varenna

Varenna is only ~1 hour from Milan and is a delightful old town filled with pretty postcard views and a slower pace of life.  Daraius can’t wait to go back!

Daraius and I woke up early to take the morning train to Milan for our connecting train to Varenna, Italy.  We had breakfast in the Park Hyatt Zurich and then went to train station.

When we arrived at the train station, we waited for the display board to tell us which platform to go to.

The train ride was ~4 hours from Zurich to Milan.  I wrote some postcards and got some work done.  I slept a little while and soon we were in Milan.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

The Train Station was Very Busy

We bought tickets to Varenna from the kiosks at the Milan train station since we couldnt buy them in Zurich.  The tickets (from Milan to Varenna) were ~$14 and, in all, we paid ~$110 for the train rides from Zurich to Varenna.

We went into the Bistrot Milano Centrale, which was a food court in the train station.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

We Had Lunch at Bistrot Milano Centrale in Milan Train Station

We had some delicious pizza, soda, and a strawberry tart.  You select what you want and then pay at the check-out counter.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Daraius Looking Forward to his Pizza and Tart

The next train ride, from Milan to Varenna, was only 50 minutes and went by very fast.

It was only 3 euro (~$4) more for 1st class seats, so we splurged!

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

We Splurged and Paid 3 Euros Extra for First Class

The doors don’t open automatically when the train stops.   So be sure to open the train door otherwise you won’t get out and the train will go to the next station!  The station’s full name is “Varenna – Esino-Perledo”

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Emily Opening the Train Door

At Varenna, there were 2 taxis waiting outside the station.  It is about a 15 minute walk to the main square and about 25 minutes uphill walk to our hotel.  If you’re not staying up the hill, you can walk to your hotel.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Arriving at Varenna Train Station

The cab ride was 12 euro (~$15) to our hotel, which was on the opposite side of town.  We would have walked, if not for our luggage.  We immediately got the small-town Italy feel as the the taxi driver stopped a couple of times to have a short (but loud) chat with her friends along the way!

The town is small and it seems like everyone knows each other.  People were very friendly and helpful!

Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Our hotel, Hotel Eremo Gaudio, was uphill, ~10 to 15 minute walk from the main square.

If we had chosen to walk, it would have been easy to find since there was a big sign pointing the way.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Sign in Square Pointing the way to Hotel Eremo Gaudio

We learned about this hotel from the Rick Steves’ Italy book.  Rick describes this hotel as “for monks with champagne tastes.”   Varenna was a last minute addition to our schedule, so most hotels had sold out of regular rooms and had only suites available.

So we splurged 230 euro or ~$300 for the “Teodolinda” suite.  The view was well worth it!

The hotel is a former monastery.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

The Exterior of the Hotel Eremo Gaudio

There are 2 sets of rooms – lower and upper level rooms.

These are the lower level rooms, which don’t have great views.  But you can always go up to the reception area where the views are better.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

The Hotel has a Lower Level of Rooms

Our room was on the upper level, so we had to take the hotel’s funicular to the top.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Gorgeous Views From the Hotel

There were 2 sets of funiculars.  One to the mid-level.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Emily Waiting at the Outside Elevator

And another to the upper rooms.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Funicular Rails Leading to Upper Rooms

It was a long way up to our rooms.  Good thing I’m not scared of heights!

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Our Room was Pretty High up the Mountain

The highlight of our room was the outdoor patio that overlooks the lake and mountains.

It was one of the best views which we’ve seen from a hotel.  Here’s a video of our room and the view!

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

There was an Outdoor Patio Overlooking Lake Como

From our patio we had a great view of Lake Como and the mountains.  It was so beautiful, picturesque and peaceful!

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Emily on the Patio With Lake Como in the Background

The outdoor terrace had lots of seating…

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

There Were Plenty of Chairs to sit and Enjoy the View

and gorgeous views.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

View of Lake Como From our Patio

The arched stone windows really made the views even more dramatic.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

The Arched Windows Emphasized the View

Lake Como is so gorgeous.  And our view was so perfect, it could have been photoshopped!

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Our Picture Perfect View of Gorgeous Lake Como

I could have stayed on the patio for hours, just admiring the view.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Daraius Could Never get Tired of a View Like This

We stayed and watched as a ferry boat crossed the lake.  It’s views like this that make splurging (every once in a while) worth it!

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

The Room was Expensive, but had Good Views!

We could even see the mountains and Lake Como from the front door of our room.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

We Could see Lake Como and the Mountains From our Door

Here’s the simple entrance to our room.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Door to a Room With a View

There was a small entry way when you walked in.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

There was a Small Entryway

On the left side was a dresser and mirror.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

The Room had a Dresser and Mirror

On the other side was a sofa.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

There was a Small Sofa

The bedroom was to the right, under the arched stone doorway.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Arched Stoneway Leading to the Bedroom

The bed was two twin beds pushed together.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

The Bed was Made up of Two Twin Beds

Across from the bed was a chair, luggage stand, a small desk, and TV.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

The Room had a Small Desk and TV.

There was a mini fridge under the desk.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Desk With Refridgerator Underneath

The rest of the room was fairly basic, but large and clean.  The internet wasn’t very fast and Daraius couldn’t connect to the blog easily.

But you’re really paying for the views!

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Emily Eager to go Back to the Patio for the Views

Another set of arched doors led outside to the patio.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Arched Doors Leading to the Patio

This was my favorite part of the hotel!

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

You Can See Daraius Sitting on the Patio

We could sit out there for hours.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Emily Relaxing on the Patio

I couldn’t get enough of the views and stone archways.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Patio’s Stone Archways Framing the View of Lake Como

There was an extra bed for families.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

There was a Murphy Bed

and a closet.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

There was a Small Closet

The bathroom was a bit small, but functional.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Small but Functional Bathroom

There was a walk-in shower…

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

The Room had a Walk-in Shower

and sink and mirror.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

The Bathroom had a Small Sink and Mirror

The rest of the hotel had common areas which also had great views.

There was a terrace to enjoy the views even more.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

There was a Terrace at Top

Since this was a former monastery, there was an old chapel.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

There was an old Chapel

We walked up a floor, from the chapel, to the roof terrace.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

View From the Top of the Terrace

There were more gorgeous views of Varenna  from the top.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Views of Veranna From Hotel Roof Terrace

The hotel also had a restaurant on the terrace (Terrace Cafe), where we had free breakfast.  There were tables and chairs with a nice view.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Every Table in the Restaurant had a View

There was a small selection of food, both packaged and fresh.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Emily at the Breakfast Buffet

There were eggs, bread, and butter…

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

The Buffet Included Eggs, Bread, and Butter

and yogurt and pastries.  It wasn’t extraordinary, but it filled our tummies.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

Yogurt and Pastries Were Also Included

One evening, we went to the hotel for dinner.  The prices were reasonable, at about 10 euro or ~$14.  But the menu stated that some meals were frozen!

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

The Restaurant’s Prices Were Reasonable

We ordered lasagna…

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

We had Frozen Lasagne

and gnocci with gorgonzola sauce.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

We Also Ordered Gnocchi With Gorgonzola Sauce

Both meals were pretty good, and they did taste like they may have been a frozen meal.  However, it saved us the 30 minutes from walking back and forth to town, and the views were hard to beat!

That said, the food is much tastier at the restaurants in town.

Varenna Italy Hotel Eremo Gaudio

View While Eating Dinner at the Hotel Restaurant

Bottom Line

Daraius loved the Varenna and would go back in a heart-beat.  It was small, friendly, and beautiful!  It was a great place for us to recharge before heading to the big city of Milan.

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35 responses to “Our Anniversary to Italy: Part 12 – Hotel Eremo Gaudio in Varenna, Italy

  1. love the pic of Emily in that awesome view! congrats on your anniversary

  2. George Clooney couldn’t have a better view.

  3. Just a little curious about the writing style, how come there is a description about the pictures above and a caption for the pictures below describing the exact same thing as above?
    Seems like a lot of repetitive information..

  4. Finally — the good stuff!!!

  5. Compared to a busy day at rush hour, that picture of the “busy” Milan Centrale looks like it’s deserted!

    Did you ride the ferry to Bellagio?

  6. @ anita- Thanks! It was an awesome view!

    @ Beach Miles- I agree! 🙂

    @ LarryInNYC- Yes, we did take the ferry to Bellagio. Stay tuned for details!

  7. Is D wearing the same t-shirt/outfit in all the snaps? In fact, I recall him wearing this brown or grey crew in pretty much all of your trips! Must be a light packer!

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  19. The view of that lake and the surrounding scenery has to be ranked up there as one of a lifetimes best views! Amazing location!

  20. emily – you’re not a very good writer – please let it to darius

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  34. Since you splurged extra 3 euro for first class. What is the difference for these regional trains? Do you get a reserved seat?