Boat day on lake Lugano and rocking-out at the Harley Davidson’s music festival…sounds like a plan!

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Today is a very busy day! After being woken up by 2 little bandits who attacked me in bed, it’s off for a swim in the pool and breakfast with the Kass family. I’m really exited to be spending the day with both my childhood BFF’s: Fabrizio Malfanti and Gigi Nasoni, with whom I’ve been friends with since we were 15 years old; we even shared an apartment during our college years in Lausanne, Switzerland.

 

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Morning wake-up by local little bandits

 

One of the best things to do in summer in Lugano, is take a boat on the lake for the day and have lunch in one of the few amazing Grottos around the lake. Today Gigi is taking Fabrizio and me on his boat for the day and we are having lunch at Crotto del Lago (www.facebook.com/pages/Il-Crotto-Del-Lago) in Porlezza, in the Italian side of the lake. Crotto del Lago specializes in local fish dishes so the three of us have a field day gobbling up all sorts of specialties, not to mention a few bottles of “plonk”. After lunch, it’s time for calm and digestion, so Gigi takes us to his secret lagoon, somewhere on the lake, where you can swim and relax in total seclusion…except the curious swans and ducks. Swimming in a lake is so different from the ocean; the sweet, cool, green tinted water and the lush landscape around you, really create a unique experience.

Finally, it’s time for a tour around the lake and a peek at Campione d’Italia’s relatively new Casino designed by the famed Swiss-Italian architect Mario Botta. What strikes you about this building is it’s sheer size; so disproportionate to it’s small village environment; there’s big money at work for you. It’s time to go back to shore; tonight I’m having dinner with my family’s old butler: Ettore. Ettore worked for my family for 20 years and pretty much helped raise David and I in both our Swiss and London home; he is one of the most charming and kind Italian man with whom I have so many fond memories. I haven’t seen him in 15 tears so I’m really exited…he must be in his 80′ now and I can’t wait to hear all the tales from my youth, my parents, The Beatles and other icons that were hanging around the house in those days, London, etc… I remember that when I was little, I would blackmail him into paying me money to do the things that my mom and dad had asked him for me to do; I knew that he would get in trouble if I didn’t, so scalping a few pennies seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea…lovely child I was.

 

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Boarding Gigi Nasoni’s boat for the day


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Captain Gigi Nasoni

 

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Damn tourists…

 

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Approaching Crotto del Lago in Porlezza

 

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Table with a view

 

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Crotto del Lago’s Menu

 

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Beautiful lagoon

 

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Nothing like a swim in sweet waters

 

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Local visitors

 

IMG_4430The old customs building between Switzerland and Italy

 

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Stunning lake villa

 

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Small lake village

 

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Refurbished old farm house

 

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The very large Casino di Campione by Mario Botta

 

We are having dinner at Osteria la Palma (www.osterialapalma.ch) where they serve the BEST risotto al Barolo in the universe; I’m telling you, this dish is simply insanely good!!!! And I know… I’ve been around!!!! Barolo is an Italian, bold red wine, which is what they use for this local specialty. Jonathan, myself with family in toe, pick up a slightly frail Ettore at his home and off for dinner. Ettore is definitely emotional and overwhelmed by the whole situation;