Priti Devi’s Travel Black Book

In love by a lake

Owner of Decorator's Notebook, an online shop, spent her honeymoon at Lake Como in Italy

Who: Singaporean Priti Devi, 50, founder and owner of Decorator's Notebook (, an online shop for interior design. She is married to banker Tarun Kataria, 53, and they have a daughter, Ms Shaiyra Devi, 23.

Favourite destination: Lake Como, Italy

Why: Lake Como is where my husband and I spent our honeymoon and where we have visited with our daughter about four times.

Favourite hotel: We always stay at Villa D'este (, one of the most beautiful, historic villas on the banks of Lake Como, with unobstructed views of the water. I love it for its classic European elegance and formality. The rooms are plush and luxurious. Apart from the deluxe rooms and suites at Villa D'este (starting at about $1,100 a night), it also offers three renovated 19th-century villas (price upon request) for short stays for larger family groups.

Favourite restaurant: Il Gatto Nero ( serves hearty Italian cuisine. It has a spectacular view of the lake below and is beautiful at night. It is allegedly a favourite of actor and Lake Como resident George Clooney.

Among the house specialities are spaghetti alla chitarra con carbonara di fave e pecorino di Pienza (spaghetti with broad beans and Pecorino cheese) and risotto alla parmigiana con ganassino (risotto with parmesan cheese and braised beef). Prices range from 13 euros (S$20) to 32 euros a dish.

Favourite museum: Villa Carlotta ( was built at the end of the 17th century and has an incredible collection of sculptures and paintings collected by Gian Battista Sommariva (1760- 1826), an avid art collector and previous owner of the museum.

Its extraordinary history, well- preserved frescoes, artworks and gorgeous botanical gardens make it a special place to visit.

Favourite tourist site: The highlight of Como is its gorgeous lake. From its banks in summer, one often sees teams in sculling boats rowing past, joined by speedboats with water skiers attached .

After lunching at one of the many trattorias along the waterfront, take a cruise ( around the lake and enjoy views of stunning private villas and little villages dotted around the lake.

What to see outside Lake Como: There are a number of famous towns - Varenna, Termenzzina, Lenno and Bellagio - around Lake Como.

Bellagio is one of the most popular ones because it has a beautiful tree-lined waterfront promenade with cafes and restaurants. The Romanesque Basilica di San Giacomo, the main church which dominates the piazza, is worth a visit for its frescoes and statues.

You can get to Bellagio, about an hour's drive from Como, and other towns by rental car, bus or ferry (

Event to bookmark: The Lake Como Festival (, a series of chamber music concerts held in intimate spaces within the beautiful villas and gardens overlooking Lake Como, runs from April to October. Go to the website to book seats.

Traveller's advice: A visit to Lake Como could range from a day trip from Milan to a three- to six-day break. Make reservations for popular restaurants, sites and arts events well in advance, especially if you plan to visit during the busy summer period. Also remember that prices at all these places escalate a great deal at the height of the season.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 15, 2015, with the headline 'In love by a lake'. Print Edition | Subscribe