Through His Words: Day Nineteen

2 May

Reflections From and About My Grandfather
Alexander Capraro, Architect


Day Nineteen
Grand Hotel Volta

Lake Como
August 3rd, 1938 (no letter written Aug.2)

Dear Majeski,

Arrived in Como last evening and immediately upon registering at this hotel, I stepped outside and ran into a lawyer friend, I.B. Perlman, and his family. He greeted me like a long-lost brother. He is staying at the famous Villa D’Este and invited me there for dinner. Well, this was a perfect set up for me as I did want to see that place so much and naturally, not staying there, I was rather hesitant about going there just to visit.

Villa D'Este website

Villa D’Este website

From Villa D’Este website: Set on the banks of one of the most romantic lakes in the world and just north of Milan, Villa d’Este was built in 1568 as the summer residence of Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio. The property comprises 25 acres of gardens, whose statues and landscape have been photographed for centuries.
Villa D'Este website

Villa D’Este website

It is necessary to take a boat to go there from Como, which is the town at one end of the lake, something like Lake Geneva, Wis., except that it is a lot more picturesque with little hills and mountains all around the lake and the mountain sides are dotted with houses and villas. At at any rate, I changed into the best I had, white pants and dark coat, and got there by 7 PM.

We had a cocktail outside and then he walked me around the grounds. This place is beautiful beyond description, great big magnolia trees, various other trees with big spreading branches and palm trees, and last but not least, the formal gardens.

Villa D'Este website

Villa D’Este website

Villa D'Este website

Villa D’Este website

I don’t know what they charge here but Perlman has been here 10 days and it must cost him plenty. They charge 8 lira (40c) for a cup of tea, so you can imagine what the other expenses and charges are.

For fun, I inquired about today’s rate for one person for the same date he was in Como, August 3. My quoted rate, for a classic room with courtyard view to a junior suite with lake view, ranged from 1360-3360 euro, or about $1900-$4700. For one night. But, it does include breakfast and tax! I think I’ll be like Maude and just be grateful for Alex’s photos and description.

The place has a large terrace right off the lake, and the back of it is quite steep. We walked up winding paths and  walks to create an appetite.

Villa D'Este website

Villa D’Este website

We finally sat down to dinner, al fresco, about 9:30  – practically every one in formal clothes except yours truly and a few others.

Villa D'Este website

Villa D’Este website

Well, now for the climax. King Alfonso was sitting just a few tables away, and several dukes and counts dotted the dining terrace. After dinner, they all move to another section of the garden where coffee is served, the tables set around a marble dance floor, lights hidden inside the foliage of the trees, and the people dance to the strains of soft music.

Villa D'Este website

Villa D’Este website

I left there at 11:55 at which time the last boat leaves for town.  This was really the first night I actually relaxed and rested instead of running my legs off, wrote a few postcards when I got back, and today I’m taking a trip on the lake to see a few other places and then to Milan.

Praying all is well at home and everyone is in good health and in good conduct, I am
Lovingly yours, Al

P.S. How is Clark’s office looking? It should be finished by now and really this is the first time I even thought of it. I haven’t seen the paper since I left and what is more, I don’t seem to be inclined to want to read anything. Have forgotten both offices, and the only thing ever in my mind are the thoughts of you and the children. I guess that is as it should be.

Grandpa, my sentiments exactly!

Mountains of love,  Al

A special kiss for Marion X and one for you X




2 Responses to “Through His Words: Day Nineteen”

  1. Deb May 2, 2014 at 1:00 PM #

    This has been one of my favorite postings to date! “I guess that is as it should be.”


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