If you don't fancy staying in Bellagio itself (while it is a lovely town, it can be quite crowded and restaurants can be pricey), then consider hiring a villa or apartment in Lezzeno. It's the nearest village to Bellagio on the Como-Bellagio road. It has fantastic lake views, overlooking Villa Balbianello and Isola Comacina. All the villages on the main road are clinging to the lakeside, using every available horizontal/terraced space for housing, gardens, parking. The main road is very narrow -- you would not go for a leisurely passegiata along them, but have to cling to the kerb to avoid the passing cars periodically. There are a few points in most villages where you can avoid the main road by taking shortcuts through the older sections of town (e.g., in Lezzeno cutting through the Rozzo frazione takes you directly into the back end of the church plaza). However all of these villages, including Lezzeno, let you experience the non-touristy local life. Very little English is spoken but your hundred words of Italian and the locals' 100 words of English, plus hand gestures, are enough to get by!

Transport -- Lezzeno is a series of hamlets strung out over around 4 miles. The Villa hamlet is near the end of town closest to Bellagio, and from the lakeside it's about a 5-minute walk up to the C30 bus stop on the main road (the bus route runs along the Como-Bellagio road, about 15 min. to Bellagio from Villa and 45 min. to Como along the narrow winding road that runs in the hills above the lake). It's about a 15-minute walk to the ferry landing stage, which is in the centre of town, just below the church plaza's clock tower and town hall.

On timetables, "Fer" means Ferie and that it runs on weekdays (Fer6 = Mon to Sat); "Fest" means Festivale and it only runs on Sundays and holidays; "Scol" means scolastica and it only runs during school termtime weekdays.

Bus C30 -- runs every 60- 90 minutes or so during the week, every 2-3 hours on Sundays. Get a copy of the timetable from the tourist information office on Bellagio pier. You need to buy your ticket (from the local Alimentari or Bar) before you get on the bus; you may find it easiest to buy return tickets at the same time (its the same ticket, so even if you don't use it on the return trip, you could use it on your next outward trip to the same destination instead).

Ferry -- there are limited ferries/hydrofoils from 9 am to 12 noon (several early morning but just one at 10.37am), but you can catch the bus to Bellagio to start some trips, then catch the more frequent hydrofoil/slow boat back to Lezzeno in the afternoons. Another option is to catch the 10.37am slow boat over to Lenno and start trips from there as Bellagio and Lenno have much more frequent boat services. Note that there are steep steps down (and back up!) from the road to the Ferry landing stage at Lezzeno, definitely not suitable for the disabled or for those carrying pushchairs. There is no ticket office at the Lezzeno ferry landing, so you pay for your ticket onboard. (if you board at other stops where they have a ticket office, you need to buy your ticket beforehand or else pay a surcharge for buying it onboard). You can pick up a ferry timetable at any stop with a ticket office (they usually have a few available onboard as well).

With carefully planning around the timetables, you can get around the lake and all the places to see from Lezzeno!

Reductions -- remember there are reductions on ferries and entry to most places, if you are over 65 and from another EU country (usually the reductions are only available Monday to Friday). If you are from the UK, and are a National trust member, take your membership card with you - the Villa Balbianello is run by the Italian National trust and will give you free entry if you show your UK card.

Grocery -- Lezzeno has a few Alimentaris -- think of your local corner Spar or mom'n'pop shop rather than a fully stocked supermarket, but you can get enough to get by and cook in your villa/apartment for a few nights. See the article on Lezzeno Restuarants for 2 great suggestions for eating out. Go to the Alimentari in the Villa hamlet -- very friendly owner who goes out of her way to be helpful -- or the Alimentari da Rosa on the main road in Sosta hamlet (they also sell bus tickets to Bellagio/Como here). Remember most shops shut in the 1pm to 4pm period.

Restaurants -- see the article Lezzeno Restaurants -- highly recommended Hotel Villa Aurora restuarant (fish and meat) and Ittiturismo restaurant (mainly fish).

Coffee/Drinks -- the bar at the Hotel Aurora or Bar Tita (next to the Ittiturismo restaurant on the main road near the end of town closest to Bellagio -- recently remodeled and quite stylish, mix with the locals) or Bar Salmerino (next to the Alimentari in the Villa part of town, just below the main road; not very scenic but friendly and also full of locals.).

Post office -- this is in the centre of town, next to the town hall and across from the church/clock tower/"main square" (it's tiny!) -- it has the little yellow "PT" sign outside it and is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 2 pm, Saturday from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Everyone in Lezzeno is very friendly, they always say hello in passing, and are genuinely helpful if you needed directions, etc. Yes, the busy narrow road through town is a shame, but it's the same for all the villages along this side of the lake, and living among the locals and with cheaper restaurant prices, more than made up for it. If you rent accommodation, try to get a place right by the lake, it is truly magical (you can see the fish swimming as the water is so clear and there are lots of swifts, birds of prey, grebes, ducks and the passing boats to watch -- if you see the locals rowing face forwards standing up, they are in the traditional local "lucia" boats). Or opt for a place on the hill above the main road for spectacular views and peaceful nights.