A LITTLE “SLICE OF HEAVEN” HERE IN ITALY: LIVO

For many years now, I have heard from friends and colleagues, and I have read in travel magazines, books, and guidebooks, about places on this earth described as “a little slice of heaven”. I’ve spent a good bit of my travels over the last many years in search of such a place, and to some degree, have found a few places I could say meet my requirements at least to some degree.
I think I’ve finally found a place that gets really close to the full realization of “heaven on earth”, at least according to what I personally consider that to be. It is a place that is pure in it’s being, not ruined by commercial development and tourism. It is a place free of air and water pollution, and not given over to the needs of the automobile. It is a place where nature is integrated into the physical structure. My new discovery is Livo, Italy, a tiny little village way up on a mountainside overlooking the northern tip of Lake Como and the much larger waterfront town of Gravedona.
To get to Livo, there is only one narrow, winding road (it is paved), which is a great experience in itself, as it affords postcard views to the lake and towns below. Don’t drive this road yourself, it’s better to get someone to give you a ride or take the bus. There is a bus every hour, but check for holidays when there is no bus service. I had to change my itinerary due to a national holiday, and thankfully, I had the presence of mind to check with the tourist office first, otherwise, I could have wasted a lot of time waiting for a bus that was just not going to come. Anyway, by letting someone else deal with driving through the hairpin turns, you can enjoy the great views as a prelude to your arrival in “heaven”.
Lucily for me, I have a contact in Livo, Judith, a fellow American who has lived in Livo for some 20 years, and who was willing to give me the grand tour. Livo has a population of approximately 120, several of whom I was introduced to. In a town this size, everyone knows just about everything about everyone else. There are no house numbers, the mail man must memorize the names and locations of the entire population. In the main central square and meeting place , which is basically a widening in the road, there is the small bar/cafe/restaurant Sant’ Anna which has a pleasant little natural creek flowing along one side, giving the whole place a relaxing atmosphere. There are no other stores or businesses, so if you need anything else but an expresso or a pizza and beer or a real Italian meal, you must go down the hill to Gravedona. The rest of the town is composed of several pathways about which are perched ancient stone houses, some which are falling apart, but many have been renovated. There is electricity and water supply, so it is up to speed with modern necessities. A few totally new house are sprinkled throughout this little community, and luckily, they are designed to mostly fit into the existing vernacular. The overall atmosphere is peace, quiet, fresh mountain air and water. This is truly a great place to get away from whatever you may want to get away from.
Judith, her full name is Judith Moore-Shahverdian Lochaber, moved first to England with her then new husband some 22 years ago, They eventually wound up in Italy, and having found their heaven in Livo, they decided to stay. So, what does an American do in a small village in Italy? Well, Judith, Or Lady J as she likes to be called, teaches English as a second language both online and as an emersion course where students come to live in Livo or nearby for daily lessons. But Lady J does not just stop there. This enthusiastic and highly energetic lady also has started an international charity which raises money to help save, rehabilitate, vaccinate, spay, and find new homes for homeless cats, and will eventually develop her idea of Cat Cafes, places where people can go to relax, have a drink or snack while enjoying the company of the “resident” cats, many of which would be available for adoption. Please go to my next blog to read more about Lady J’s special charitable organization which is called Cafe’ Mici Amici.

Livo, Italy

Livo, Italy

Livo, Italy

Livo, Italy

Livo, Italy

Livo, Italy

Livo, Italy:  Sant' Anna's Trattoria

Livo, Italy: Sant’ Anna’s Trattoria

Livo, Italy: Sant' Anna's Trattoria

Livo, Italy:
Sant’ Anna’s Trattoria

Livo, Italy

Livo, Italy

Livo, Italy

Livo, Italy

Livo, Italy:  New Construction

Livo, Italy

Livo, Italy

Livo, Italy: New Construction

Livo, Italy

Livo, Italy

Livo, Italy

Livo, Italy: New Construction

Livo, Italy:  Lady J and me.

Livo, Italy: Lady J and me.

2 comments

  1. Fantastic journey Gary. The writing and photos are wonderful, giving your readers a true sense of your travels. I just go caught up with your blog and am really enjoying it. If you have time, try squeezing in a few more sketches. God speed. Wayne

    Like

  2. Thanks Wayne for your kind comments. I will be adding sketches when I get back to the USA and have access to my scanner. Been watching your blog and loving your killer sketches.
    Keep designing and sketching!

    Like

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