I have been lucky enough to spend a fair amount of time in Italy and Switzerland, for business and pleasure. But I have never before experienced anything like rowing out of Bellagio, on Lago Maggiore and at Orta.
The Rowing the World Tour was an amazing variety of incredibly scenic six days of glorious rowing combined with great engagements with wonderful Italians and Swiss who love rowing as much as I do but in very different ways.
Michele in Bellagio was the consummate guide, full of knowledge and warmth.
In Como, I felt as if I’d been invited along on the Sunday row that Paolo, Gianni, Francesco and Ricardo had been doing for years, but our presence had occasioned dusting off their beautiful old boat that had been on the lake since the 1940s.
After a beautiful row in Locarno, we shared prosecco to celebrate our Swiss rowing friend’s birthday.
In Orta San Giulio, the world class sculler, Stefano, generously adjusted oars and boats for us but also took the afternoon to show us one of his favourite walking trails and took us up into the mountains for dinner at one of his good friend’s restaurants.
Rowing was more than a sport or activity. It was a way of engaging the people and absorbing the unique and special places of the lake region of northern Italy and southern Switzerland.