Friday was earmarked as a couples day, so B & A did their thing (a quick shopping trip to Lenno), C & D did their thing (a walk in Menaggio), and S & I went back to Como. We got into town at about noon from the high-speed ferry and wandered town a bit. We had a small agenda: find three shops (Olivetum for foodstuffs, Cioccolaria for chocolate yumminess, and Tesitura for discount silk products), get lunch, and hit the Volta Temple.
First, lunch! We wandered town looking for a good place to eat (criteria: no english menu, reasonable prices, preferable outdoor seating), but got caught in a summer squall that stranded us in a shop that offered lunch. We ended up eating a meal that was unmemorable. If we hadn't gotten caught in the squall, we would have kept walking, but sometimes the universe forces a decision. S had lame gnocchi, and I had an uneventful salad with tuna and corn.
Second, shopping. It was moderately successful. We bought a few vinegars (honey, orange) at Olivetum. Cioccolaria was less chocolate emporium and more coffeeshop, so we kept moving. Tesitura was shut down and gutted, so that was a bust.
Third, Volta Temple. Como is the hometown of Alessandro Volta, the scientist who made remarkable discoveries about electricity. The city is very proud of this, and along the waterfront, they've built a lovely memorial/museum to him and his work. We went inside and got to see some of his original custom-built equipment (some of the pieces were recreations of pieces that were lost in an 1899 fire). There were gas measurement devices, electricity measurement devices, dead frogs, batteries, medals, metals, plaques, and at least five portraits of Volta demonstrating an experiment for Napoleon.
After the Volta Temple, we discovered a WWII memorial in the same park. The memorial was divided into three sections, which I think must represent the three prime countries of the Axis powers. Inscribed in many languages throughout the memorial were portions of letters written by civilian victims. Each European country was represented in the quotations, from Holland to Bulgaria, and one specific quotation to represent the jews in the holocaust. It was very moving.
Five hours after arriving in Como, we had to hop our highspeed boat back to Bellagio, where we met up with the others and had dinner at a local restaurant. C & I drank all the wine, and then we returned to the villa to pack up.