Visit Europe by SeaplaneWritten by Lyn Freeman
Europe is always a popular travel destination. Here’s a unique way to see the sights, including waterfront properties visited by Julius Caesar!
We were flying through a high mountain pass, a twisting maze of switchbacks across the top of the still-snowing Alps, a pass that may have been the same route Hannibal selected to bring elephants into battle with the Roman Empire. Ahead, the sprawling coastline of Lake Como came into view. The deep blue water was encircled by castles and villas and resorts extraordinaire.
Lake Como has been a celebrated destination for literally thousands of years for people like Julius Caesar to Hollywood celebrities. But the best Lake Como experience is not reserved for emperors or Hollywood stars—that experience is available to a pilot with a seaplane.
Cesare Baj dropped the first notch of flaps on the Lake Buccaneer as we made our final approach onto Lake Como. A few seconds later, we were floating in front of a villa that recently sold for more than $30 million. We weren’t invited, but we weren’t intruding either. We were enjoying Lake Como. “This is why we like to fly floats,” he said with a very big smile.
Baj is a member of the 75-plus-year-old Aero Club Como on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy, near the border with Switzerland. With the exception of the German occupation and then the Allied occupation during World War II, the club has proudly maintained itself as one of the most famous seaplane bases in the world.
In addition to offering rides and instruction, Aero Club Como is one of the few remaining places in the world where you can rent a floatplane to fly solo. And that makes for some remarkable opportunities. “People take our floatplanes all over the place,” Baj said proudly.