We stayed at Eremo Gaudio (the place with the million dollar view in Varenna. I am so glad we cancelled our stay at Hotel Bellagio and took the advise from R.S. and people on the helpline to stay in Varenna. There were a couple of highlights. 1)We bought our bread, salami,cheese,wine, and homemade applecake from a little Italian lady who had a "Salamaria" on the way into town from the Eremo. Going into town from the hotel, it is on the left, near the tobaccaria, which has lots of good stuff too, and internet access.
2) Beyone Eremo Gaudio is the cemetary. This sounds weird, but it is amazingly beautiful. Some of the families mausoleums (spelling?)up on the hillside were like fancy condos. There are golden statues,vintage photos,fresh flowers, and a nice view of the Fumio Latte (River of Milk-to the south)in the park. From there, we chose to walk up about 500 steps to the top of Eremo Gaudio instead of taking the two cool funiculars. We were told there were 300 steps but I counted and they were wrong.
Check it out!