Lake Como – A cure for ill humour

Lake Como has a particular effect on visitors, best summed up in words like relaxing, calming, re-invigorating and even inspiring. You could describe the process as stress busting, wellness creation, holistic therapy or just plain getting your head straight.

But if we’re going to use jargon, I’d rather use the jargon of an earlier millennium. It seems to fit the place better. To be specific, I prefer to employ terminology used by the scholar Galen and say there are cures at Lake Como for all excesses of humours. That may well be a travesty of Galen’s work and achievements: but I think he’d forgive me if we ever met at Lake Como. If he wasn’t dead, that is.

Galen apparently recognised four different kinds of personality, by reference to their dominant ‘humour’ – fiery, cold, melancholic and irritable. Many of us arrive on holiday suffering from an excess of one or the other. In fact, with the complexity of life today, we could easily exhibit the signs of all four in a single day – possibly the day we set out on vacation. No problem. Lake Como can bring those humours back into equilibrium.

It can do that because Lake Como is probably the most harmonious place on earth, for two reasons. The first is the way in which the Lake, mountains and weather combine to provide a seemingly endless variety of different but equally breathtaking views. The second is the fact that humanity has not only not spoiled the environment but has actually added the finishing touches.

They come in the form of grand villas and picturesque villages, beautifully posed along narrow strips of waterside or scattered like colonies of seabirds across steep hillsides. Nothing jars. You can explore Lake Como for days and come across nothing ugly. That’s got to put you in a good frame of mind.

Whether you’re planning a completely restful holiday, or lots of sightseeing and/or activities, you’re very likely to go home feeling ‘better’ in body, mind or spirit than when you arrived – not just because of what you did but because of where you did it.

So, if you’re not in good humour, try the Lake Como cure. Unless I’m much mistaken, you’ll soon be able to bin the alternative remedies – powdered unicorn horn and dried stag’s tears – and put the leech farm into storage.