Deeper into Jeopardy! LIII: Visiting Italy – $1200

Jeopardy! category: VISITING ITALY (09-11-2015)

$1200 clue: Villa Oleandra is George Clooney’s house on this lake

Correct response

The gist: It’s been attracting George Clooney types for thousands of years. Called Larius back then, Lake Como has figured in the writing of Romans like Virgil and the two Plinys, through Lombard churchmen, Romantic poets like Percy Shelley, novelist (and traveler) Mark Twain, right through to today’s ultra-elite. Located in Italy’s far north near the Swiss border, Lake Como was carved out of the surrounding Alps by glaciers during the last Ice Age, contributing to its dramatic scenery and extreme depth, the lake bottom reaching to greater than 400 metres at its maximum. It’s also noted for its distinctive ‘Y’-shape, with three narrow arms stretching away from one another. It has been inhabited since prehistoric times, made more attractive by its relatively mild climate that is regulated by the water.

Today, it’s well-known as a tourist destination, especially for water sports, hiking, and spas. As the clue suggests, it’s home to many luxury villas – Pliny the Younger built his twin villas of Comedia and Tragedia there in the late first and early second centuries CE. Most people are probably familiar with the lake for the myriad people who have one of their many homes on its shores, and who people care a lot about for some reason.

Aerial photograph showing the lake’s ‘Y’ shape. The smaller lake at the bottom left is Lake Lugano.

The clue: If you couldn’t tell from the above, I’m not a big fan of this clue. In fact, I think it’s terrible. Who cares that George Clooney has a house there? There are plenty of way more interesting facts to introduce about it. Oh well. I guess lots of people know about it for the absurd amounts of money that are spent along its waters. Fine. Whatever.

In Jeopardy!: Just nine clues for Lake Como. Three each mention Italy and/or Lombardy. No other patterns, but its depth and its glacial origins both appear. Also, one of them is actually about Lake Como, Montana, which doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page.

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