Discovering the delights of the breathtaking Villa Balbianello.
Of all the spectacularly beautiful places we visited during our month in Italy, Lake Como is right up there at the top of the list. This picturesque jade-coloured lake is surrounded to the north, east and west by towering mountains and pretty little villages and towns. We stayed in the small town/village of Varenna, on the eastern shore of the lake.
During our visit, we took time out to explore the highly recommended Greenway Walk along the western side of the lake. Happy to go a little off the beaten track and eager to experience more of this gorgeous area, we took the ferry over to Tremezzo, where we visited Villa Carlotta, then walked south to visit the stunning Villa Balbianello.
Set on a lovely peninsula on the south-west branch of Lake Como, which adds to the privacy, Villa Balbianello is a sight to behold and certainly worth a visit. By the way, it’s not too far north of George Clooney’s place – another great reason to visit!
The villa was originally built in 1787 for Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini. The site originally housed a Franciscan monastery. Following the Cardinal’s death in 1796, the property was purchased by Giuseppe Arconati Visconti, who made improvements to the gardens and the summer house/loggia.
Villa Balbianello was bequeathed to the National Trust of Italy in 1988 by the late Guido Monzino, who was a Milanese businessman, educated collector and passionate explorer. Monzino was the leader of the first Italian expedition to climb Mount Everest. His estate included the incredible villa and its grounds, a rich art collection and mementoes of his explorations, some of which as on display inside the villa itself.
The Italian National Trust has since renovated the villa, together with its terraced gardens, summer house and adjacent chapel.
Capitalising on the popularity of the villa, a wedding pavilion has been added at the top of the garden. The property is proving a popular venue for couples seeking an intimate wedding, who also have a healthy budget.
You can wander the gardens and take in the stunning lake views for 6 euros pp, or take a guided tour of the house for 12 euro pp.
You may recognise the villa, as it has featured in various films, such as A Month by the Lake (1995), Casino Royale (2006) and Star Wars Episode 11, Attack of the Clones (2002), where CGI replaced the building’s actual exterior.
After we had finished viewing the villa, we took a water taxi back to the wharf at Lenno, which gave us a wonderful view of the villa from the water – definitely worth the 5 euro pp fare!
Have you been to Lake Como? Have you visited Villa Balbianello or any other villas on the lake?
The Besties Do Italy series details how Seize The Day Project’s Lyndall and her long time best friend Jane ventured to Italy to celebrate a significant birthday – sans husbands and children. Shhh, don’t tell anyone they’ve gone!
Plus A Brit & A Southerner for #WeekendWanderlust
Also linking up with Deep Fried Fruit for the Lovin’ Life Linky