Lake Como, the third largest in Italy is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe. The area has been a popular destination for aristocrats, nobility from all over Europe for centuries.
Luxurious private villas dot the hillside, lakeshore and dramatically steep cliffs in and around the towns of Menaggio, Bellagio, Cernobbio, Varenna and the larger cities of Como and Lecco. Several of these villas today are seats to important museums, like Villa Serbelloni is set in the spectacular backdrop with a fifty hectare park in Bellaggio. Today the villa is open to the public as a museum, hosting the Rockerfeller Foundation Bellagio Centre was set up her in 1959 with the intention of , today an important conference centre with an in house training programme that works closely with artists, leaders, policymakers and scholars with the intention of ‘promoting the well-being of humanity’. The breathaking gardens of Villa Carlotta, built in 1690 for the Marquis Giorgio Clerici who adorned the 70 000 square meter property with Italian Gardens, complete with fountains, piazzas, walkways and statues throughout. The park and villa are open to the public where you can also admire art by Antonio Canova and Luigi Acquisti to name but a few. Villa D’Este, situated in Cernobbio, was former home to Caroline of Brunswick who landscaped the 10 hectare grounds and terraces in a traditional English style garden. The Villa was converted into a luxury resort of the same name, one of the largest and most renowned in the area.
Jutting out into the lake in a spectacular setting, you will find Villa del Balbianello. Originally built as a literary retreat, the villa was inherited by Guido Monzino, Milan based entrepreneur, world traveler and collector who restored the building transforming part of the property into a museum. On his death, Monzino left the Villa to the FAI - a foundation for protection of artistic, architectural and natural heritage in Italy. The villa, gardens and magnificent terraces are also used as location for romantic lakeside weddings and receptions.
The Neoclassical Villa Melzi d’Eril sitauted in Bellaggio was built in the early 1800’s. Exotic gardens include a Japanese landcaped park, a bamboo grove, blue and white Moorish kiosk, and other delightful surprises like a Musuem of Napoleonic artefacts and the keys to the City of Milan inside the former Orangerie.
Today lake Como is a well known playground for the rich and famous, with celebrities the likes of George Clooney, Richard Branson, Brad Pitt, Madonna, Matthew Bellamy and the Versace’s owning prestigious real estate here. Other jet setters that regularly take vacations here include David and Victoria Beckham, Elton John and Tom Cruise to name a few.
While most are attracted to the area for the laid back lifestyle, almost tropical Mediterranean climate, nature and food, some prefer to do outdoor sports on the lake: windsurfing, sailing and canoeing, while golf and cycle tours are all popular.
High speed trains run from Milan to Como regularly in around 40 minutes. Como is just an hour by car or train from Milan city centre, Milan Malpensa airport or the Central Station. Hospitality solutions include luxury resorts and five star service as well as private villa rentals and romantic on the glorious lakeside and neighbouring towns.