The Lake Como Experience.
A journey to discover the wonderful Villas around Lake Como.
Beauty and romance: a journey through the legendary villas of Lake Como.
An itinerary to discover the ancient villages and exquisite Villas around Lake Como, in the heart of Lombardy Region. A celebration of colors, peaceful atmospheres and enchanting views that have amazed painters, composers and artists since the aristocratic Grand Tour of the 19th century.
For centuries Lake Como has attracted artists, intellectuals and writers, becoming the manifesto of a relaxed but elegant lifestyle, in contact with the beauty of nature but without renouncing the liveliness of inventiveness and intellect.
We had the opportunity to remember the Grand Tour vibes and discover the true experience of Lake Como with content creator and photographer Enzo Romano.
Starting from the Sheraton Lake Como, in a warm and sunny morning at the end of May, we explored the small villages and the charming villas that, like pearls, are located close to the lake.
A journey through time, romantic and adventurous, in an authentic Italian paradise.
Nature, colors, breathtaking views and “that branch of the Lake of Como”: live the Lake Como experience!
We started our tour from Villa Erba, an idyllic residence that sums up the majestic romanticism of the villas of Lake Como.
Villa Erba is an impressive villa built in the nineteenth century by the architects Gian Battista Borsani and Angelo Savoldi according to the style of Italian Mannerism on a site where once stood a Benedictine monastery.
The current appearance of the villa dates back to the renovation work requested by Luigi Erba, son of Carlo Erba, founder of the first Italian pharmaceutical company, and reflects the ideal of power and nobility of the family.
The villa was the summer residence of the Italian director Luchino Visconti: in fact, the interiors of the building, characterized by beautiful frescoes, were immortalized in the masterpiece “Il Gattopardo”. Characterized by an evocative botanical park from which it is possible to admire a marvelous panorama on Lake Como, it is today a particularly lively center of events and exhibitions.
Our tour continued along Via Cernobbio, which runs along the lake between breathtaking views and lush green, up to Villa Sucota. Today the Villa hosts the Antonio Ratti foundation, a non-profit organization created to promote initiatives, studies and research on textile production and contemporary art, two of the great passions of its founder. Moreover, the Villa’s library offers a rich collection of texts on silk and yarn production. Built between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Villa Sucota belonged to Klemens von Metternich – Austrian politician and one of the leading figures of the 1815 Vienna Congress – and had among his guests Alessandro Volta, who here began to cultivate exotic plants.Discover More
Villa del Grumello
Also known as Villa Celesia, Villa Grumello stands right on the road that leads from Como to Cernobbio.
There are traces of the villa dating back to the fifteenth century: the villa was called with the name Castellazzo and included a vineyard and an orchard. The reconstruction began in the second half of the sixteenth century at the request of the Milanese banker Tommaso D’Adda. However, the history of this iconic villa overlooking Lake Como has seen numerous restoration interventions, up to the present day. Currently the Villa is home to cultural and scientific initiatives. One of its distinguishing features is the large and thriving garden; inside there is a herm in memory of Ugo Foscolo, the great poet and illustrious guest of the Villa.
Our journey through the Como villas continues with a dive between the sumptuous gardens and the solemn neoclassical decorations of Villa Olmo, designed to be a summer retreat for the aristocracy.
Villa Olmo takes its name from the presence of two large elm specimens. The construction of the Villa began at the end of the eighteenth century by architect Simone Cantoni and ended in 1812. The Villa belonged to the family Raimondi and Visconti di Modrone and is one of the most majestic symbols of the city of Como. Surrounded by a large Italian garden, the Villa is located at the north-western end of the city of Como.
Our tour continued towards Bellagio, where we explored Villa Melzi. Built between 1808 and 18010, the Villa was chosen as a summer residence for the Duke of Lodi Francesco Melzi d’Eril, who was the vice president of the Italian Republic at the time of the Napoleonic invasion. The project was entrusted to the architect Giocondo Albertolli.
Villa Melzi is a neoclassical building, characterized by an austere and simple façade and two double flight stairways. The garden, large and full of exotic plants and trees, the decorations – some of which created by Antonio Canova – and the suggestive view make Villa Melzi one of the key stages of the tour of the Villas of Como.
His breathtaking view was also described by Stendhal in his diaries and evoked in the novel “The Charterhouse of Parma”.
We moved towards Villa Monastero, between Varenna and Fiumelatte: an eclectic building, in Nordic style, originating a Cistercian convent founded in the twelfth century.
The current appearance dates back to the works started by architects Alemagna, Majnoni and Citterio. The pleasant climate made our tour even more impressive: it allowed us to enjoy the beauties in the vast botanical garden, arranged in terraces and characterized by rare plants. Among the guests of the rooms of Villa Monastero there was Enrico Fermi, who here held some physics lessons: a further example of the cultural and intellectual vivacity of the Como area.
Villa del Balbianello
We moved to Lenno, on the tip of the Lavedo peninsula, a promontory that juts out onto Lake Como. Here stands Villa Balbianello, an altered and elegant eighteenth-century residence. It is one of the most romantic and majestic views of Lario: the choice of this place is the merit of Cardinal Durini, scholar and patron, who knew how to turn a lake corner into the ideal home for anyone seeking relaxation, peace and intellectual leisure.
In recent times, the villa has rediscovered its identity thanks to the intervention of Guido Monzino, collector and explorer. Monzino was the first Italian to reach the summit of Everest and enriched the villa with precious and original collections of objects, testimony of his prodigious explorations.
A short distance from Villa del Balbianello, in Tremezzina, stands Villa Carlotta, the last stage of our tour. It is a splendid residence in which the architecture harmoniously matches nature and art. The heavenly touch of Villa Carlotta is the huge garden with palms, azaleas and rhododendrons. But Villa Carlotta also houses a museum with a vast art collection that includes Canova, Migliara and Hayez. The villa has been conceived with a vast project since the 17th century commissioned by the Marquis Giorgio Clerici and became a lively intellectual center and a destination for the Grand Tour of the nineteenth century when it was later bought by Gian Battista Sommariva.Discover More