There are few words that can describe Lake Como easily. No wonder celebrities holiday there, buy villas and invite their friends to relaxing weeks away. TripAdvisor, all the national newspapers, mainstream media such as Hello Magazine (Lake Como: the celebrities’ Italian paradise )wax lyrical year in and year out.
Long before the Hollywood set found “Lago di Como” the landed Italian gentry, fashionistas and industrialists have been holidaying there for years. Thousands of years ago, the Romans were also fond of the region and remnants of them can be seen to this day.
Just some extracts from 2017
George Clooney and his wife Amal have whisked their newborn twins off to Italy for their first family vacation. The actor and human rights lawyer Amal welcomed daughter Elle and son Alexander in London on 6 June, and they spent their first month as a family of four holed up in the couple’s English countryside home. However, the Clooneys have since jetted off to Milan, Italy, where the new parents, each holding a bassinet, were photographed stepping off a private plane on Monday. They were thought to be heading to George’s Lake Como estate, where they previously rang in America’s Independence Day holiday in 2015. (The Independent)
Lake Como has also proved the ultimate romantic setting for Manchester United’s Chris Smalling and new wife Sam Cooke, who tied the knot at the stunning Villa Balbianello overlooking the lake, at a star-studded ceremony including Wayne and Coleen Rooney, Danny Wellbeck and Phil Jones.
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Some content attributed to Lake Como Villas
With many famous villas and houses at the waters edge with long sweeping drives through the elegant flora, Lake Como has been the hideaway for the rich and famous. The scenery and emotive landscape has also drawn interest as a film setting for many years and recently James Bond! Villa del Balbianello is one of the most famous Villas on Lake Como and has probably more photographs published than any other Lake Como or even Italian Villa! In the spring of 2006, the outdoor scenes of the movie Casino Royale were filmed in front of this Villa and the same Villa can be seen in Star Wars, “Attack of the Clones” & “A Month by the Lake”.
Villa Erba in Cernobbio is used for residential congresses and business exhibitions. In 1986, the heirs of the Visconti family sold the Villa and the surrounding land to a public consortium. Villa Antica forms the centre of this development and has a dome with three wings branching out to accommodate other conference & event requirements. Add n mooring and a helipad and the scene is set!
Villa Carlotta has over 70,000 sqm’s of gardens and a museum. This large Villa was built at the end of 17th century by the Marquis Giorgio Clerici from Milan. The Villa has had various owners and uses, being sold on to a politician, Gian Battista Sommariva in 1801, it became famous around Europe amongst the aristocracy. Flush with art and visitors, it attained celebrity status. On the death of the owner, his heirs sold the Villa to Princess Marianne of Nassau, Albert of Prussia’s wife, who gave it as a present to her daughter Carlotta on occasion of her wedding to George II of Saxen-Meiningen. Hence the name and is now know as “The Villa Carlotta”
Villa Monastero in Varenna, was built on the ruins of a Cistercian convent and has wonderful lakeside gardens. There is a Villa Monastero Foundation which was founded in Lecco and is responsible for the development of the Villa into an educational, research, conference and congress location. The Villa dating from the late 19th century, as with many lake side Villas, continually requires maintenance and reparation. This wonderful Villa undertook substantial restoration work in recent years and is now a wonderful place to visit. The foundation’s aim was to combine the congressional activity with viewing of the more important historical elements and gardens. Tours of the Villa are available and recommended.
Villa Melzi in Bellagio has wonderful gardens that reach the shores of Lake Como but also reach back into the hillside overlooking the Lake. There is a Japanese garden displaying many varieties of maple, Moorish statues occupy a blue & white monument building, flower beds, rock gardens, all with wonderful view of the lake. The Villa itself combined with the old Chapel and the orangery is now a neo-classical style museum and known internationally, visited by many of the tourists to Bellagio. The Villa was built in 1810 for Francesco Melzi d’Eril (1753-1816), the Duke of Lodi and Vice President of Italian Republic. The Villa was the brainchild of the architect Giocondo Albertolli (1742-1839) who was recognised as a leader in neo-classic architecture. This Villa has simple clean lines which accentuate the surroundings. White columns flank the landing stage in front of the villa and enhance the classical style of the house when viewed from the lake.
Villa Cipressi (named after the Cypress trees) is a Villa complex with lakeside gardens in Varenna. The Villa is also a hotel run by the Cofathec Group which keeps the building in accordance with the historical and architectural guidelines laid down by the local municipality of Varenna who acquired the Villa in 1980.
Although the Villa is not that old (late 19th century), the actual land has been the property of a number of well known “Italian” families for a thousand years; the Serponti family (1163), Baron Isimbaldi (end of the eighteenth century), the Andreossi family, Sir Astley and Sir Salton (early 20th century). Guests of Hotel Cipressi can visit the century old botanical gardens with impressive tiered terraces, spilling into the lake. To read more, please visit the website of Villa Cipressi.
These big and famous villas are well preserved and historical icons, as open to the public. George C and his Laglio villa has yet to see an open day! The following are some of the most famous: