Luxury, Art and Nature
Characterized by its mountains full of vegetation and numerous rivers, the territory surrounding the Como Lake offers a unique landscape in the world. Along with the numerous rivers, the lake offers sublime gardens, indomitable forests, rocky formations, picturesque villages and some of the most special villas in Italy and in the rest of the world.
In correspondence with the natural goodness of this place, the flora is plentiful and beautiful: rhododendrons, azaleas, cedar and orange trees are always present here. Even in the areas in which the weather is particularly mild and damp, there could be found olive trees, palm trees, cypress trees and other plants of warm weather.
The water is the key element in this beautiful place and its abundance is directly responsible of its impressive beauty. There are over tan 30 small rivers that nourish the area, besides the majestic lake, particularly the Mera, which rises in Valchiavenna, and the Adda, that springs forth in Valtellina and gives origin to the two small lakes of Garlate and Olginate.
In the town of Tremezzina, one of the most sunny and warm areas, even during the winter you enjoy moderated temperatures. While in the summer, the extreme heat of the continental Europe is alleviated by the excellent natural ventilation of the area. This part of the lake has been worldwide recognized for its beauty, especially for the landscape in the surroundings of the community of Bellagio and the area of Valsassina, with its chain of alpine mountains in the horizon.
Along the lake shore, particularly from the village of Cernobbio up to Gravedona, the landscape is adorned with extra luxurious villas surrounded with sumptuous parks filled with exotic flowers. Among the most famous ones there are the Villa Passalacqua, in Moltrasio and Villa d’Este, in Cernobbio, that now a days it has transformed in a luxurious hotel with its own gardens immaculately kept. Also in Lenno there is the magnificent Villa Arconti, the first one of a series of famous villas in the area of Tremezzina, such as the Villa Carlotta, famous for the works of art that it houses and for its sublime gardens. In the opposite side of the lake, near of Bellagio, other villas may be appreciated such as Villa Serbelloni and Villa Melzi.
The rivers near of this area have passed to the history, through the tales of the poets and philosophers such as the Fiumelatte River, praised by Leonardo da Vinci himself. Close to this place, there is the famous Renaissance villa Monastero de Varenna, which has been frequently used as a location for several movies and TV programs and the medieval town of Menaggio.
The Como Lake, in the surrounding area of the Alps, has always been an essential destination for the rich and famous of the great cities to the north of Italy and today, of the entire world.
The villas that were built by nobles and aristocrats in this area still survive and these palaces, especially in this lake, have won an incomparable reputation as the most exquisite ones in the north of Italy. Today it is possible to stay in one of these villas and to feel as a true king. It is an option of luxury accommodations, in every sense of the word.
The quiet waters of the lake reflect a level of sophistication that characterizes the villas. The list of famous and distinguished personages from yesteryear as well as contemporary which had or have a villa here is really endless.
The area has always been celebrated as a luxury destination, which goes beyond the time and history barriers, and today its status keeps reaching new heights in the exclusive tourism, an example of this is the interest that movie stars and other characters have showed in this place.
The Cassinella, Near the Lake
One of the most luxurious villas to spend an unforgettable stay in this paradisiacal place is Cassinella. The building was for generations the refugee for the summers of a well known architect’s family, the Mantegazzas. This villa has been one of the most celebrated properties of the lake for over a century ago. It is located in the surrounding area of another spectacular villa, Villa del Balbianello, a beautiful building that today may be visited as a museum. The mysterious and exclusive environment of the Villa La Casinella is perfectly complemented by its location: in one of the most hidden monticules of Lenno.
The lake is directly at the villa’s door, but the privacy is unbeatable and you can only enter by boat, which reiterates the sensation of peace and tranquility that permeates this property. The pink salmon color of the house has been preserved unaltered since its original construction and the impeccable interiors keep a traditional decoration, in which the luxury is the common denominator.
The design of the villa was in charge of Maggie Austin, who planned the reopening of Villa Cassinella as an option of luxurious and exclusive accommodation. Inside the villa it is possible to appreciate some of the most special characteristics that have been preserved, such as the XVIIIth century decorated doors, the excellent collection of old books in the mansion’s library, the sculptures and other works of art.
The pool is designed to melt with the lake and the villa counts with a butler and personnel service dedicated to satisfy all the guest’s needs. Some of the near attractions are the small village of Bellagio, where it is possible to find attractive shops and restaurants. Or, to dine in the restaurant of the unique island in the Como Lake: Locanda dell'Isola Comacina, located just a few meters away from the villa.
Within the special services of the Villa La Cassinella are massages and beauty treatments, water skiing instructors, yacht rental and any other petition that you could imagine. The villa can house up to 14 people, it counts with seven rooms and seven bathrooms.
Villa della Tremezzina
This property is an historical Italian villa, recently renovated, which offers an exceptional location in the lake. Formal and elegant, it counts with six rooms with its bathroom each one, all of them with a lake view.
From the garden and the pool, it is possible to watch a beautiful view of the mountains and if you wish to explore this area, it would be very easy to move to the most attractive sites of the lake: Bellagio, Menaggio, Como and Cernobbio are very close. Bellagio is ideal to visit shops and restaurants, which is located at 15 minutes in boat; Menaggio, with its well known golf courses, boutiques and restaurants is located 20 minutes away in car; Como, at 45 minutes; the airport of Milan at 1:15 hours. And for those who appreciate the most luxurious destinations of Europe, it is possible to visit the exclusive resort of Saint Moritz, in the Swiss Engadina, which is located at 1:45 hours in car or 20 minutes in plane.
Villa della Tremezzina is the most important private villa in the lake and it is still property of the descendants of the Serbelloni family. The property was acquired at the middle of the XVIIth century by a descendant of Charles II, King of Napoli, who established all his family here. In this period, the family enlisted the services of well known artists to embellish the villa with baroque details, which still can be appreciated today.
The gardens of this villa spin around numerous flowers perfectly taken care of and designed in beautiful figures. The doors and exterior walls are tall enough to warrantee the privacy of its guests.
The two top floors are occupied as a private museum of the family, in which some objects of their personal collection are kept. These rooms are not usually open to the guests, but they may be visited with a previous request to a member of the family. In all the rooms you can appreciate antiques, paintings and works of art from the XVIIth, XVIIIth and XIXth centuries.
Villa Cima and Villa Malakoff
Within the gardens of the beautiful luxury hotel Villa d’Este, these two villas that combine an unbeatable service with all the privacy are located.
Commissioned by the royalty in 1814, Villa Cima is a good option for those who wish to explore the spectacular gardens of Villa d’Este and, at the same time, enjoy a property at the shores of the lake.
Villa Malakoff has also very beautiful views of the lake, besides counting with the services and facilities of the well known hotel.
The first point in the most of the itineraries in this lake is the village of Como. At only three kilometers from there it is Cernobbio: a famous town for its chic environment and important clientele. The town has incredible views of the lake and of the Monte Bisbino. Its name is related with an old convent, “Coenobium”, that was located in the place that today is the internationally famous hotel Villa d’Este.
In the paving stoned main street of the town you will find endless coffee shops and luxury boutiques. There is also a broad selection of restaurants and pizza shops for every occasion. Along the river bank in Cernobbio there is a picturesque square with bars and restaurants.
From the village you can take a tour with spectacular views up to the Monte Bisbino (1325m). In this route you may visit several attractions, such as the Buco della Volpe, a great cave with swimming pools and underground springs. There is the beautiful sanctuary to the Virgin Mary at the top of the mountain, which comes from the XVth century. From these heights, the view to the lake is impressive: only from the heights is possible to really appreciate the incomparable beauty of this place.
Cernobbio is also the starting point of another famous mountain route, the Via dei Monti Lariani, a large tour at heights which oscillate between the 600 and 1200 m, signalized completely by the Club Alpino of Italy.
The historic building that houses this hotel was built for the cardinal Tolomeo Gallio in the XVIth century, but its actual name is owed to the princess Caroline of Brunswich, descendant of Guelfo d’Este, who in 1815 established his residence in this place. Since then, the villa passed through several owners until it was renovated and converted into a luxury hotel. The building counts with a collection of paintings and sculptures from the XVIth century. Some of its exceptional attractions are: the park, the caves, the fountains and statues that may be found in its surroundings.
Bellagio and the Royalty
To the end of the XIXth century, an episode without an apparent importance changed forever the destiny of this city at the lake shore: the Count Francesco de Melzi, Duke of Lodi and vice-president of the Cisalpine Republic, choose to build his summery residence here. It was then that the Count built a wonderful villa in the west coast, near of Loppia. This fact attracted the attention of the Milan aristocracy towards this area and Bellagio was turned into a city chosen by the royalty. Roads were built to allow the access to the carriages, as well as a road that connected the city of Erba with Bellagio.
The fame of the small city was growing until this beautiful village at the shore of the lake was turned into a famous place, even in the neighbor areas of Lombardia-Venice. Even though, the Emperor Francisco I of Austria decided to visit the place in 1816. In 1825, the Emperor came back to visit this place, staying at the Villas Serbelloni (now a day’s turned into one of the most important luxury hotels of Bellagio), Troti and Melzi.
In 1838, Bellagio received the visit of the Emperor Ferdinando I, the Archduke Ranieri and the Minister Metternich. These three characters of the history arrived to the city from Varenna in 1826, on board of the first steam ship that crossed the Lario Lake.
At the end of the XVIIIth century and for the next 100 years, Bellagio was one of the most popular places for the Lombard aristocracy. It was during those years that the magnificent villas with its gardens were built, that today the most important attractions are built in this region. These palaces were visited and inhabited by many characters over the history: artists, politicians, aristocrats, intellectuals and scientists.
The most famous among all the habitants of this region is without a doubt, the great composer Franz Liszt, who spent his endless honey moon with Marie Cathèrine de Flavigny, Countess d’Agoult. Today, when we remember this famous love story, people says that anything gives more luck to a marriage than spending the honeymoon in Bellagio.
There is no doubt that the Como Lake offers landscapes and memorable as well as enriching experiences. It is not casual that Verdi was inspired here to compose one of his most wonderful pieces: La Traviata. Also the testimony of great artists such as Wordsworth, Shelley, Puccini and Rossini tells us about the charms los of the lake and of its landscapes. Besides, the beauty of the place is combined with hotels and luxury villas that will make you feel as if you were part of the royalty (or part of the Hollywood stars) and of the most touching love stories.
Servicios Especiales de Leisure
Tel: (55) 9138 3023
Conmutador: (55) 9138 3000
Text: Kundalini Muñoz ± Photo: Jutta Bents, Ma. del Rosario Solís, Flickr.com, Luxury Explorer, Villa d´Este