Villa Balbianello in Lenno, a lovely home to visit in Como Lake

April 22, 2014

Villa Balbianello in Lenno is unanimously considered one of the most beautiful and romantic villas in Como Lake. The building overlooks a lovely wooded headland on the highest point of Lavedo’s peninsula, on the western shore of the lake. Built in 1787 by Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini, the Villa has changed several owners over the years and they all have embellished it, making significant improvements to both the property and its gardens. Nowadays, the FAI, the Italian Environmental Fund, owns Villa Balbianello.

The most striking spot of this Villa is undoubtedly the loggia of Cardinal Durini, which has been offering visitors a stunning view of Como Lake for over two centuries now. This particular place allows you to simultaneously enjoy two opposing sceneries, the one of the Tremezzina and the one of the Comacina Island’s gulf. Next to the loggia you can find the Library, with a large archive of books devoted to mountaineering and polar expeditions collected by the former owner of the villa, explorer Guido Monzino; the former music room has now become the Hall of Cartographer, which contains a complete set of geographic maps, many of which used by Monzino himself during his ventures. Other mementos and memories of Guido Monzino’s fearless explorations are preserved in the Museum of Shipping, situated on the top floor of the building.

The beautiful gardens of Villa Balbianello represent a rare example of panoramic terrace on the lake. The whole area is covered by a thick and colorful vegetation composed not only of plane trees, magnolias, cypresses, holm oaks and wisterias, but also of cyclamens, rhododendrons, azaleas and snowdrops. No less attractive is the small harbor, with a steep staircase overlooking the lake and leading to the villa. Thanks to its magnificence, this villa has been the setting for a number of famous Italian and international movies, such as Piccolo Mondo AnticoThe Charterhouse of ParmaJackpotA Month by the LakeStar Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and 007 - Casino Royale.

Villa Balbianello is located in Lenno, Via Comoedia 5. It is reached by a 1km walk from the center of Lenno (which takes about half an hour,) or by taxi boat from the Lido di Lenno (round trip ticket costs € 7.50). You can reach Lenno by bus SPT C10 from Como or by Trenord regional trains from Milan. It is possible to purchase a combined, discounted ticket for both the train and the boat ride.

The Villa is open to the public from March 15th to November 10th, except on Mondays and Wednesdays (unless public holidays). Opening time is from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. The visit to both the Villa and the Gardens costs € 13.00 (reduced € 7.00), it takes about 60 minutes in groups of up to 15 people and it requires a mandatory tour guide. The Gardens only visit costs about € 7.00 (reduced € 3.00). Incentives for schools are provided and you can also ask for a private, specialized tour guide. For information, please call: +39 0344 56110.

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