No trip to the Italian Lake District would be complete without exploring the Lake Como villas and gardens. This region of Italy is particularly known for its historic lakefront villas and manicured gardens, and they’re a beautiful feature to see. There are two ways to check out Lake Como villas during your trip. The first is to rent your very own villa instead of staying in a hotel. The second is to plan on visiting some historic villas, including Villa Carlotta, Villa Monastero Varenna and Villa del Babianello during your trip.
Villa Monastero Varenna
When it comes to Lake Como villas, one of the most famous is the Villa Monastero. Located on the shores of Lake Como right in the town of Varenna, this villa was first built as a monastery during the thirteenth-century. Today, the villa is known for its beautiful architecture, multicolored marble, and for its gorgeous gardens. Villa Monastero Varenna is used as a conference center, and is open every day to the public from March through November.
Villa del Babianello
Another of the most famous Lake Como villas is Villa del Babianello. Located in the town of Lenno, this villa is right on the shores of the lake. It is known for its beautiful terraced gardens. Built in the late eighteenth century on the site of a former monastery, Villa del Babianello has achieved fame in modern times by being a romantic setting in a number of films, most famously in the James Bond film Casino Royale and in Star Wars: Episode 2.
Located on the outskirts of Bellagio on Lake Como, Villa Melzi is known for its striking white façade. The villa has a park that is open to the public, and features both exotic and rare plants. Set right on the shores of Lake Como, surrounded by mountains, this villa encapsulates all that is famous about the beautiful homes of the Italian lake district. Travelers with an interest in history might like to know that Napoleon spent time in this villa.
One of the most famous villas on Lake Como must be Villa Serbelloni. Dating all the way back to the 1400s, this villa is located above the beautiful town of Bellagio. Beyond its manicured gardens, the villa also has plenty of historical significance. Famous figures from history spent time at Villa Serbelloni including Leonardo da Vinci, Queen Victoria, and President John F. Kennedy.
In the Italian lake district, some of the historic villas have actually been transformed into hotels. Villa Cipressi is an example of one of these. The buildings here date from 1400 to 1800, and in 1980 it was purchased to be restored and transformed into a hotel. If you’ve always dreamed of staying in a villa right on the shores of Lake Como, you can’t beat the views from Villa Cipressi.
One example of the extravagance of villas in the Italian lake district is Villa Olmo. Construction began in 1797 and the villa was named after a beautiful elm tree that was planted in the middle of the gardens. Located right on the lake, today the gardens are open on a daily basis to the public. The villa itself is only open during exhibitions, although it is remarkable to see simply from the outside as well.