Villa Balbianello, Tremezzina
Villa del Balbianello will leave you breathless, due to its beautiful terraced gardens and picturesque structure. Located on the tip of the Lavedo headland, in the locality of Lenno (Tremezzina), the villa provides a stunning view of Isola Comacina and the western shore of Lake Como. The unique location of Villa Balbianello allows visitors to get there only by foot (walking on a 1 km footpath which starts from Via degli Artigiani) or by a taxiboat that leaves from the Lenno beach (€7.5 for the roundtrip).
Key features of Villa Balbianello
The whole complex consists of two residential buildings, a church, and a portico that overlooks a little dock.
The main building of Villa Balbianello hosts some English and French furnishings, which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The interiors are embellished by many glass paintings and a rich collection of ethnic sculptures and artifacts.
The upper floor of Villa Balbianello is dedicated to Guido Monzini, former owner of the villa and leader of the first Italian expedition to Mount Everest. There you will see a lot of pictures, flags, and honors belonging to the famous Italian explorer, in addition to one of the eight dogsleds he used to reach the North Pole.
A movie about Guido Monzini will tell you the story of this great Italian explorer, whose last success was definitely the purchase of the whole complex.
Villa del Balbianello has been used as the setting for several movies, including A Month by the Lake, Casino Royale, and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. When you visit the villa, you should try your hand at identifying key areas featured in these movies!
The villa is also one of the main venues for Lake Como weddings. The tall plane trees combined with classical statues make it an incredible destination for couples who wish to wed.
History of Villa Balbianello
Villa del Balbianello was built at the end of the 18th century by Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini, on the site of an ancient Franciscan monastery.
In the 19th century, after the cardinal’s death, the villa became property of Count Luigi Porro Lambertenghi, his grandson.
Afterward, Villa Balbianello was purchased by Marquis Giuseppe Arconati Visconti, who hosted some great intellectuals such as Alessandro Manzoni, Giovanni Berchet, and Giuseppe Giusti.
Gianmartino Arconati Visconti, Giuseppe’s son, made some improvements to the villa’s gardens and loggia, but the decline of the noble family eventually led to a state of neglect. In 1919, Villa del Balbianello was purchased by Butler Ames, an American soldier and businessman, who restored the villa to its original splendor.
Later, in 1974, his heirs gave it to the famous entrepreneur and explorer Guido Monzino. He embellished the villa with a rich collection of artifacts that he acquired during his expeditions. In 1988, Monzino died without issue and donated Villa del Balbianello to FAI (Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano), the Italian National Trust.
Visitable: Yes (both gardens and villa)
Opening times: March 12–January 6, 10 am-6 pm
Closing day(s): Mondays and Wednesdays (except holidays)
Entry price: €3 – €15. See a complete list on the website
Address: Via Comoedia 5
Phone: +39 0344 56110