Villa d’Este, Cernobbio
Villa d’Este, formerly known as Villa del Garovo, is one of the finest 5 star hotels in Italy. The whole complex is located in Cernobbio, on the shores of Lake Como, and currently hosts wealthy visitors as well as world famous celebrities.
Villa d’Este is also a high level congress center, as it has housed the Ambrosetti Forum since 1975. The forum is an international economic conference that brings together politicians, intellectuals, and businessmen to discuss the economic outlook and social sceneries of the world.
Key features of Villa d’Este
The impressive appearance of Villa d’Este, which is characterized by the traditional U-shape, keeps many traces of its Renaissance splendor. However, both the villa and the surrounding park have been changed substantially compared to the original construction, which dates back to the 16th century.
Villa d’Este’s guests can relax inside the beautifully furnished suites, or visit the hotel and admire the magnificent walls decorated with precious art objects and neoclassical elements.
After a swim in the private pool, guests of the villa can also take a walk in the 100,000 m² (25 acres) park, which has the characteristics of an English-style garden.
The complex of Villa d’Este also includes the Queen’s Pavillion, an annex of the villa which offers one of the most charming views of Lake Como.
History of Villa d’Este
The villa was originally the summer residence for Tolomeo Gallio, Cardinal of Como. It was designed by architect Pellegrino Tibaldi, who built the villa on the site of a former nunnery. At that time, the building was named Villa del Garovo, due to the Garovo stream that flows in the area. During the cardinal’s lifetime, the villa welcomed politicians, intellectuals, and ecclesiastics.
Upon Gallio’s death, the villa passed to his family that, over the years, led the building into a state of decay. In the following decades, the villa passed from hand to hand several times. It first came the Jesuits, then it was acquired by Count Mario Odescalchi, then again by Austrian colonel Count Marliani.
In 1784 the villa became property of the Calderari family from Milan. The family undertook a major restoration project and created a new Italian garden.
In 1814 the villa became the residence of Princess Caroline of Brunswick, who gave it the current name of Villa d’Este in memory of her presumed family origins. The Princess started a complete restoration of the complex, after which the villa took on the appearance of a majestic neoclassical structure. The park was also changed, and was designed in the English style.
In 1873 Villa d’Este became a luxury hotel, thanks to the initiative of Giulio Belinzaghi, mayor of Milan, and some senators of the Kingdom of Italy. Since then, the complex has become one of the most fascinating Lake Como hotels. Each year, in April, the villa holds the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, a Concours d’Elegance for vintage and concept cars.