Villa del balbianello
Villa del Balbianello
At the end of the 18th century, the main access route to the Villa was a steep staircase leading up from the lake. Guests were welcomed by a motto engraved into the floor of the portico that looks out over the marina: "Fay ce que voudras" ("Do what you want"), a perfect description of the spirit of this "place of delights", on which Cardinal Durini started work in 1787, where one could study and discuss literature and the arts. The splendid Villa del Balbianello rises up on a breathtaking sheer promontory above Lake Como. The loggia affords a beautiful view of the majestic lake: on the one side, you can see the Tremezzina area, which opens out onto the heart of the lake, whereas on the other you can gaze at Comacina Island. It is said that it was in the rooms located on the two sides of the gallery (the Library and the Music Room, now used as the Map Room) that Giuseppe Parini composed his ode "La Gratitudine", which he dedicated to Cardinal Durini.
The interiors of the Villa remain redolent of the style choices made in the 1970s by the last owner, Milanese entrepreneur and explorer Guido Monzino. The rooms play host to a rich collection of Chinese, African and pre-Columbian art, alongside 18th-century English and French furniture. There is also a small museum housing documents and memorabilia from Monzino's expeditions.
The true pride and joy of the Villa is the panoramic terraced garden, which is dominated by the elegant loggia. The garden is a bona fide masterpiece, in which every element relates to the lake, its shores and its mesmerising waters.