The magnificent Villa Balbiano offers guests a rare opportunity to immerse in the architecture, art, light and drama of Lake Como. Flamboyant styling coupled with luxurious detail defines the Balbiano experience, while two hectares of manicured gardens offer countless attractive spaces from which to contemplate the arresting views. The estate offers perhaps a glimpse into the life of the former owner, the notorious Cardinal Durini, who occupied and expanded the villa during the late 18th century. A papal nuncio with a passion for the arts, his influence on the property remains very much in evidence today, including the Italianate gardens, with dramatic fountains and pensive sculptures, beautiful ceiling frescoes, and a world-class library, all contrasting intriguingly with the understated lines of the villa’s Renaissance façade.
The villa’s current owners have a pedigree and passion for restoring historic estates to their former glory, all in distinctive and opulent style. Nero Marquina marble, antique pieces from China, Japan and Austrian, grand crystal chandeliers and elaborately frescoed salons. The space is expansive, with over 12,900 square feet in the villa itself, and, with the addition of the Wings, Villino and Dependence, the property can easily accommodate a further 18 guests for an extended group of up to 30.
Immaculate formal gardens of two hectares are marked by a grand allée with fountains, box hedges and lawns. A Secret Garden awaits to be discovered behind swathes of hellebore, agapanthus and blooming ornamental trees. The pool garden is set in manicured lawns with open lake views, while al fresco dining options abound; on the lakefront for a relaxed lunch under the cooling shade of a leafy plane tree, or an atmospheric dinner under the wisteria-covered terrace.
- Salone & Salottina: living rooms with original frescoes
- Sala da Pranzo: formal dining room opening to the terrace
- Limonaia: indoor heated pool with views of the lake
- Study & library
- Guest kitchen with garden and terrace access
- Palestra: workout room with gym equipment, TV and shower room
- Galleria: central gallery serving both as a music room with Steinway grand piano and living room with working fireplace.
- Small Guest kitchen with espresso machine, kettle & drinks fridge
- Master Suite: Double bedroom (King-sized bed), living area, dressing room, private terrace. Views of lake & gardens. En suite bathroom with marble tub.
- Chinoiserie Suite: Double bedroom (King-sized bed), dressing room, lake views. En suite bathroom.
- Lake View Bedroom: Double bedroom (King-sized bed), en suite bathroom with marble tub.
- Town View Bedroom: Double bedroom (King-sized bed), en suite bathroom with marble tub.
- Garden Bedroom: Double bedroom (King-sized bed), en suite bathroom with marble tub.
- Mountain View Bedroom: Double bedroom (King-sized bed), dressing room, lake views. En suite bathroom.
- Guest kitchenette
Independent, two-storey home with private gated entrance and parking. Landscaped gardens and walking paths leading to the main villa.
- Living room
- Open dining room
- Limonaia with retractable walls offering a living / dining space that opens to garden
- Guest bathroom
- Master bedroom (Queen bed) with garden & lake views and access to shared terrace. En suite bathroom with Jacuzzi-style tub.
- Two double bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms
- Children's bedroom (twin beds) with private bathroom
- East: private entrance from lakefront gardens, galley kitchen, two double bedrooms with Queen beds and shared bathroom. Can be used by separate parties or connected to West for groups of up to 8.
- West: private entrance from garden, 1 x double bedroom with Queen bed and en suite bathroom, 1 x twin room with access to the adjacent en suite bathroom.
- Double bedroom with ensuite bathroom
WHY WE LIKE IT: Villa Balbiano is a rare and truly remarkable experience. The estate exudes a rich and glorious history of summers on Lake Como, in the most memorable of settings.