Saturday, July 21, 2012

Villa del Balbianello, Lake Como

After closely watching the weather, we traveled with Bellagio Water Taxi to the Villa del Balbianello, a stunning villa with terraced gardens that overlooks Lake Como. The villa was converted to a museum honoring the most recent owner, Guido Monzino (Italian explorer and artifact collector), who died young and after renovating the entire villa and only spending only a few months? years? in the place. He left it to the National Trust of Italy who now run tours of the villa.

 A view from the boat. And if it looks at all familiar, that might be because it was used in both Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones and the James Bond film, Casino Royale.

The inside of the villa was as interesting as the grounds. This room holds some of Monzino's collections from all over the world and all different time periods (note the glass lighted case on the left). The staircase here is free standing - amazing!

This was part of his mother's suite and actually sits suspended out over the lake - amazing views. The red piece along the wall is a priceless Chinese desk. The villa also had a hidden staircase that allowed a cardinal who lived in the villa way back when an easy escape route.

One of the amazing views from the gardens. The photos really don't do it justice.
 Notice how this tree is pruned so perfectly. The gardeners climb into the tree once per year to keep it this perfect shape so as not to obstruct the view too much from the villa.

A taste of the gardens. They follow all around the villa and are just gorgeous.

Lucca, our water taxi driver coming back to pick us up after the tour. The boat was beautiful too and Lucca and Janine, his wife, were great and gave us lots of advice on things to do around Lake Como. Much more than a taxi service.

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