Lake Como has always been one of the best and most luxurious Italian holiday destinations. Its shores, indeed, in the past, were frequented mainly by the rich Italian and European nobility, with artists, politicians or writers who used to meet in these beautiful villas on Lake Como.
Many of these sumptuous homes have been bought by high-ranking people, who have either decided to move their home completely or turn them into their summer residences. Others, however, have remained a public property, so if you are looking for a different route than usual, organize a trip to discover Lake Como villas.
Here is our selection of villas near Lake Como.
Discovering Villa d’Este in Cernobbio
Take a walk in Villa d’Este in Cernobbio, the “Best hotel in the world” as it was called by the prestigious Forbes magazine in 2009. Over the years, indeed, it has hosted famous people, such as the main royal families of the world, the Windsor and Ranieri di Monaco, but also prominent figures from the entertainment world, such as Greta Garbo, Liz Taylor and Madonna.
This ancient Renaissance residence, also called Villa del Garovo, was originally the summer residence of Tolomeo Gallio, cardinal of the city of Como. At his death, Villa d’Este passed into the hands of the cardinal’s family, who, not caring for it, led it to a state of decay.
The villa, for years, passed from hand to hand until it was bought by a Milanese family, the Calderari, who rolled their hands up by implementing an important restoration project with the creation of one of the most beautiful Lake Como gardens.
In 1814 it became the residence of Princess Carilina of Brunswick, who gave it the current appellation of Villa d’Este. Thanks to extensive renovations, she brought the villa back to its splendor, making it a majestic neoclassical structure.
In 1873 Villa d’Este became a luxury hotel at the initiative of Giulio Belinzaghi, then mayor of Milan, with some Italian senators. The structure can be visited only by hotel guests. General public can visit it just during public events, such as the Villa d’Este Elegance Competition held every year in April.
Visit Villa Erba Lake Como
Among the villas of Cernobbio, you could not miss Villa Erba, one of the most important villas of Lake Como. It was built by the will of Luigi Erba, brother and heir of Carlo Erba, owner of one of the most important pharmaceutical companies of the time.
The structure was designed by Angelo Savoldi and Giovan Battista Borsani with the aim of demonstrating the wealth and importance of the Erba family.
At the moment of Luigi’s death, the villa was inherited by his daughter Carla, who married the duke Giuseppe Visconti di Modrone. Luchino Visconti, the famous film director, was born from his marriage and spent his last years in the family villa. There he edited Ludwig, the famous film.
Subsequently, the villa was purchased by a public consortium that created a congress exhibition complex. Villa Erba in Cernobbio can be visited during public events or private visits on request before the day of the visit from 9 to 18.
Have you ever heard about Villa Bernasconi?
This beautiful Art Nouveau building was commissioned by the textile entrepreneur Davide Bernasconi to the Milan architect Alfredo Campanini. The position of this structure, however, is not left to chance; in fact Villa Bernasconi was built near the Cernobbio silk production plant, owned by the family.
The structure, for several years, passed into the hands of numerous owners, until it was acquired by the municipality of Cernobbio itself. Currently it is a fresh restoration jewel that houses a museum structure inside.
It is defined as a “house that speaks“, as the villa fully expresses the history of the Bernasconi family, through historical documents and surprising multimedia contents. Furthermore, over the years it has become an important cultural center, able to offer an unprecedented setting for artistic exhibitions, events and weddings.
The exteriors of Villa Bernasconi have also been designed in detail; Campanini has been able to integrate materials and shapes with perfect harmony, making the façade of the building a work of art itself: all the architectural elements, in fact, are embellished with real sculptures representing the life cycle of the bug from silk. Without detracting from the gardens of the villa, cozy and gracious, which recently also host a tourist information office: you can find it open every day from 10 to 13 and from 14 to 17.
Discover the charm of Villa Pizzo
This Villa, named “Villa Pizzo“, was built in Cernobbio by the will of the Como merchant Giovanni Muggiasca, who bought a large agricultural land full of vineyards and olive groves, which extended from the shore of the lake to the top of the hills.
The last Muggiasca to live in the villa was Giovanni Battista, who later became bishop of Como, and to whom he owes much of the villa’s Neoclassical furnishings, including the small marble monument in the park dedicated to Alessandro Volta.
In the following years, a certain engineer Bonzarini bought the structure on behalf of the victor Ranieri of Hasburg, who transformed it into the house of his wife Maria Elisabetta Savoia di Carignano.
In 1865 Villa Pizzo was bought by Madame Mousard, the eccentric queen of the Parisian parties. She was forced to leave the house, which was later taken over by the Milanese family Volpi Bassani.
Among the Lake Como villas, Villa Pizzo seems to be a logical continuation of Villa d’Este. It is composed of a long series of terraces and, towards Moltrasio, its garden grows more and more, until it becomes an intersected system of paths and minor paths, at whose margins you can admire a cave of water, pools, courses of water and the false ruins of a small classical temple.
You can visit the villa by reservation; the cost of the visit is € 13.00 per person and includes a guided tour in Italian.
We hope that this virtual visit to the Lake Como Villas has made you want to visit them in person. If you want to organize your next vacation to discover the Villas in Cernobbio, book one of our comfortable apartments: La Corte di Zizì is at your complete disposal!