The villa and the Loggia were built in the last years of the 18th century when Cardinal Durini acquired the Punta di lavedo, a romantic peninsular on the shoreline of Lake Como.
Over the years “Il Balbianello” was transformed into a prestigious summer residence and in the mid 1900’s was sold to Guido Monzino, a prominent Milanese businessman. He was also an explorer and avid collector. He has filled the house with souvenirs from his expeditions, including his ascent of Mount Everest figures from the Inca and Aztec dynasties. On his death in 1988 he left the villa and its contents to the FAI, the equivalent to our National Trust.
The luxuriant garden that frames the Villa del Balbianello is created vertically. There are huge plane trees pruned in candelabra shapes and a sloping path leading to an English style lawn. Numerous statues complete the picture.
A popular tourist attraction, the villa has also been used as a film set. Star Wars episode II and James Bond’s Casino Royale were filmed here. On the day of our visit they were preparing for a wedding ceremony to be held that evening.
It had just started to rain. Time to leave. It is also the end of our holiday.