Gardens of Villa Balbianello in Lenno on Lake Como… No fancy silvergray Aston Martin but a regular navy blue Ford Fiesta. No tailor-made suite, just wearing shorts and T-shirt. No shaken-not-stirred Martini’s, only lukewarm water in bottles. There is no comparison to James Bond at all. However, today we walk around in the gardens of Villa Balbianello. Did you see the movie Casino Royale? So you know secret Agent 007 James Bond recorded some moviescenes over here!
Villa Balbianello was built in 1787 but still sparkles to imagination. Situated on a peninsula close to Lenno and Isola Comacina, the villa has a splendid view over Lake Como. The villa was built by cardinal Angelo Maria Durini on the foundations of an dilapidated monastery. After his death, the villa became property of Durini’s cousin Luigi Porro Lambertenghi.
Apparently, Luigi screw up some things and was expelled from Italy later on. So the keys of the villa got in the hands of Giuseppe Visconti. Some hands with green thumbs: Giuseppe designed the wonderfull gardens.
At the beginning of the twentied century, Villa Balbianello declined… The American businessman Butler Ames bought the domain and started with the renovation of the buildings and gardens immediately. It turned out to be a good investment: in 1974 he sold the villa to adventurer Guido Monzino. Guido who was the leader of the first Italian expedition to the Mount Everest. He was a notoir art lover. He brought some important artifacts and art treasures to Villa Balbianello.
After Monzino’s death, the villa was officially over to the foundation for the Italian environment Fondo per L’Ambiente Italiano in 1988. The gardens are maintained by the Italian gardens association Grandi Giardini Italiani.
After this history class we can tell about our today’s visit. If you want to go all the way, you should take a (taxi)boat to go to Villa Balbianello in Lenno.
The taxiboats leaves from Lido di Lenno. These boats are in fact the best option to admire the villa: from the water you get the best view, preferably while sun is shining. Today weather is not that good, so we go by car. We park the car at beginning of the peninsula. From now, walking is our only option. We follow for twenty minutes the forest trail, with some minors climbs, directly to the villa.
Later on today, we need to catch our plane back home. We are bit in hurry so we limit ourselves to a quick visit of the gardens. For an adult, you buy a ticket for 8 euro. The entrance fee for a garden visit combined with entrance to the buildings costs 17 euro. Of course there a bunch of formulas for groups, children and guided tours. Yes, the villa has to put money in the bank for the Italian Governement. But we must admit, the gardens and buildings are super maintained! By the way, did you know, you can book Villa Balbianello for your wedding? Right, just start saving.
Next time we’ll take some new pictures of this wonderfull spot!