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Villa del Balbianello
Villa del Balbianello

Villa del Balbianello

star-5
246 Reviews
Via Comoedia 5, Tremezzina, Como, Italy, 22016

The Basics

The villa was built in 1787 on the site of a Franciscan monastery, but by the early 20th century the buildings and grounds had fallen into a state of neglect. American businessman Butler Ames bought and refurbished the villa in 1919, creating the elaborate terraced gardens that you can see today. In 1974 Italian explorer Count Guido Monzino purchased the villa and decorated it with collections of Chinese and African art, French furniture, and other artifacts from his expeditions before leaving the estate to the FAI (Italy’s National Trust) upon his death in 1988.

By far the best way to appreciate the estate is by taking a guided tour that offers insights into the history of the villa and explores both the impressive interiors and the extensive gardens. Consider opting for a private tour that combines Villa del Balbianello with visits to Villa Melzi and Villa Carlotta, also on the shores of Lake Como.

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Recent reviews from experiences in Lake Como

star-5
Great knowledge, good company
nick_j, Oct 2020
The best of Como lake: Como city walking tour and Villa Balbianello
We had a fantastic day with Violetta. She knew so much about the subject and shared so much with us, assuring the tour as required and taking lots of photos for us. Thank you
star-4
Como Tour
helenaheppner74, Oct 2019
Como Lake Highlights - Villa Balbianello & Bellagio private full-day tour
Violetta was a local, friendly and knowledgeable tour guide for the beautiful Lake Como region. Her command of the English language was wonderful and she was always able to answer all our questions. A few misunderstandings at and during the tour made for some frustrating waits, but overall very well done.
star-4
Wonderful day on Lake Como
judith k, Sep 2019
Como Lake Highlights - Villa Balbianello & Bellagio private full-day tour
Violetta was a great guide for our wonderful day on Lake Como. We set our own pace and she was flexible with our interests. She is sweet and charming and extremely knowledgeable. At the end of the trip she stayed with us for a long time until we could get a taxi--service above and beyond!
star-5
Interesting Fun Day
dlimarenko, Sep 2019
Villa Balbianello and Flavors of Lake Como Walking and Boating Full-Day Tour
This tour far exceeded our expectations. The pace was just right for a full day tour with a wonderful lunch
star-5
Fantastic Tour!
gui8882019, Aug 2019
Villa Balbianello and Flavors of Lake Como Walking and Boating Full-Day Tour
Great value for money and the staff was great! A lot to see in one day, but well worth it. The transportation was perfect.
star-5
Enjoyable Experience
zinniaoh, Aug 2019
Villa Balbianello and Flavors of Lake Como Walking and Boating Full-Day Tour
Alessandra, our tour guide, was very knowledgeable about the Lake Como area and our group learnt a lot about the area especially Varenna. The tour of Villa Balbianello was quite an interesting and amazing experience. We covered so much in one day. It is definitely worthwhile and totally recommend it to all who come to Lake Como.
star-5
A fabulous tour in an amazing place with a terrific guide!
Emilie H, Aug 2019
Villa Balbianello and Flavors of Lake Como Walking and Boating Full-Day Tour
Our day with Alessandra could not have been more perfect. When we met her near the ferry ticket office in Bellagio, we were delighted to find out that we were the only people who had booked the tour that day, so we ended up with a private tour with her; we were so lucky!! She instantly made us feel totally at ease and spoke excellent English. She had a driver waiting and they drove us to a cool ancient mill where we had olive oil and wine tasting, and then we spent the rest of the morning in Varenna, where she shared lots of interesting tidbits and facts about the area and its history, etc. The tour included a delicious lakefront lunch at a nice hotel in Varenna and after that we got on a very cool speedboat for a tour of the lake and the destination of Villa Balbianello. The villa is spectacular and we enjoyed the tour of it, but truly the time on the boat where the driver was stopping at various points and giving us local insight was just as much fun. Then after the villa visit, we took another boat to Bellagio to walk along some lovely gardens, with more fascinating insight from Alessandra. When we decided to make Lake Como one of our destinations in our 10 days in Italy, I knew we would get more out of it by doing a tour. But I originally hesitated slightly on this one because for some reason there weren't a ton of reviews. I am so glad we took the plunge and did it, because it was SO worth every penny and truly was one of the best days on our trip. Our time at the Italian Lakes would not have been nearly as memorable if we hadn't spent that amazing day with Alessandra!

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Villa del Balbianello and its beautiful grounds are especially interesting for avid gardeners and photographers.

  • If you are joining a tour of Lake Como’s villas, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather.

  • Parts of the villa and gardens are accessible to wheelchair users, but many tours include access on foot and by taxi boat, which may not be suitable for those with limited mobility or a wheelchair.

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How to Get There

The most scenic way to approach Villa del Balbianello is on foot from Lenno, a 25-minute walk with excellent views of the lake as well as over the towns of Tremezzo and Lenno. You can also take a small-group boat tour or water taxi from Lenno, Varenna, Sala Comacina, Ossuccio, or one of the other towns along the lake shore.

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When to Get There

Villa del Balbianello is open on Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday. Spring and fall are the best seasons to visit, as the gardens are verdant and can be enjoyed without the summer crowds.

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Villa del Balbianello and Hollywood

This dramatic villa has been used as a location for a number of movies, includingStar Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and the James Bond filmCasino Royale.

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