10 Reasons Villa del Balbianello Will Take Your Breath Away

Villa del Balbianello Italy


Villa Del Balbianello, Lake Como


If you only pick one thing to do in Lake Como, make it Villa del Balbinaello. This stunning Italian villa is a popular choice for weddings and movie sets and I would return to Lake Como again just to take more photos of this masterpiece!

Here’s a quick travel guide covering Lake Como’s dreamiest villa with some tips, history and fun facts about Villa del Balbianello.



Lecco, Lake Como

The dreamy villa is located on the island of Lecco in Lake Como. To get here, you can either hike through the village of Lecco or take the ferry from Bellagio and then hire a small boat to guide you to the villa’s boat side entrance. Definitely do the latter!

The boat ride sails gradually around Villa del Balbianello’s romantic promontory with its old Franciscan church, overgrown trees and pretty foot paths.



The History of Villa del Balbianello

The villa was originally built in the 18th century for a powerful cardinal, Angelo Maria Durini, and last belonged to Guido Monzino, an Italian explorer famous for leading the 1973 Italian expedition which reached the top of Mount Everest. His estate bequeathed the gorgeous residence to the state and I’m sure both tourists and the movie industry are grateful!



Famous Movies Shot Here

James Bond

In case you don’t recognize it from the photos, Villa del Balbianello is the “hospital” where James Bond recovers after being tortured by Le Chiffre in the 007 movie Casino Royale. Bond (Daniel Craig) and Vesper (Eva Green) are lying on the lawn when the Swiss banker comes to transfer the money from the casino winnings.

Here’s the classic scene from the movie (below) or refresh your memory with the full movie on Amazon. Casino Royale was one of my favorite Bond movies!



Star Wars

It’s also featured in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones as a beautiful, romantic closing to the movie. Anakin and Padme get married around 2:38 in the clip above:


Weddings at Villa del Balbianello

The dreamy mansion is extremely popular for weddings. In fact, there was one that just finished the day we went! I remember all the groomsmen in sharp tuxedo and the way the sunset sparkled on the bride’s dress as the wedding couple departed by boat. What a romantic way to get married!

It was a little odd because the villa was open to the public while the wedding party was occurring so I was curious about what it’s like to hold a wedding at Villa del Balbianello.

I found out if you have a small wedding party of less than 50 people, you can rent an area of Balbianello for about 2,000 euros. If you have a larger party, rates go up and can range from 4,000 to 30,000 euros depending on how large your party is, if you wish to have a private ceremony where the villa is closed to the public and if you want a formal wedding dinner on the lake terrace.

Whatever option you picked, it would definitely be an epic wedding!



Visiting Villa del Balbianello

Villa del Balbianello is open to the public from November to mid March. A ticket to the garden costs ~8 euros while a guided tour of the villa costs ~17 euros. Tours are available Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday.

The guided tour is just under an hour and includes a tour of the loggia with its library and study as well as the main building – which has 25 rooms! The villa remains decorated with prehistoric artifacts from around the world, similar to how Monzino must have originally lived. On the very top floor, you’ll find memorabilia from his Everest expedition! There are also some secrets to the house…

You can pre-book tours of Villa del Balbianello here.


What are you most looking forward to when visiting Lake Como?


Visiting Italy – Trip Planning Checklist

There’s so much to see and do in Italy that you can visit again and again and still discover new sights. I recommend concentrating on the big 4 cities (Rome, Venice, Milan & Florence) if it’s your first time and then coming back to explore either Northern Italy or Southern Italy in more depth.

Flight Deals | Flight prices from the US to Italy are highly seasonal. You can set a fare alert here to be notified of discounts. Every fall & winter, I’ve seen great deals to Milan (usually with Emirates).

Getting Around | A convenient way to explore Italy is via train. You can book tickets online before you go to save on fares. Make sure to validate your ticket on the platform.

It also helps to speak a little Italian. Brush up on your Italian language skills with Rosetta Stone. You can take 10% off with promo code CJBT10.

Accommodation | Book hotels in advance to save, or check here for last minute deals. Many hotels in Italy are older so don’t be surprised if even 5 star accommodation feels slightly dated. Opt for a room with a view instead of breakfast, as Italians don’t eat breakfast in the same way Americans do and you’ll probably be disappointed with their offering.

Alternatively, groups or budget travelers can check out AirBnB. Save $40 on your first stay here.

Insurance | Lastly, be sure to visit Italy with travel insurance. Whether you get injured and need to be hospitalized, or your phone gets stolen, travel insurance will help when you need it most. A rail strike occurred during our trip, shutting down transportation for an entire day unexpectedly. I use and recommend Allianz travel insurance.


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Ashfina CharniaMay 22, 2018 - 5:52 pm

Such a stunning Villa. Villa Wedding sounds like a dream. would love to visit here someday :)

DavidMay 30, 2018 - 7:22 am

Star Wars! Awesome! I must say, Villa Del Balbianello scenery is truly breathtaking.

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