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
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!
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?