< ITALY | CERNOBBIO: Villa d’Este
Set on the shores of one of the world's most idyllic and romantic lakes, Villa d'Este was built in 1568 as the private summer residence of Tolomeo Gallio, Cardinal of Como. Originally named 'Garovo', Villa was designed by Pellegrino Pellegrini of Valsolda, one of the best architects of those days. In succession it was owned by a ballerina and a Napoleonic General, a Queen without a crown (who renamed it into 'Villa d'Este'), a Russian Empress and minor aristocracy. In 1873, Villa was transformed into a luxury hotel.
Construction of the terrace overlooking the Lake was the first major improvement of the hotel as originally the façade of the Villa rose directly out of the waters. In 1926, the
famous Villa d’Este 18-hole Golf course and Club House were inaugurated at Montorfano. Only seven miles from the Hotel, it is considered one of the finest and most challenging
The property is surrounded by the 25 acres of gardens, whose statues and landscape have been photographed for centuries. The design of the lower part of the gardens is from the renaissance period while the outlook of the upper part is from the 18th century. The most exceptional landmark is the 16th century Mosaic with its Nympheum. The magnificent plane-tree on the terrace overlooking the lake is over 600 years old, and is believed to be among the oldest in Lombardy.
Villa d'Este today offers 152 rooms, all different in decor but linked by the superior standards of hospitality. There are also three beautiful private villas - Villa Malakoff, Villa Cima and Villa Garrovo, located in the park of the Hotel. Guests are able to use all of the facilities and amenities of the Villa d'Este while mantaining the privacy and exclusivity that a private villa can offer. Most of the guest rooms, as well as the corridors of the several buildings are decorated with antique furnishing, paintings and artworks, which give the hotel a palatial atmosphere.
For centuries, the magical lake Como has been an inspiration to poets, artists and musicians from Virgil, Pliny, Shelley, Stendhal, Byron and Longfellow to Bellini, Rossini, Verdi, Liszt and Puccini. Hotel registers dating from 1873 list everyone from Mark Twain to Joseph Heller; from King Leopold of Belgium to the Saudi Arabian Royal Family; from José Carreras to Madonna. Known as “Hollywood on Lake Como” after Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks visited Villa d’Este, a succession of movie stars followed suite from Greta Garbo and Bette Davis to Elizabeth Taylor and Sharon Stone; from Clark Gable and Gary Cooper to Mel Gibson and Woody Allen.
For centuries Como has been considered the silk capital of the world. Bill Blass, Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren refer to Villa d’Este as their second home.
Additional literature: n/a