Villa Balbianello one of the most charming residences on Lake Como.
The Villa Balbianello is located in Lenno on the tip of Dosso di Lavedo, a promontory that stretches into Lake Como, forming a small peninsula, and from which it also takes in the name of the building of “Balbianello”. The complex is owned by the Fondo Ambiente Italiano (FAI) and can currently be visited with the possibility of a tourist guide.
The villa boasts in its gardens, covered with large plane trees pruned in candlestick, the loggia and numerous statues, authentic wonders of Balbianello. The loggia of Cardinal Durini has been offering visitors a view of the lake for over two centuries: the Tremezzina, to the north, and the basin of the Comacina island on the opposite side.
The wind rose made with inlay on the floor is a trace of the twentieth century intervention of Guido Monzino, in memory of his geographical expeditions throughout the world. An evergreen Ficus repens swirls around the columns.
A Franciscan monastery stood there until 1787 when the villa was built by Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini, then inherited to his nephew Luigi Porro Lambertenghi, who had as preceptor of his sons Silvio Pellico.
Later the property was bought by Giuseppe Arconati Visconti who made his living room a meeting point for intellectuals of the time including Giovanni Berchet, Giuseppe Giusti and Alessandro Manzoni. The garden and the lodge were later improved by the son of Giuseppe, Gianmartino Arconati Visconti, who found himself facing the decline of his family abandoning the villa to itself for more than thirty years.
The American officer Butler Ames bought it, raising it from abandonment and renovating the garden. Later in 1974 it became the property of the explorer Guido Monzino, heir to the founding family of Standa, who furnished it with relics from his expeditions. At his death in 1988 without heirs he left the villa to the Fondo Ambiente Italiano, still owner of the building, which kept it in the condition in which it was left by the explorer.
The Villa Balbianello subsequently found a new splendor in the nineties being chosen as a film location for various international films including One Month at Lake John Irvin (1995), Star Wars: Episode II – The Accident of the Clones of George Lucas (2002 ) and Casino Royal by Martin Cambell (2006).