Any James Bond fans reading this? Remember the scene in Casino Royale where Bond is recuperating in the garden of a hospital? Vesper is there and the swiss banker arrives by boat to get the code.
That “hospital” is Villa Balbianello, overlooking lake Como and it’s an absolute stunner.
We bussed it the 15 minutes from our campsite, La Fornace to Bellagio and spent another 15 minutes deciphering the overly complicated ferry timetable. Both Garda and Como ferry services have been poorly designed and chaotic to say the least. Eventually we found the right pier and piled on a ferry to Lenno.
As luck would have it, it was market day in Lenno. I needed some new sports socks. 6 for €4, bagged. That’s how I roll.
The entrance to the Villa was all the way around the pretty harbour which was lined with small speed boats and the occasional sail boat.
If we lived somewhere like this we would defo have a little boat to pootle around the lake. Maybe go say hi to George and Amal.
Villa Balbianello stands on a steep promontory jutting out into the west side of lake Como. The villa was left by the Italian exporer, Guido Monzino, to the Italian National Trust when he died in 1988. We watched a 30 minute video about his life and exploration accomplishments that culminated in saying Balbianello was his ultimate legacy. Some legacy.
It was a 20 minute woodland walk to get up and over the hill from the ferry terminal at Lenno to the villa entrance. It had a totally private and secluded location that gave it a sense of exclusivity. We were grateful of the shade as once again the lakes had delivered a scorcher.
Entrance was €10 each for the garden or €20 for garden and guided tour of the villa. We opted to make the most of the sunshine and nail the gardens.
From the moment we entered we were blown away by the immaculate gardens and the stunning views across the lake.
The gardens are landscaped over multiple levels which added to the drama. We could see why this was used as a location for Casino Royal and Star War II: Attack of the Clones.
Exposed on three sides, the villa had beautiful terraces with sweeping views of the water. It even had its own private jetty for boat access.
There was a separate outhouse which formed a private study and library and had an incredible double balcony with ivy trained up the walls and pillars.
Everything about the property and gardens was ornately designed and immaculately presented with wonderful bursts of colour.
Being a tourist was thirsty work. We grabbed a quick drink and ice cream whilst waiting for the ferry in Lenno.
Once back in Bellagio we found a lovely little trattoria with a cool table right outside in the cobble stone street.
We finished off the day with tasty pasta dish and a few games of Uno. Emily is on a winning streak. Time to think of some different strategies me thinks 🤔.
we arrived back to the campsite to catch a pretty cool sunset sky.