The Villa Balbinello is our favorite villa at Lake Como. We enjoy its dramatic setting, as should be apparent from this week's photos above and below. We have a large oil painting of the above scene in the library of our house in Scottsdale, so we are reminded of the Villa Balbianello each day.
The villa and its gardens and terraces straddle the tip of a peninsula that protrudes into the lake, which gives views in three directions up, down and across the Lake Como.
The two towers at the right remain from an old Franciscan monestary. The villa was built for a Cardinal in the 1700's. It later fell into disrepair, was restored by an American in the early 1900's, and was owned by Italian department store heir and world explorer Guido Monzino form 1974 until he passed away in 1988. He furnished the mansion with mementos from his travels and explorations and left the property to a foundation that provides tours.
It should be no surprise that the gardens of the villa have been used as a location for several movies, including Casino Royale, Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and A Month by the Lake.