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Just Back From Italy Part 2: Jean’s trip to Lake Como

We spent a magical Easter Sunday in Capri, a perfect cap off to our time on the Amalfi Coast, and now were to embark on our next adventure: Lake Como and all the villas this region has to offer

Capri to Como

We had a long day ahead of us after leaving Capri for Lake Como. Once we made it to Naples by ferry, we caught our train to Milan. We arrived in Milan, loaded our luggage into our rental car, and took off for the two hour drive to find our Hotel Cipressi in Lake Como.

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You know you’re getting close to reaching the lake as you approach the vast mountain range. Driving on winding roads around Lake Como is enchanting. After our twelve-hour travel day, we finally checked in to Hotel Cipressi. To end our day, we ate delicious pizza at nearby sister hotel, Hotel Victoria.

Villa Tours in Lake Como

The next day we were off to see Villa BRV DDA. This massive, eight-bedroom villa has blooming, flowered grounds. The staff was busy cleaning for the season’s first guests. The home contained wood-carved staircases that stun visitors with the exquisite attention to detail. The property had a pool, as well as an additional side cottage for extra space. The combination of different sized rooms and a large master suite makes this home perfect for a large family.

Nearby was Villa BRV MLT a more modest, six-bedroom villa. Although it was smaller than Villa BRV DDA, Villa BRV MLT was a comfortable home, with its own private beach and boat dock. The rooms were equal and very conducive to having young children there. The pool may be covered or uncovered easily, depending on the time of year.

We left the two villas and made our way towards Villa D’Este, stopping for lunch at Villa Belvedere. The small hotel wowed us with their fantastic glass dining room, and delicious food, like their spaghetti di mare. The service was delightful and created an overall lovely dining experience.Italy Villas, Italy Rentals, Lake Como, Vacation Rentals

Our jaws dropped as we approached the meticulously groomed grounds of Villa D’Este, the grandest hotel on Lake Como. We met with Chiara Della Bosca who gave us the grand tour of the Villa BRV MLK, a 4 bedroom, and Villa BRV GAR, a 6 bedroom. The villas were separate, yet similarly decorated in the most deluxe fashion, with marble and gold bathrooms. Because of the villas’ location to the main hotel, guests have all of the services of the hotel which makes for a fabulous vacation.

After the lovely tours, we made our way, taking the auto ferry, back to our Hotel Cipressi. The ferries are the best way to get around the lake because they save so much time and provide perfect views of the villages. The villages are covered with iconic shades of yellow, Pompeii red, and green scattered between shutters and doors. So much history in such a small place.

Exploring Como and Beyond

We had a delightful breakfast and took off for our tour around the lake to learn as much as possible. For lunch, Suzanne and I thought we could find a fondue restaurant, so we crossed the boarder from Italy into Switzerland. We drove for a bit and decided that we liked it better in Italy and drove back to the lake! As the rain increased, so did our hunger. We found a driveway leading to a leading hotel called Villa Flori. After parking, we walked into the hotel’s lobby where we found ourselves looking out at the lake through full-length, rounded, stone windowpanes. We continued to dine next to the lake, with perfect views of the small, hillside villages of Blevio and Torno.

Hotel Il Sereno

We moved from Cipressi hotel to the newest hotel on Lake Como, and our partner, Il Sereno. It was an ultra-modern, chic, and overall luxury hotel that, upon arrival, provided guests with stunning views of the lake. Stone walls turned into terraces with balconies protruding from each suite, allowing guests the opportunity to see the water from above. In a hotel that only offers suites, there is no fuss in trying to get the best room.

We were greeted by the Managing Director Sam Ghachem, as well as the manager of Il Sereno, Vincent. We were offered the most delicious Moroccan herbal tea I had ever tried. The surprises continued when we got to our rooms, where we had each a bottle of Champagne resting in an ice bucket with 2 glasses, waiting to be opened. They also offered us olives, chips, and snacks, so we enjoyed sitting looking at the view and planning our next move.

Il Sereno’s Villas

We were then shown, “The Most Luxurious Villa in Lake Como”, Villa BRV PLI.

This Italian Palazzo offers up to 18 bedrooms on 18 waterfront acres. They have a helicopter landing pad and a spa with hotel services. This villa has been rented by many a bride and is equipped with a hidden tunnel for any surprise entrances. The villa was extraordinary in every way possible. Strong stone and leather accents revealed themselves with each glimmer of radiant light. Massive gardens surrounded the property, with stunning lake views from nearly every angle.

Suzanne and I enjoyed lunch and dinner at the hotel and slept soundly.

Estate Il Cigno

The next morning we had a perfect room service then and were ready for a day of touring the Estate Il Cigno where Villa BRV MAR and Villa BRV SER are located. The owners of these two beautiful homes also own the village, which holds a chapel and a lovely restaurant, Momi. At the ferry dock there is a boat to pick up the guests and take them where ever they desire to go. This six-bedroom was perfect in every way: large rooms, bright floor to ceiling windows, and stone balconies from most rooms in the front.Italy Villas, Italy Rentals, Lake Como, Vacation Rentals

Villa BRV MAR was equally as wonderful. The villa was very comfortable with great views from each room. They were wonderful hosts and offered us a delightful lunch of fresh pasta and salad with white wine. After two hours with them we had to say our goodbyes and wandered down to the massive underground parking area.

Ossucio

Our next location, Villa BRV CIR in Ossuccio, is a newly renovated, three-bedroom. The villa’s secluded, lakefront location comes with a private beach below. From the solid stone exteriors one would not expect this villa to have a modern interior, but the home is equipped with a sleek, modern features within every room. The owners love for their villa is visible through its large kitchen, cozy living room. It is a gem and a perfect find for anyone looking for a smaller villa on Lake Como.

As we set off for our hotel, we stopped to see the famous, four-story, Villa Carlotta, in Tremezzo. Exquisite statues and fine are fill the museum, while horned violets and hybrid pansies grow in the curated gardens. This is the perfect place to wander, because you will always find something new.

After an exciting few days, we took the ferry back to Bellagio and spent our last night at Il Sereno. We slept well in preparation for our journey back to Milan.

Milan

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We said our goodbyes to the lovely staff at Il Sereno and began our drive to Milan. It was not hard to find the Chateau Monfort due to its grandeur and pink stone exterior. Our rooms were small but the perfect size for one night. We had a quick lunch at the hotel and started off on an afternoon of shopping in some of Milan’s most famous stores. We walked five-miles towards the stone Palazzo, where the Duomo di Milano was located. Packed with tourists, this was the spot to people watch. We had a drink and then slowly made our way back to the hotel.

 

Parting Thoughts

It was only fitting that our final breakfast of the trip was the best one yet. We enjoyed the stunning buffet and made our way back to the Milan airport. During our flight to Boston, Suzanne and I recollected on our trip of a lifetime. We traveled nearly 14,000 miles round trip and will remember it forever.

Arrivederci!

 

Enjoy some more photos taken by Villa Specialist Jean Drewes

Palazzo at Duomo di Milano

Villa Carlotta Gardens

The beautiful lobby of Hotel Villa D’Este

Private Dock at Villa BRV PLI

Living Room at Villa BRV MAR

Candy Table at Chateau Monfort

Villa Specialist Jean Drewes

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