A true paradise for historical villas and gardens lovers, Lake Como is littered with some of the finest properties in Italy.
Villa Carlotta, a magnificent 18th century villa located in Tremezzo, is worldwide famous for its art collections and celebrated botanical gardens, a prestigious monument in itself with ancient cedars and sequoias and a blaze of camellias, magnolias, rhododendrons, peonies and more than 150 different varieties of azaleas: The gardens (about 7 hectares) were transformed by Sommariva during the first years of XIX century in an English romantic park.
Villa Melzi gardens in Bellagio are the example of the neoclassic idea of contrasting romantic atmosphere, here created by the groups of giant rhododendrons and azaleas covering the green slopes of the center of the garden and landscaping of the water-garden of Chinese inspiration. Many illustrious guest have stayed at the villa, including Franz Listz and Stendhal, and important political meetings have been held here.
Villa Balbianello, located on a wooded peninsula projecting into Lake Como just south of Lenno, is one of the most striking villas in the world, cascading down the mountains to the lake's shore. The villa was built in 1787 on the site of a Franciscan monastery. In 1974 it was bought by the explorer Guido Monzino (leader of the first Italian expedition to climb Mount Everest), who filled it with rich collections, including artifacts acquired on his expeditions.