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Villa del Balbianello Photos

Trip Over to Lenno from Como

An Explorer’s Paradise – Villa del Balbianello

We had been told this villa was magnificent to visit by Milan, our driver from Como Limousines on the drive in from Milan to Como, and having seen Villa del Balbianello standing majestically on a beautifully terraced peninsula as the ferry passed by on a trip on Lake Como the previous week, it was firmly put on the list of things to see.

The ferry trip from Como to Lenno takes 30 minutes on the fast hydrofoil, or a relaxing 90 minutes on the regular ferry sipping coffee, or wine, from the ferry’s bar, taking photos as you pass the many magnificent villas on the edge of the lake and pull in to all the village ferry stops along the way. Then Villa del Balbianello comes into view. The ferry passes close by the Villa as it turns in towards the Lenno ferry wharf.

After getting off the ferry turn left and follow the road around to the path leading up to the Villa, stopping for lunch in one of the beautiful lakeside restaurants along the way. Then wind your way up the well sign posted path through the forest to the main gates. Or you can arrive at the villa by boat on a private tour or water taxi, you will pass the water shuttle on the way to the woodland path. It is possible to visit the gardens without a guide, but to go inside the buildings there are regular guided tours to join.

Villa del Balbianello was built in 1787 on the site of a Franciscan monastery, the towers you can see from the lake are the campanili of the church. The cardinal left the villa to his nephew, who later sold it to the Arconati family, who over a few generations transformed it into a serene summer residence. But as the family started to die off the buildings fell into a state of neglect until American businessman Butler Ames bought it in 1919 and renovated the villa and its garden. In 1974, Ames’s heirs sold the villa to the leader of the first Italian expedition to climb Mt Everest, Milanese businessman and explorer, Guido Monzino who filled it with rich collections, including artifacts acquired on his expeditions to the North Pole, China and South America.




Guido Monzino, who died in 1988, asked for his ashes to be placed in a little out building in the grounds overlooking his beloved lake, and he left the villa to the National Trust of Italy who set about cataloguing his collections, maps and books, then opened the villa as a museum. (Thank you Guido). The guide can show secret passage ways through the building that lead down to a waiting boat in the boat shelter, built in case a hasty escape was required, from what, or who??? All very James Bond……….

Monzino was very particular about the garden and the view, all the large plane trees pruned to look like very ornate candelabras and the old oak trees are trimmed into a mushroom dome shape so the lake can be seen from all windows in the villa. He has a snake on his coat of arms so some of the vines growing on the building are trimmed to resemble snakes.

Villa del Balbianello was the hospital in Casino Royale where James Bond (Daniel Craig) recuperated after being tortured in 2006. He should have been more decisive about whether he wanted that last Martini shaken or stirred, he recovered well though and – spoiler alert – he got the girl and off they went to have a fabulous time in Venice!?!

Book a tour on your Trip Over to Lake Como

Itinerary for Trip Over to Italy – Milan, Como and Venice

Qantas flight (Emirates code share) to Milan (Malpensa) from Sydney via Dubai
Stayed in Milan, Airbnb, for a week before going to Como
Picked up in Milan by Como Limousines and driven to Como
Stayed in Como, Airbnb, for 3 weeks
Picked up in Como by Como Limousines and driven to Venice
In Venice, water taxi to Al Ponte Antico Hotel for 3 nights and water taxi back
Picked up in Venice by Como Limousines and driven back to Como
Picked up in Como by Como Limousines and driven back to Milan (Malpensa) Airport
Qantas flight (Emirates code share) to Sydney via Dubai

The very ornate doors to Florence Cathedral, imagine the number of hours it took to carve these, and this is not the only set of doors, there are many, all equally detailed - it's a lost art, or is just too expensive to have beautiful things these days?? . . #florence #florenceitaly #florenceduomo #firenzecityitaly #firenzeduomo #florencecathedral #duomodifirenze #italytravel #italytrip #italianhistory #madeinitaly #solotravel #solotravelinitaly #neverstopexploring #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #carveddoors #duomodoors #italianarchitecture #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #seekandyoushallfind
On the harbour side walkway near Luna Park looking at all the Sydney icons, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Ferries. . . . #sydneyharbourbridge #sydneyoperahouse #sydneyferries #milsonspoint #sydneyharbourwalks #sydneynorthshore #sydneyharbour #sydney #sydneyaustralia #sydneyweekend #sydneybythesea #sydneylocal #sydneylife #traveltheworldwithme #traveladdict #travellerau #seetheworldthroughmylens
This whatever it is reptile was just standing on a rock happily watching everyone walking by at Cremorne Point in Sydney. Lizards things are not my favourites, but hey, I was visiting their home. Hopefully they understand, I am not returning the favour!! . . #reptilesofinstagram #reptile #lizardofinstagram #lizardonarock #sydneynatives #sydneywildlife #cremornepointwalk #cremornepoint #watchingyou #sydneylocal #sydneywalks #sydneyweekend #sydneynorthshore #sydneybythesea #sydneylife #sydneyharbourwalks #sydneyaustralia #myhometown #seeeverythingdoeverything #seetheworldthroughmylens #neverstopexploring
The newest cruise ship to come into Sydney Harbour, Richard Branson's latest venture, The Resilient Lady, moored off Cremorne Point. It makes the ferry look like a toy boat! . . #resilientlady #resilientladyvirginvoyages #virginvoyages #richardbranson #sydneyharbour #cremornepoint #sydneyharbour #sydneyharbourwalks #sydneynorthshore #sydneybythesea #sydneylocal #myhometown #blueskyandsunshine #walkinthesun #seetheworldthroughmylens #sydneyferries
Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo with its spiral staircase was built in 1499, sadly it was closed for a private function when I was there.....apparently the view from the top is amazing!! Oh well, maybe next time..... . . #scalacontarinidelbovolo #scalacontarini #palazzocontarinidelbovolo #palazzocontarinidelbovolovenezia #historicvenice #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #veniceitaly #venice #venicetrip #italytravel #italytrip #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #solotrip #italianhistory #seeeverythingdoeverything #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme
Postman's Park, just up St Martin's le Grand from St Paul's Cathedral, was a lovely diversion on my long rambling walk through London's south west east end! It was previously the London GPO, and burial grounds of some of the surrounding churches. It is now home to the Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice, remembering people who died saving others. Read more about this and the rest of my walk by clicking the link to my website in the bio. . . . #postmanspark #postmansparklondon #postmansparkmemorial #londonwalk #walkinthepark #parkbench #historiclondon #london #londonlife #londoncalling #londonhistory #londonparks #londonsights #londontimes #londontravel #londontrip #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #seekandyoushallfind #seetheworldthroughmylens #londonisalwaysagoodidea
An old gnarly tangled mess of tree roots on a tree along the walk around Cremorne Point on Sydney's North Shore. . . . #cremornepointwalk #cremornepoint #gnarlytreesarethebest #gnarlytrees #treerootsgonewild #sydneylife #sydney #sydneylocal #sydneywalks #sydneyharbourwalks #walkinthepark #sydneynorthshore #sydneybythesea #sydneyinsummertime #seekandyoushallfind
The bomb damaged remains of Greyfriars Church, near St Paul's in London. This was the starting point of a really long walk around London where I kept walking and exploring, that led to more walking and exploring until I ended up in a 800 year old pub eating fish and chips by the River Thames.... I was in London in October and have finally finished writing the story of my long walk, link to my website is in the bio. I've put a map in showing where I walked, so if you want to see all the places I found along the way.......start walking!! . . #greyfriarslondon #greyfriarschurch #aftertheblitz #londonwalks #londonhistory #solotravelinlondon #longwalk #londonlife #walkingthestreetsoflondon #historiclondon #latesummersun #londontravel #seekandyoushallfind #seetheworldthroughmylens
The beautiful Ponte dei Sospiri, or Bridge of Sighs, built between 1600 and 1603, to move prisoners from Palazzo Ducale to the prisons across the canal. The closed bridge is one of the most famous and photographed in Venice. You can still walk across it today when visiting the Doge's Palace. . . #bridgesinvenice #bridgeofsighs #bridgeofsighsvenice #pontedeisospiri #palazzoducalevenezia #dogespalacevenice #veniceitaly #venice #venicelife #venicecanals #venicetrip #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #traveltheworldworldwithme
Postman's Park in London was a nice place to sit while I checked the map on my 'make it up as you go' walk. Everything I did this and formulated a plan, I would find something else that led me off to the next place, there was a lot of recalibration that day! Read the story and see my walking map by clicking the link in the bio. . . . #postmansparklondon #postmanspark #postmansparkmemorial #whiteflowers #redflowers #parkbench #londonparks #londonpics #londontimes #londontravel #londoncalling #londontrip #london #londonwalks #londonhistory #londoninautumn #londonisalwaysagoodidea #seekandyoushallfind #traveltheworldwithme
Now the fun begins, packing for my adventure to London and Italy, I have to fit all this into my smaller than usual suitcase.....no, not the cushions and pillows!!! . . #packing #tripovertoitaly #tripovertolondon #neverstoptravelling #solotrip #solotravel
Sydney Harbour Bridge doing it's thing!!🥂 . . #happynewyear #bringon2024 #sydneyharbourbridge #sydneyharbour
The next place I came across was London Museum, but sadly it was "temporarily closed", but this horse sculpture was outside. Oh well, keep walking to see what's around the next corner.....see the map of my walk and read about all the places I found along the way by clicking the link in the bio. . . . #londontravel #londonmuseum #london #londonwalks #londonlife #londontrip #londoncalling #horsesculpture #artinpublicspaces #neverstopexploring #solotravelinlondon #solotravel #londonart #seekandyoushallfind #seeeverythingdoeverything #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveladdict #travellerau #traveltheworldwithme
Views over Florence from the roof top terrace at my hotel, the closest dome is Basilica di San Lorenzo and the far one is Firenze Duomo. . . . #florence #florenceitaly #firenzeduomo #florencecathedral #basilicadisanlorenzo #basilicadisanlorenzofirenze #florencerooftops #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #solotravel #solotravelinitaly #florencetrip #florencetravel #italytrip #italytravel #traveltheworldwithme #traveladdict #neverstoptravelling
On a walk around Cremorne Point the water looked so inviting, apart from the jagged shells on the rocks on the shoreline..... . . . #cremornepointwalk #cremornepoint #northshore #sydneyweekend #sydneybythesea #sydneylife #sydneylocal #sydneynorthshore #sydneybythesea #sydneyinsummertime #sydneywalks #sydneywaterways #sydneyaustralia #sydneynativeplants #sydneyharbourwalks #seetheworldthroughmylens
Surfers dotted around in the ocean hoping to catch a wave out near the headland off Manly Beach in Sydney. . . . #pacificocean #manlybeachaustralia #manlybeach #surfing #outintheocean #sydneyweekend #sydney #sydneyaustralia #sydneylocal #sydneycoastalwalks #sydneybeaches #sydneybythesea #sydneylife #seekandyoushallfind #seetheworldthroughmyeyes
A couple of Lorikeets having a morning catch up on a tree at Cremorne Point on Sydney's North Shore. . . . #lorikeetsofinstagram #lorikeets #cremornepoint #cremornepointwalk #sydneylocal #sydney #sydneywalks #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme #myhometown #travellerau #sydneyharbourwalks #sydneynatives #borntofly #walkinthepark #sydneyweekend #sydneynorthshore #sydneyparks
Continuing my walk, around the corner from London Museum on London Wall (that's the name of the street) they have uncovered a section of the original Roman Wall and this adornment from when it was called Londinium. See the map of my walk and read the story by clicking the link in the bio. . . #londonwall #romanlondon #romanlondinium #londontravel #londontrip #londonhistory #londonwalks #londoncalling #londonisalwaysagoodidea #londonstreets #london #oldlondon #whereitallbegan #seekandyoushallfind #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #historygeek #solotravelinlondon #solotravel #neverstopexploring

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