Situated on the western shore of Lake Como in the town of Ossuccio, approximately 20km north of the town of Como, is Villa Il Balbiano, a 16th century historical palazzo. One of the largest properties around the lake, the villa was built by Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio at the end of the 16th century and sold to Cardinal Durini in 1787. He enlarged both the house and gardens, erecting statues, fountains and opening new avenues between hedges and pergolas. Over the years the villa has hosted many festivals, banquets and dances making it an excellent venue for weddings, events and family holidays.
Newly restored by French architect and designer Jacques Garcia, the interiors feature the original marble floors and Baroque frescoes from the 17th century.
The main entrance on the ground floor opens into the magnificent main lobby with frescoes and spiral columns framing the arms of Galio and representing the four busts of Strabo, Virgil, Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger. Antique pieces, luxuriously upholstered seating, ornate gilt-edged mirrors and crystal chandeliers furnish the sitting rooms, library and dining area creating exquisite surroundings in which to relax, socialise and dine. Doors open onto the “Winter Garden” terrace overlooking the lake and giving access to the gardens and there is a covered outdoor dining terrace with fireplace. The large, fully-equipped kitchen is also on this level.
From the first living room guests have direct access to an indoor swimming pool and study area. Upstairs is a second lobby and a gallery which is flooded with natural light from three picture windows overlooking the lake.
Six beautifully furnished en-suite bedrooms are situated on the first and second floors. The master bedroom and guest bedroom, complete with walk-in dressing rooms, private terraces and panoramic lake views are on the first floor and a marble staircase leads up to four double bedrooms with marble bathrooms overlooking the central living room. If further accommodation is required there is an independent Villino for eight guests.
Within the magnificent gardens is an outdoor swimming pool facing the lake and private lakeside access. There is also a boat house, gym equipped with the latest Precor equipment, massage room with shower and secure parking for 10 cars.
An elevator gives access to all floors.
Guests can enjoy many activities in the area from water-skiing and windsurfing to wine tasting and golf.