Villa d'Este

Cernobbio, Italy

The Villa d'Este, originally Villa del Garovo, is a Renaissance patrician residence in Cernobbio on the shores of Lake Como. Since 1873 the complex has been a luxury hotel.

Gerardo Landriani, Bishop of Como (1437–1445), founded a female convent here at the mouth of the Garovo torrent in 1442. A century later Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio demolished the nunnery and commissioned Pellegrino Tibaldi to design a residence for his own use. The Villa del Garovo, together with its luxuriant gardens, was constructed during the years 1565–70 and during the cardinal’s lifetime it became a resort of politicians, intellectuals and ecclesiastics.

On Gallio’s death the villa passed to his family who, over the years, allowed it to sink into a state of some decay. From 1749 to 1769 it was a Jesuit centre for spiritual exercises, after which it was acquired first by Count Mario Odescalchi and then in 1778 by a Count Marliani. In 1784 it passed to the Milanese Calderari family who undertook a major restoration project and created a new park all’Italiana with an impressive nymphaeum and a temple displaying a seventeenth-century statue of Hercules hurling Lichas into the sea.

After the death of Marquis Calderari his wife Vittoria Peluso, a former ballerina at La Scala and known as la Pelusina, married a Napoleonic general, Count Domenico Pino and a mock fortress was erected in the park in his honour.

In 1815 it became the residence of Caroline of Brunswick, estranged wife of future King George IV.

It was converted into a deluxe hotel for the nobility and the high bourgeoisie in 1873, and kept the name Villa d'Este to take advantage of the apparent link with the famous Villa d'Este in Tivoli, near Rome.

A gala dinner held at the Villa d’Este in 1948 was the scene for the celebrated murder of the wealthy silk manufacturer Carlo Sacchi, shot dead by his lover Countess Pia Bellentani with her husband’s Fegyverzyar automatic pistol.



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Founded: 1565-1570
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Italy


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Muhammad Alghamdi (15 months ago)
Staying at the historic and national monument Villa d’Este was exceptional! The vast size of the property and the opportunity to enjoy every single part of it and having a walk within the beautiful gardens have exceeded our expectations! We even had a hike towards the fortress! The food is delicious and is well-presented. The service is excellent. We would certainly want to come again!
Pia Schwarz (16 months ago)
This hotel has a reputation for a reason. The most beautiful location at Lake Como, beautiful gardens and terrace and a very welcoming service. I did a stopover with my sister and we enjoyed a Espresso Martini with some very fine free appetizers. I have not stayed at the rooms myself but know that they have beautiful decor and the view from the suite overlooking the lake is just breathtaking.
Paolo Kastelec (2 years ago)
Simply amazing place but I knew already . Super nice staff , all of them and top service . The grounds are fantastic and quite magical at night with all the fairy light on , thousand of them . Breast and lunch are superb as well . Our room looked over the lake and of course quite breathtaking. Overall a fantastic mini break and most important for me is that they are dog friendly and found 2 gift presents for the dogs I. The room ! Well done indeed
Tara Naeemi (2 years ago)
The most amazing experience. Villa d’Este has exceeded our expectations in every way (and that’s saying a lot because we already had high expectations). The staff treated us like royalty and every single one of them genuinely went out of their way to provide us with excellent service. The dining area was elegant with impeccable service. The piano room was so cozy and the perfect vibe after dinner. The concierge helped us with booking activities and when our private boat arrived later than expected, they called our scheduled Villa tour guide and told them to expect us a little later. Once we arrived, the tour guide was waiting for us with our tickets. It worked out perfectly. They made everything so much easier for us and we couldn’t have imagined a better stay. Can’t wait to come back!
Kathryn Bartram (2 years ago)
Everything about our stay was magical. The staff were wonderful and made us feel as though we had been coming to the hotel for generations. Their attention to detail was outstanding, for example I normally have oat milk in my coffee. When I forgot to request it one morning one of the staff remembered and came back to double check. They could not have been any more helpful with any request. The food in the restaurants was superb, in fact we cancelled our reservations at other restaurants so we could stay in the hotel. Particular accolades for the white truffle pasta. The atmosphere in the piano room after dinner made us feel like we had stepped into an Agatha Christie novel, where every guest, and member of staff, had a story to tell. For those who love gracious elegance and excellent service I can not recommend it more highly.
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